BLAINE - The new owners of Semiahmoo Resort say they hope to have the hotel open again by the end of August, although they aren't ready to make promises.
The $19.5 million sale of the hotel was announced Friday, June 21. The new owner is Resort Semiahmoo LLC, with Wright Hotels Inc. of Seattle as managing member. Another member is Blue Ridge Cascadia, a real estate investment group based in Southern California.
Coastal Hotel Group of Seattle will serve as resort manager.
The former majority owner, the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, had been trying to sell the property for many months, and two tentative deals fell through before Friday's announcement.
Blaine City Manager Gary Tomsic said the sale is terrific news for the community and its economy, in terms of jobs that will be restored and tax revenue that will help support city services.
"It will have an immediate positive effect on our budget," Tomsic said. "I'm thrilled."
The hotel shut down in December 2012, eliminating close to 300 jobs. The resort's two golf courses, Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club and Loomis Trail, have remained open.
Jerry Anches, a partner in Resort Semiahmoo, said he and his team will be racing to get the hotel open for business.
"There's an awful lot that needs to be done," Anches said. "We're kind of optimistically aiming for some time in August, but it's problematic whether that can be done."
Among other things, Anches said the hotel's 200 rooms need new mattresses, and a lot of weatherproofing needs to be repaired.
The hotel's restaurants will likely reopen in their current configuration in the short term, but Anches said they might get a makeover at some point. He agreed that the space that was formerly home to the "Stars" restaurant doesn't take enough advantage of the sweeping water views at the end of Semiahmoo Spit.
Anches said the new owners are likely to rehire many of the people thrown out of work when the hotel closed.
Roy Breiman, culinary director at Cedarbrook Lodge's Copperleaf Restaurant & Bar near Sea-Tac Airport, will oversee Semiahmoo's restaurants and bars, Anches said.
The people involved in the purchase have extensive hotel industry résumés. Anches and Wright Hotels were involved in the development of the Sheraton in downtown Seattle.
According to its website, Coastal now manages the Best Western Heritage Inn in Bellingham as well as upscale hotel properties in Seattle, Portland, Mount Hood and Tucson, Ariz.