Tuesday, July 25, 2017 This Week's Paper
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After a comprehensive review that included significant community input, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy has selected Chambers Bay Development, LLC as the group to design, build and operate the Chambers Bay Resort in University Place. As a result, County officials will begin the process to negotiate a development agreement.
“We’re pleased to have had two outstanding proposals to consider and are delighted to move forward with Chambers Bay Development,” said McCarthy. “While both proposals had very strong elements, the internal review committee found in Chambers Bay a cohesive partnership with a track record of success.”
Chambers Bay Development, LLC, includes a number of Pacific Northwest-based partners: Absher Construction, Tom Douglas, Columbia Hospitality and GGLO. The team also includes KemperSports, the current Chambers Bay golf course management company.
McCarthy noted that while Chamber Bay Development was ranked first in the selection process, should the parties fail to reach an agreement the County would be interested in working with Valiant Washington.
The $45 million proposal from Chambers Bay Development includes a boutique hotel, golf clubhouse, meeting and event space, a spa, a 200-seat Tom Douglas restaurant and bar, a public plaza and enhanced trails. The suggested Phase 2 and Phase 3 elements will not be included in the development agreement.
“As local developers, we are committed to creating a clubhouse and resort that fulfills the County’s needs, expands public use of the park and is financially successful,” said Dan Absher, managing member, Chambers Bay Development. “We look forward to working with the County’s team to execute their vision for the resort through collaboration, passion for the site and project, and commitment to the community.”
Chambers Bay Development’s proposal adheres to the County’s vision for the resort, which includes:

  • Compares with facilities found championship-caliber golf courses;
  • Compliments the golfing experience at Chambers Bay;
  • Takes advantage of the unique natural qualities of the site;
  • Prioritizes and integrates with other public amenities on the site; and
  • Supports the ability of the site to host a national golf championship

No Pierce County funds will be used to design, build or operate the resort. The County will realize income from leasing the property to the developers and both the County and the City of University Place will receive tax-related revenues.
The selection of Chambers Bay Development, LLC, follows a public outreach effort that included an Open House at the Environmental Services Building that attracted more than 250 attendees and a Town Hall at Bates Auditorium. In addition, the County used social media channels to solicit feedback on the two proposals via online comments at the site created to keep the community well-informed.
“The input and feedback we received was helpful in ensuring the community’s priorities and preferences were kept in the forefront of the decision-making process,” said Tony Tipton, director, Pierce County Parks and Recreation. “We are excited to move forward in this next step in reclaiming a former gravel pit.”
The negotiated development agreement will be subject to approval by the County Council due to the anticipated length of the property lease.

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