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Everyday Business | Red Lion sale a quick kick to the assets

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Wenatchee’s Red Lion Hotel.

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It’s probably not a huge deal that Wenatchee’s Red Lion is up for sale. That’s happened a few times in its nearly 40-year history.

But it is kind of a whack to the head that this 149-room hotel, one of the largest and (in its heyday) most luxurious in North Central Washington, would be considered by its parent company as “a non-strategic asset” that’s been allowed to fray around the edges.

Heck, back in the late ’70s, we’d drive down from Twisp to stay at the hotel (then part of the Thunderbird chain) just because it had a big swimming pool, TVs in fancy cabinets and room service. Just like the Ritz. And the phones were beige, not black. Mucho moderne.

A few weeks ago, the Red Lion company put the Wenatchee hotel up for sale along with five others in Washington and Idaho as part of its new “growth strategy.” That really means they’re dumping under-performing hotels in small cities to focus instead on franchise properties in larger metro areas. They’re looking for higher returns on investment. It’s just business; nothing personal.

Asking price? A cool $4.5 million for the rooms, restaurant and bar and huge meeting spaces on 3 1/2 acres near one of Wenatchee’s busiest intersections. Red Lion expects the property to sell within a year, but they aren’t exactly sure who’ll buy it. Another hotel chain? An independent operator? A condominium developer? Options abound.

So you’d better plan now if you want to dance the night away in the Red Lion’s Grizzly Lounge. New owners aren’t likely to keep those fierce animal names.

Congrats to the Campbells

We’ve been remiss in not congratulating Wenatchee businessman and philanthropist Carl Campbell for receiving the Spirit of A.Z. Wells Award from the Central Washington Hospital Foundation back in November.

Actually, both Carl and his wife Betty, who died in 2010, received the honor, which was presented at a black-tie event for over 300 people in the hangar of Executive Flight, the air charter company owned by Carl. (FYI: that airplane hangar, spare and brilliantly lighted, sparkles like a high-tech laboratory. It’s really amazing.)

The A.Z. Wells Award, named after local philanthropists Alfred Z. and Emogene Wells, is given annually to folks who’ve provided significant support and leadership to Central Washington Hospital and other health-related institutions in North Central Washington.

Carl and Betty fit the bill. They moved to the Wenatchee Valley in 1953 and built Parkside Sanitarium, which grew quickly into a company of retirement communities in nearby towns. Over the decades, the company evolved into Triple C Healthcare, a locally-based outfit with facilities in 21 states. That includes Colonial Vista Retirement and Assisted Living in Wenatchee.

Their vision and labor have made possible the extension of medical, social and cultural services in an environment of warmth and compassion that challenges, uplifts and encourages human beings,” says the hospital foundation’s website.

The couple have contributed generously to many local nonprofits, civic groups and other community efforts — and mostly done it quietly and from behind scenes. After Betty passed away, Carl (at age 91) has continued their entrepreneurship, philanthropy and service to the Wenatchee Valley.

Much thanks to Carl and Betty.

Ho ho ho for a legislative preview

If you’re in the mood, you might want to complement your holiday celebrating this week with a dose of politics.

Our local legislative mucky-mucks — Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, Rep. Cary Condotta and Rep. Brad Hawkins — will address members of the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce at a preview for the upcoming legislative session. The public’s invited, too.

The preview starts at 7:30 a.m. (yawn) Wednesday at the Red Lion, so get that coffee perking. The breakfast is $13 for pre-registered Chamber members and $15 for non-members.

For more info, call the Chamber at 662-2116 or visit wenatchee.org.

This weekly column is compiled from “Everyday Business,” a blog by World reporter Mike Irwin. You can reach him at 665-1179 or irwin@wenatcheeworld.com.

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business or follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.

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