by Richard Uhlhorn
At its Tuesday, March 8 Council meeting the council was presented with a proposal to take over the Chelan Municipal Golf Course food concession by Albatross LLC. The company is associated with Karma Vineyards who are planning on shutting down their Bistro at the winery due to Chelan County Code changes.
This opportunity to move restaurant operations from Karma to the golf course is a win-win for the City and Karma. Albatross LLC will invest $345,000 over a two year period to update the Clubhouse and bring a top-notch restaurant to the facility for both the golfing community and non-golfers wishing to have a superb dining opportunity.
Paul Horne… “Our clubhouse is faded and old,” said Paul Horne in an introduction to a presentation by Albatross LLC to take over the food and beverage concession. “We were looking to find something that our golfers would make our concession successful.”
Wade Ferris …. “We thought we had a contract ready,” Ferris told the Council. Unfortunately, there are a few changes than needed to be discussed and approved before going towards the Council for a vote. Ferris set up a Council Zoom meeting for Thursday afternoon to approve the contract which is expected to pass.
Adam Rynd, owner of Coldwell Banker Real Estate, was hired by the Chelan Parks Department to seek interested parties to take over the food concession at the Golf Course with tenant improvement making the facility more attractive to both the golfing and visiting public.
A RFQ was sent out October 15 and resulted in 16 firms responding. Rynd also reached out to 4,000 restaurants regarding the opportunity. They received only one proposal.
Julie Pittsinger, owner of Karma Vineyards reached out to Rynd with a possible couple new to town that could be interested. In the end, that collaboration didn’t work out for several reasons, but Pittsinger and Rynd entered conversations about the opportunity.
Pittsinger told the Council, “Holie Molie… I could see this has incredible potential… incredible things for this valley. I took the (Karma) staff up there on Thursday.” She feels that they are within a timeframe to get it done, but it will be close. That, of course, will depend on the City approving permits for contractors to move forward. “I believe we have the crew… I’m very excited,” she added.
The Albatross plan calls for a simple breakfast ‘grab and go’ with a step up on weekends; a hearty lunch with great atmosphere for people finishing or starting their golf rounds, and with the hope of attracting non-golfers, as well; dinner ocused on the view, great drinks, and a great menu; a bar serving beer, wine, and cider refreshments, including onsite wine tasting and retail wine sales for off-site consumption.
“We have a large following at Karma,” said Pittsinger. Currently seven employees are available and Pittsinger is trying to coordinate with the golf course. During the off-season, Pittsinger is in discussions to figure out “what we can do.”
“It’s a massive undertaking, but we have builders waiting to start,” she stated. “Our goal is service. We want to put something great (in place).” During the off-season, from October to January, they will serve dinner only from 4 to 8 p.m.
The investment be an estimated $345,000 over a two year period which includes a fully renovated top floor with a restaurant, kitchen and showcase bar, and an improved ground floor including a banquet area and renovated bathrooms. The plan also calls for a dedicated beverage cart.
Rynd explained that the concession contract includes a five year lease with the option for two five-year extensions at $3,000 per month ($36,000 per year). “To enhance the building will take a substantial investment,” said Rynd.
Erin McCardle, Chris Baker and Mayor Bob Goedde stated they were excited for this to happen. McCardle said, “This project couldn’t be in better hands.” Goedde stated that the City was lucky to have Karma jump in. Baker asked if the group would be conducting weddings on the premises? Pittsinger stated that she didn’t see doing any weddings at the Golf Course because they already have a premiere wedding venue at Karma Vineyards.
Tim Hollingsworth asked if this proposal is within a realistic timeframe. He was assured that permitting could be turned around in 30 days.
Because the contract was not completed by the time City Council met on Tuesday the Chelan City Council will meet in special session beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 10, 2022 via Zoom Video Conferencing.
The purpose of this special meeting is to discuss the Lake Chelan Municipal Golf Course Concessionaire Agreement and potentially approve a concessionaire contract with Albatross LLC for the Golf Course.