On Monday, Chambers Bay near Seattle, site of the controversial 2015 U.S. Open, moved a step closer to adding a resort-style hotel and high-end restaurant, something the property undoubtedly needs to attract another major.
As reported by Brynn Grimley in The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash., Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy announced to the Pierce County Council on Monday that she has chosen a team of local developers to build the resort-style hotel around the county-owned Chambers Bay golf course in University Place. In addition, Chambers Bay could become the site of the first Tom Douglas restaurant (Douglas is a James Beard Award-winning chef who owns a series of restaurants) outside of Seattle.
The county actually had two proposals: one from local Chambers Bay Development, and another from Valiant Washington LCC.
Chambers Bay Development is led by Dan and Tom Absher, of Puyallup-based Absher Construction, and Dan Putnam, who previously was CEO of the structural engineering firm PCS Structural Solutions. Columbia Hospitality, Kemper Sports and GGLO Architects are also part of that group.
From the News Tribune story:
Under the revised plan, the developers still would build 80 villas below the 80-room hotel. The county is deciding whether they could be long-term rentals. Other components of the project include a 5,000-square-foot event space, 200-seat Douglas restaurant and six spa-treatment rooms. The development team made a point to include public amenities in its project, including adding a public overlook and improvements to the existing trail near the main entrance to the park.
The project would also include a golf academy, event space, a spa and public amenities, including a public overlook and improvements to an existing trail at the park. The proposal also calls for golf camps and clinics to appeal to golfers looking to improve their game.
McCarthy hopes to reach an agreement with Chambers Bay Development before the end of the year, so they can get this project going.
Chambers Bay, of course, was heavily criticized last year, not only for the conditions of its greens, but for the difficulty spectators had in getting around the golf course and viewing the action. The course also doesn't have a clubhouse, and many locals say one needs to be built behind the 18th green in addition to the hotel, and I couldn't agree more.
In any event, in order to get another major -- whether it's a U.S. Open or PGA Championship -- Chambers Bay had to up the ante, and this is certainly a step in the right direction.
Perhaps even more important, a resort-style hotel will help make Chambers Bay a true destination course for golfers.