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Dog House Tavern owners seek city land from Langley

The Dog House Tavern, though out of operation for at least two years, still draws visitors and tourists who take their picture in front of its famous, National Register of Historic Places Building.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
The Dog House Tavern, though out of operation for at least two years, still draws visitors and tourists who take their picture in front of its famous, National Register of Historic Places Building.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

Murmurs of the Dog House Tavern reopening were encouraged to become rumblings after the owners requested land from Langley.

Janice and Charlie Kleiner of Issaquah asked Langley for two different areas, currently public property. One is a small strip that would prevent a “jog” or sag in their building’s aged floors. The other area, approximately 508 square feet, is between the building and the access road to Seawall Park.

After an earlier meeting with the Kleiners, city staff supported the request.

“We understand how important the revitalization of the Dog House is to the city,” said Mayor Fred McCarthy at the city council meeting June 17.

The Kleiners purchased the Dog House building on First and Anthes streets in 2010 at auction for $590,001. The 105-year-old building and Langley icon has been closed for more than two years. Known as the Olympic Club in its early days, the building is the only one in Langley listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Charlie Kleiner told the council he recently got word of a tentative and conditional approval of a tax credit. That would help cover the $100,000 to $200,000 cost of renovating the building, including correcting a bow in the floors and straightening the frame, a process that moves one-eighth of an inch per day. He stopped short of positing when work would begin, and well short of declaring a re-opening date.

“Our goal is to renovate the building, join the community and stay here,” he said. Ben Watanabe / The Record | Janice and Charlie Kleiner make their case for public land donation by the city of Langley to accommodate their Dog House Tavern plans.

“We anticipate to extend the life of the building 100 years.”

The old building sits on prime real estate in Langley’s commercial core. Unfortunately, because the cost to renovate the Dog House was so high, it remained shuttered after the Kleiners bought it. Only recently has any activity happened with decorations for the city’s centennial propped in plain view and flyers taped to the First Street windows.

Helping the community with announcements and decorations drew the support of business owner Fred Lundahl. He and other notable Langley residents attended the council meeting to show and voice their support for the Kleiners’ land requests.

They also had the support of city council members. Councilman Bruce Allen quipped he turned 21 in the Dog House some 50 years ago.

“I think you had us with, ‘Hello,’” said Councilman Doug Allderdice.

Transferring the public property to private ownership remains a legal matter, and public hearings will be held.

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