PENDLETON — The business formerly known as The Lodge is going electric, in more ways than one.
Crews from Gordon’s Electric were in and out of the old Elks Lodge at 14 S.E. Third St. this week, preparing the building for its relaunch as Electric Sundown.
Owner Lance Leonnig started a new limited liability company to manage the building called Cowboy Lodge, but the facility will do business under the more unusual title.
“I wanted something that definitely popped,” he said.
Leonnig said he’s already started booking private events for Electric Sundown and is in discussions with a teacher to let a gymnastics class use a portion of it for a studio.
It’s a shift in focus from when the business was known as The Lodge, which centered around a monthly series of concerts hosted at the second-floor auditorium.
The Lodge operated for five months before Leonnig dissolved the company and dropped two local business partners, referencing “heavy losses” taken during Round-Up week.
Although he’ll miss the big shows on the second floor, Leonnig said he’s turning his attention to the Stag Bar on the ground floor.
He also wants to spend time improving the exterior. While the original vision for The Lodge included a vintage electric sign that would hang out front, Leonnig said he’s now working with Sign Men to design a new sign from the ground up.
“It’s not going to be dead for long,” he said.
Leonnig won’t have to convince just prospective customers, but also the public agencies that helped fund the project when it was still The Lodge.
After securing a share of a $155,000 Oregon Main Street Revitalization grant in May, Leonnig was able to to get a $6,000 grant from Umatilla County and $80,000 from the Pendleton Development Commission in quick succession later that summer.
Leonnig will deliver an update on the old Elks Lodge at a Tuesday meeting for the development commission.
Electric Sundown isn’t the only project the development commission is keeping its eye on.
Bowman Building owner Al Plute already got $340,928 in second-story and façade grants from the development commission to help convert third-floor office space into 18 apartments.
Now Plute is looking for another second-story grant for $98,317, or 40% of the the $245,793 cost, to add five more apartments on the second floor of the 17 S.W. Frazer Ave. building.
At a Wednesday meeting, the commission’s façade committee unanimously approved Plute’s application.
But Plute will also need approval from the development commission itself, which he used to serve on when he was a Pendleton city councilor.
In an interview Thursday, Plute said after he completes the Bowman apartments, he will likely turn his focus to the vacated Independent Order of Odd Fellows building at the corner of South Main Street and Southwest Dorion Avenue.
Plute also wants to turn the space into apartments, but he said he’s still trying to create a plan that he likes for the building before he proceeds.
Sister’s Cafe is also another previous grantee looking to return to the development commission’s well.
Owner Rosemary Ramirez secured a $126,197 façade grant in 2017 to remove the old stucco façade and reveal the old brick exterior for the 308 S. Main St. structure once known as the Bond Building.
Ramirez is now applying for a $61,390 grant to help repair the building’s roof with the intention of turning the vacant second floor into a 10-room boutique hotel, according to a report from development commission associate director Charles Denight.
Once the roof project is underway, Denight said Ramirez plans to return again with another grant application for interior renovations. The second grant request will likely be more expensive, with estimates ranging from $330,541 to $477,926.
In total, the project is expected to cost up to $1.2 million. If Ramirez gets the grant, Denight said the project has a three-year timeline.
Ramirez could not be reached for comment.
The commission meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at council chambers at city hall, 500 S.W. Dorion Ave.