By Doug PetrowskiStudio
For years the Studio 6 Motel, 6017-244th St. S.W., had a reputation for being a haven for drug deals, prostitution and violence. Frequent calls to the Mountlake Terrace Police Department from motel neighbors about activities taking place there were commonplace. Motel manager Ayesha Shiek is trying to change that, and according to the police, she is succeeding.
Sheik took over leadership of the motel in April 2009 and soon learned that problems there weren’t just because of its tucked-away location or type of tenants it attracted. The previous managers often turned their heads when criminal activities surfaced at the motel. And sometimes the trouble originated from among their own staff.
“The reputation of the motel before was that you could get anything from the front desk,” Sheik said. “I mean anything.”
Working to change the image of the motel is an effort that Shiek takes personally. “I don’t put up with anything,” she stressed. “It’s my name on the business card; it’s my reputation.”
The work that Shiek is doing at the motel hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Mountlake Terrace Police Department. “She’s done a phenomenal job,” said Police Chief Greg Wilson, noting that one of the key’s to her success is being able to properly screen the tenants twhowant to rent a room there.
“I won’t rent a room to anyone that I wouldn’t feel comfortable allowing any of my family in with,” Shiek said.
She also isn’t shy about throwing tenants out of the motel when she feels it is necessary. “We’ve kicked people out of four rooms at once before,” she explained. Trouble sometimes surfaces when parties rent a block of rooms, or when someone removed from the motel will be welcomed back in by another tenant, Shiek said.
The mutual respect that has been built between Shiek and the Mountlake Terrace Police Department is apparent. “As for Ayesha and the Studio 6, our officers really appreciate her efforts and cooperative attitude,” said MLT Police Department Commander Doug Hansen. “She has been described recently in my conversations with our officers as, ‘she is amazing … someone who goes above and beyond … she has a positive effect on what goes on there … very much a team player.’”
“We love the police department here,” Shiek said. “I’ve told them that whenever they get bored come swing through here.”
The police are doing more than just driving by the Studio 6 Motel during the past 18 months. A concentrated attempt to focus more attention and resources on the property is resulting in not just more police visits, but also more cases being filed. In 2011, only 10 police cases came from Studio 6 Motel calls, and that was down from 13 the year before. But in 2012 the police filed 24 cases, and in the first four months of this year 14 cases had already been filed.
“I believe these numbers show an active effort by the Studio 6 management and the police department to deal directly with known problems,” Hansen said.
There were initial concerns from some of the motel staff that a tougher crackdown on activities at the motel may lead to a loss of business and revenue. “I told them don’t worry about that,” Shiek said. “That’s my job.”
And how is business at the Studio 6 Motel lately? Shiek reports that it is strong and points to large block reservations as evidence of that. “The Nile just booked 30 rooms with us for their bluegrass festival,” Shiek beamed. “We were their first choice.”