SJC Council expresses concern about Rosario Closing

The San Juan County Council today expressed concern about the imminent closing of the Rosario Resort on Orcas Island. The resort, centered around the 100-year-old Rosario mansion built by shipbuilder Robert Moran, is an island landmark and one of the island’s largest employers.

Earlier this month, owners of the resort, Olympus Real Estate Group, announced that Rosario would be sold on September 30th in a no-reserve auction.

“This will have a very serious impact on Orcas Island and all of San Juan County,” said District 5 Council Member Gene Knapp. “We have year-round, 100 full-time jobs at jeopardy as well one of the County’s historic attractions and a major contributor to the tax base.”

Knapp noted that in the past Rosario has always been operated as a top of the line resort and he expressed hope that a new buyer will emerge that will continue that tradition.

In May, 2007 the Council approved the Rosario Resort’s Master Plan for future development which included establishing “private residence clubs” (privately owned individual units with one or more owners) and foresaw the replacement and upgrading of the resort’s Marina and guest facilities.

The property’s general manager, Dan Dohner, has been quoted as being hopeful that the auction will attract someone who is “passionate enough to make the resort all that it can be.” However the continued operation of Rosario as a resort is not assured. It is now scheduled to cease operations on October 20 and the managers say they are attempting to assist its workers in finding other employment.