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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Washington

Plans to develop big resort at Chambers Bay Golf Course are dead. Here’s what happened

Jan. 18, 2023 Updated Wed., Jan. 18, 2023 at 3:24 p.m.

By Debbie Cockrell The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)

Plans for a resort at Chambers Bay Golf Course are dead, according to an announcement from Pierce County.

In a Tuesday news release, it was announced that the county and Chambers Bay Resort LLC have “terminated the agreement to develop a resort at Chambers Bay Golf Course.” They blamed “a worsening economic environment.”

“We are disappointed that we were not able to bring Chambers Bay Resort to our community,” said Dan Absher, chief executive officer, Absher Construction Company, in the release.

“Due to the current economic climate where lenders are pulling back and raising interest rates, we are unable to secure commercially viable financing for the project,” Absher said. “We are grateful to all of the people and organizations who worked with us on this project over the years.”

Pierce County and the development LLC signed a ground lease agreement in 2019 for the development of a resort that would have included a hotel, clubhouse, restaurant, spa, meeting space and adjacent “casitas,” or golf villas.

Getting to the signed agreement was a contentious process, which included a lengthy, public debate among the developers, county officials and opponents at more than one County Council and/or committee meeting.

At the five-and-a-half-hour council meeting giving final approval to the lease agreement, 19 amendments to the project were considered. Eight passed, 10 failed and one was withdrawn.

“While this project may have ended, I will continue to work with the Council and the Executive to find ways to bring new amenities to Chambers Bay,” said Council Chair Ryan Mello in a statement on Tuesday. “Chambers Bay is much more than a golf course; bringing new amenities here will improve the recreational options it provides for everyone.”

The municipal, links-style golf course was created by the county in 1992 from a former sand and gravel mine along Puget Sound.

The course hosted the 2015 USGA’s U.S. Men’s Open Championship, as well as the 2020 U.S. Men’s Amateur Championship, 2021 Men’s Four-Ball Championship and 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship.

Proponents of the project saw the appeal for a resort to better attract and accommodate championship events and help sustain the course. Among other issues, critics contended the villas wouldn’t serve tourists, but rather become permanent homes for the wealthy.

The county on Tuesday says course operations will continue.

“While our plans to offer a full range of amenities to golfers from around the world will not be happening in the near-term, we will continue to offer a golfing experience of unparalleled beauty and challenge,” said Don Anderson, a member of the County’s Executive Team.

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