Few respond to golf course development

The allure of the U.S. Open apparently hasn’t convinced many developers to express interest in building and operating a clubhouse, lodging and other facilities at Pierce County’s Chambers Bay Golf Course.

The county received only four responses to its request for qualifications from companies interested in the project.

“We expected more proposals,” said Tony Tipton, the county’s Chambers Bay project manager. “Because of that, we’re giving careful consideration to the (proposals) we did get to ensure they’re the quality and depth we’ll need to proceed further.”

The county hopes to partner with a private developer to build a permanent clubhouse of up to 30,000 square feet, up to 100,000 square feet of lodging, a restaurant of up to 20,000 square feet, and 28,000 square feet of golf course support facilities.

The project is expected to cost about $35 million.

The county received responses from:

 • Joyce Development of Puyallup.

 • KemperSports Management of Northbrook, Ill., the firm that operates Chambers Bay for the county.

 • SE Group of Bellevue.

 • The Statesman Group of Calgary, Alberta.

The clubhouse needs to be finished by the time the county hosts the U.S. Amateur in August 2010. The lodging is planned for 2011 and the restaurant by 2012.

The course will host the U.S. Open in 2015.

Tipton said the county didn’t anticipate a specific number of responses to its request for qualifications. But he acknowledged it expected greater interest in the project. He said a poor business climate might be a factor.

Now the county must decide whether to seek specific development proposals from companies that responded or solicit interest from additional companies. He said the county hopes to reach an agreement before the end of the year.