BirchBay golf course set for auction

Published on Thu, May 11, 2006 by Tara Nelson

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Birch Bay golf course set for auction

By Tara Nelson

A Portland, Oregon-based realty firm has plans to sell the former Birch Bay Golf Course.

Realty Marketing Northwest (RMN) has announced their plans to auction the former 87-acre golf course located behind Stephani’s By the Bay restaurant on Birch Bay Drive next month.

The property is currently owned by the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Grand Ronde, Oregon, which bought the property at a Whatcom County sheriff’s auction last November after the former owners went into default by approximately $20 million.

The site is zoned resort/commercial (RC) and urban residential (URM-6) which would allow for resort and commercial space or as many as six residential units per acre, and includes 320-square feet of prime beach-front property.

RMN has announced the reserve price, or a minimum bid of $3.7 million, with a 10 percent deposit.

It also includes a 10,646-square foot two-story building occupied by Stephani’s By the Bay as well as three small buildings which are currently vacant, but were used for a pro shop, maintenance, and storage, according to RMN’s website.

Stephani Smith, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband, said despite rumors of closure her restaurant in Birch Bay will remain open – at least until 2007.

“We’re staying open,” Smith said. “The lease survived the foreclosure.”

Smith said she hopes to negotiate an agreement with the new owners to keep the restaurant there.

Meanwhile, Kathy Berg, chair of the Birch Bay steering committee said she would like to find investors to purchase the golf course and turn it into a park.

Berg said she was thinking of putting together a coalition of money partners to tie up the property until the group can put together a full-blown plan for public or a possible of public/private ownership.

Berg said this would be worth considering since the creation of significant amenities such as public beach access, parking, restrooms, open space parkland, could attract people to Birch Bay’s business core.

It could also create a place where people want to live and make individual developments more profitable in the future.
“We need an anchor, a focal point,” she said. “That building is one of the last vestiges of the old Birch Bay. It could preserve character. Plus, people who don’t live on the beach need a way to access it.”
Berg also said such a project is envisioned in the Birch Bay Community Plan, which is part of Whatcom County’s 2004 comprehensive plan.

Interested individuals should contact Kathy Berg, at ChairKathy@BirchBayInfo.org for more information.
Sealed bids for Birch Bay Golf Course are required by 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 7. More information is available at www.rmnw-auctions.com/0602/136.htm.