PASCO -- Although the remodel of two former downtown Pasco motels appears complete, Sea Mar Farmworker and Community Housing Development has yet to open the doors to farm workers and their families.
The nonprofit anticipates it will open La Posada West and La Posada East in time for the asparagus season this spring.
That's the same deadline the Seattle-based organization tried to meet last year.
Sea Mar has remodeled La Posada West, the former Travel Inn at 725 W. Lewis St., and La Posada East, the former Sea Mar Motel at 627 W. Lewis St.
Together the motels include 66 rooms meant to help fill a housing need for migrant farmworkers in the community.
"We hope to be able to provide good housing," said Michael Leong, the nonprofit's vice president of corporate and legal affairs.
The city of Pasco and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which provided grant dollars for the project, requested additional work on the $5.2 million project before it could open, Leong said.
He hopes those changes and any operational issues will be resolved before asparagus season starts this year. Replacing the signs is the last visible piece that needs to be finished, Leong said.
Sea Mar began work on the project about eight years ago.
Mitch Nickolds, Pasco inspection services manager, said the city already has issued the certificate of occupancy for the buildings. La Posada West was certified May 12, and La Posada East was certified Sept. 2.
The nonprofit still needs a city business license for La Posada West.
Nickolds said the organization already has one for the other building.
The state Department of Health has approved a transient accommodation license for La Posada East, but the application for the same license for La Posada West is still pending, according to state records.
The organization will operate the housing as motels because of city zoning that prohibits social service agencies opening in the downtown area. But the rooms only will be available to agricultural workers, a requirement of the federal grant that helped pay for the project.
Nickolds said he thinks the nonprofit has done a wonderful job rehabilitating what used to be two dilapidated buildings in downtown Pasco. It's a good example for other property owners of what some of those buildings could become, he said.
"We hope to see them occupied soon," he said.