The deal is done: The Semiahmoo Resort has been sold.
The sale for the resort in Blaine, Wash., was completed Friday for $19.5 million. The buyer is a newly formed partnership called The Resort Semiahmoo LLC, whose managing member is Wright Hotels. That hotel company is based in Seattle.
The resort closed back in December, leaving nearly 300 people without jobs. New owners plan to offer employment to those workers first.
"It was painful to see," said TJ Hill, a former bartender and banquet server at the hotel.
According to Hill, the hotel's shutdown left hundreds searching for work with few openings in the area.
"It'll be really really good when they get it reopened and refurbished," he said.
Jerry Anches, one of the hotel's new partners, tells KING 5 News Semiahmoo will get up to $6 million dollars in upgrades, including new bedding in rooms and repairs to its building.
"It's fantastic, everybody has been anticipating what was going to happen," said Jimmy Johnson, who oversees the nearby marina.
Area businesses have been impacted since the hotel shut down.
"It's definitely been a challenge trying to get traffic in here for the store," said Johnson.
The hotel is the City of Blaine's top employer and taxpayer. Its closure created a hole of more than $130,000 in the 2013 budget.
"It was a real big loss, having them back hopefully will be a real plus to the community," said Johnson.
To outsiders, Semiahmoo reopening will be the return of Whatcom County's economic engine. To former employees like Hill, it will be an amenity that can't be measured.
"Knowing they're back, knowing that they're working, they're feeling productive, they're making money, that will be the good thing," he said.
The Upper Skagit Indian Tribe's sale of Semiahmoo includes the resort's two golf courses. New management hopes to have it open before the end of the busy summer tourism season.