Hotel, clubhouse envisioned for Chambers Bay

Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last week with James Burkhouse, president and CEO of Ventur-Hospitality, LLC, to form a partnership that would build a hotel, clubhouse, retail complex and other amenities at Chambers Bay, site of the 2015 U.S. Open.

San Francisco, Calif.-based Ventur-Hospitality proposes to build a Community Resort that includes:

— An 85- to 124-room hotel, including 10 detached guest cottages, as well as a restaurant and clubhouse facilities for the golf course. The complex would be built at the bottom of the hillside below the current clubhouse;

— A retail center on the hilltop site of the current clubhouse that would offer dining and shopping experiences for the general public and hotel guests;

— A “beach house” facility along the Puget Sound shore that would promote boating, fishing, dining and other recreation.

— A “cultural center” that would be designed to appeal to families, though specifics remain to be determined. The MOU cites such examples as a children’s discovery center, golf museum, and concert space. This would be built in a later phase of the project.

Under the agreement, Ventur-Hospitality will develop a detailed project proposal that includes financing, revenue sharing and a construction schedule that calls for completion a year before the 2015 U.S. Open. Once certain milestones are met, the developer and the County would negotiate a long-term lease.

The MOU anticipates that the project would be financed by a combination of private funds obtained by Ventur-Hospitality and Recovery Zone Facility Bonds, which are tax-exempt bonds authorized under the 2009 federal stimulus act for economic development projects. The bonds would be repaid by revenues from the resort and retail operations.

Executive McCarthy noted that the County’s contract with the USGA does not require a new clubhouse since the USGA will bring temporary facilities to the 2015 U.S. Open. However, the Executive wants to take advantage of market conditions, low interest rates and the window between the two upcoming USGA championships to enhance the public’s enjoyment of the property and to boost the economic impact.

“This proposed partnership represents an excellent opportunity to enhance the public’s enjoyment of our amazing property while also generating revenue to support development of even more public access,” Executive McCarthy said.

Chambers Bay, sculpted from the remains of a gravel mine that operated for a century, opened in 2007. It is the centerpiece of Chambers Creek Properties, which also include parklands and trails, and is managed by Pierce County Public Works and Utilities.