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Semiahmoo Resort may be resurrected

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on March 8, 2013 at 3:27 pm with No Comments »
March 8, 2013 3:31 pm

The Semiahmoo Resort near Blaine closed down in December, but hope remains that the hotel will reopen under new ownership.

Semiahmoo Resort  - Bellingham Herald photo
Semiahmoo Resort – Bellingham Herald photo

Here’s a story from our sister paper, the Bellingham Herald, explaining the latest developments:

A sale is pending, once again, for the Semiahmoo Hotel and two nearby golf courses.

While that sale could still fall through, it is firm enough to trigger the provision of federal labor law requiring 60 days’ notice to employees of a possible job loss, said Harry Chesnin, spokesman for the majority owner, the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe. He would not disclose the possible buyer.

Close to 300 people lost their jobs in December 2012 when the 200-room hotel shut down. Chesnin said about 30 people still have jobs at the Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club and Loomis Trail Golf Club, which remained open after the hotel shutdown. Two or three times that many people work at the courses during the summer season, Chesnin added.

A sale would not necessarily mean the golf course employees would be out of work, but everyone would have to apply for a job with any new owner, Chesnin said.

At least two other potential deals to purchase the troubled resort have fallen through in the last couple of years.

In late 2010, the resort company announced a pending sale to Armada Investments, but that deal was called off in early 2011 because of reported financing problems. In August 2012, a court filing in the bankruptcy reorganization case of Trillium Corp. founder David Syre revealed that Warnick + Co. of Phoenix was negotiating the purchase of the resort. But Warnick pulled out in early 2013.

Chesnin said it will probably take another 30 days to finalize the deal and 30 more days to get that deal to closing. He acknowledged that the outcome is not yet certain, but he expressed hope that the hotel could reopen in time for the summer season.

“These people have shown a great deal of interest,” Chesnin said. “They are doing their due diligence now. We’re encouraged and we’re very hopeful.”

The closure of the hotel eliminated the city of Blaine’s top employer as well as a major source of tax revenue, including $200,000 in hotel tax for tourism promotion, and more than $100,000 per year in sales tax for the city’s general fund.

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