'Being shot at by tenants': FOX 13 News talks to owner of crime-ridden Hosmer Street hotel

FOX 13 News gets answers on how a local hotel owner is working to address the violent crimes associated with their property.

Tacoma is facing its most violent year on record. The city has seen more homicides in 2022 than any other year.

Tacoma Police Chief Avery Moore says a large portion of crime is coming from a small portion of criminals, and a lot of that crime happens on one street.

According to Tacoma Police Data, the 8800 block of South Hosmer Street is the site of three shooting homicides. Two other deadly shootings happened just blocks away, one at the 8700 block and another at the 8400 block.


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The question is why is this spot so bad? The abandoned former Econo Lodge Hotel, located at South 8820 Hosmer Street may be a part of the reason.

"There was definitely drugs. There was definitely arms trafficking, and my understanding there was also human trafficking and prostitution going on," said Emily Hubbard.

Hubbard is the co-owner and investor relations for Sage Investments, a Kirkland based company with plans to flip the old hotel and turn it into affordable housing.

In the Spring, Hubbard said Sage Investments bought the property from the previous owners. However, they did not know what they were getting into.

"We’ve dealt with everything from our crews being shot at by tenants. And unfortunately we experienced that there was a homicide onsite," she said.

According to Tacoma City crime data, there has been 351 incidents at, or near the address for the Econo Lodge dating back to 2014.

Historically crime has been a problem, but the change in ownership did not help the situation.

"It breaks my heart. No, it doesn’t feel good. It’s not our attention to own something in that condition," said Hubbard.

Hubbard says the building is derelict with water issues, electrical issues, and plumbing issues, but they knew about these problems going into the purchase.

However, what she says they did not know about was how many active leases were still associated with the dilapidated hotel from the previous owners.


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"We’ve had a really hard time evicting those remaining leases, and as long as we have people that have legal leases, they need to have access to the property. So, we have to leave the access open. So, then we run into the issues of squatters and gang violence," she said.

FOX 13 News asked what prevented the new owners from dealing with the criminal activity on their property.

"It seems like it’s such a simple thing, right? You call the cops. They’ll take care of it. You know? You evict them. They’re doing drugs. They’re doing illegal activities. Shouldn’t that automatically mean they have to leave? No, it doesn’t. Those people regardless of what they’re doing and their life choices still have laws protecting them because they are our tenants, and they have rights to be there, because they have signed legal leases," she said.

But that is not where the story ends.

Hubbard's team worked with law enforcement by providing footage of the open-air criminal activity, and eventually change came in full force.

One example of this change is a federal arrest of a drug dealer who was a tenant at the hotel.

According to documents FOX 13 News obtained, The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco (ATF) working with Tacoma Police, arrested 23-year-old Peter Darnell King AKA "Solo".

The documents state King is a reported gang member, a drug dealer who sold oxy and fentanyl, and freely carried unregistered guns.

"Some of these criminals and drug dealers felt they ran the roost, and that we were their guest. It was just such a crazy, warped situation," she said.

King now faces charges connected to selling drugs that could land him at least ten years in prison.

These changes are what is now making the former crime-ridden hotel seem much different.

"It’s getting better," said Hubbard.

Driving through the parking lot of the former Econo Lodge, the main activity you see now are crews working to repair the property.

Hubbard says there are only a couple tenants still in the hotel, and they are expected to be out in a few days.

The goal is to be operating the site as affordable housing by late Spring 2023, she said.

"The understanding is this is no longer something that is allowed to happen in this facility,’ said Hubbard.

FOX 13 News reached out to the Tacoma Police Chief to speak on the crime efforts along South Hosmer Street, but we were told he was unavailable

FOX 13 News is continuing to work to get time with the chief to ask about the department’s crime plan for this part of the city.