Upgrades planned after sale of Red Lion Hotel in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — Restaurant renovations are in store for the Red Lion Hotel’s CrabHouse restaurant as a new owner takes the reins of the largest lodging establishment in Clallam and Jefferson counties, the hotel’s general manager said.

A bargain-and-sale deed for the 187-room, 221 N. Lincoln St. Red Lion to Wilsonville, Ore.-based BHG Hotels LLC was signed last Monday, July 9, as predicted by Portland, Ore.-based CoHo Services, which will run the hotel for BHG.

The hotel was owned by Denver, Colo.-based RLH Corp.

The hotel had $1 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2018 and $7.2 million in revenue on an annual basis in 2017, according to Globe Newswire, a press release distribution company.

The hotel will keep the Red Lion Hotel name as part of the sale, according to CoHo Services.

The sale price was $19.5 million for the waterfront hotel and restaurant, which is valued for property tax purposes at $8.7 million in land, improvements and personal property, according to the Clallam County Assessor’s Office.

Hotel General Manger Robert Utz said Saturday that planning for guest-room renovations will begin immediately at the hotel, which employs about 100 workers.

He said those changes will not involve as much planning as those planned for the CrabHouse.

“In terms of brain power, it might take more to create the food and beverage side,” Utz said.

Restaurant renovations might begin in early 2019, he said, adding that he did not expect the entire restaurant would shut down while the improvements are being made.

The restaurant has two separate and distinct waterfront-view eating areas, one for breakfast and lunch and the other for dinner.

“On the food and beverage side, its more of us creating a new operating format,” Utz said.

“You look at the design, and there really hasn’t been a significant renovation in that building for years and in the back of the house for years and years and years.

“CoHo Services is very strong on food and beverage operations, so they are putting their expertise into the menu and equipment.

“It’s going to be quite a process.

“I’m looking forward to coming up with something phenomenal for our guests as well as our locals.

“We are looking at coming up with two food and beverage options at each end of the building.”

A CoHo Services spokeswoman and a Red Lion Hotels spokesman not return calls for comment Saturday.

RLH Corp. announced the sale as the eighth of 11 hotels that the RLH is marketing for sale that have been sold, Globe Newswire said Friday.

The hotel is keeping the name as part of a franchise license agreement to retain the Red Lion brand.

“RLH Corporation’s total gain on the sale is expected to be approximately $11.5 million,” according to Globe Newswire.

“With this sale, RLH Corporation fully retired the remaining $24.2 million of debt held by Pacific Western Bank applying $15.6 million of proceeds from the sale and the restricted cash associated with the debt.

“Together with the other seven previously announced sales, RLH Corporation’s gain on sales is approximately $27.4 million.”

RLH Corp. President and CEO Greg Mount said RLH is committed to becoming “asset light” and focusing on paying off long-term debt to fund growth in its franchise business.

The change in ownership of the Port Angeles hotel has not had an impact on the day-to-day operations other than some immediate changes to the facility’s information technology system, Utz said.

The Red Lion expects to be at between 93 percent and 100 percent of occupancy through the end of August, he added.

“We’re 100 percent full tonight,” Utz said Saturday.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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