PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There may still be a future for the well-loved Kah-Nee-Ta Resort and Spa in Warm Springs, which was set to close after Labor Day.
The historic vacation destination, located on Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs land, has been operating for more than five decades. On July 6, Kah-Nee-Ta interim general manager Marie Kay Williams filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification letter, letting the resort’s 146 employees know that the property would be shuttering on September 5.
The chief executive of the investment firm trying to save Kah-Nee-Ta, however, said the resort may not have to halt operations – if his firm can successfully close a $2 million bridge financing round.
Tom Hansen, the Florida-based president and CEO of Accent Ventures, said he and his team are still working toward signing a long-term lease and agreement with the tribe, in order to take over operations of the resort, which has struggled in recent years. An article in Spilyay Tymoo, the tribal newspaper, indicates that the intention was to transfer the property to Accent Ventures by February 1.
Hansen, reached by phone on Friday, said the financing had taken longer than he had hoped. The lease signing was contingent upon Accent Ventures’ ability to close both short- and long-term financing for the property, with a plan of investing $16 million into upgrading the resort.
He said there had been multiple options for short-term financing that were approved but ultimately fell through.
“Some of the complications have been related to the fact that this is a tribal property,” Hansen said, though he declined to specify what those issues were.
Hansen said he and his partners were speaking with both institutional investors and family offices in order to raise money. He said he has multiple meetings over the next two weeks with investors and is confident he’ll be able to close $2 million in financing, hopefully by the end of July.
“The most important thing to say is we haven’t given up – we have full intentions of executing the lease and getting this done,” Hansen said.
Hansen said he’s been speaking with tribal leaders and Kah-Nee-Ta management on a daily basis, and that the announced closure doesn’t have a negatively affect Accent Ventures’ investment plans. Williams, the interim general manager, has not responded to KOIN 6 News’ interview requests.
If anything, Hansen said the announcement – and the subsequent outpouring of support – has reaffirmed the value of the resort.
“If you look at hundreds and hundreds of reviews, it is still very well-recognized and desired, even though you consistently see the customers would like to see investment in upgrading the property and educating the staff,” Hansen said.
Hansen added that he himself has been visiting Kah-Nee-Ta for the last 16 years.
“I love Kah-Nee-Ta, love the tribe, and I’m fully committed,” he said.