With ‘EB-5’ designation at last, work to begin on Artemis Hotel soon


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Albert Sze, left, with Mayor Dave Kaplan and Council Member Bob Sheckler

by Ralph Nichols

Work on the long-anticipated $45 million Artemis Hotel in Des Moines – beginning with staging, ground clearing, and excavation for construction – is now expected to start by Aug. 1.

It has been two years this week since ground was broken for the four-star, 238-room luxury hotel at 22406 Pacific Highway S.

Yang Chun is majority owner of the Artemis Hotel project.

The long delay resulted from processing by the U.S. State Department of an application for crucial “EB-5” foreign investor visa program funding, which had been submitted by Yareton Investment & Management of Washington, LLC, the hotel developer.

Yareton and City of Des Moines officials were notified late last week that the EB-5 application had at last been approved.

This EB-5 Regional Center Designation, which covers the greater Des Moines area, clears the way for construction of the Artemis, Albert Sze, project manager for Yareton, said at a dinner for local political and business leaders to celebrate the news at Salty’s at Redondo July 21.

Sze also noted that this EB-5 Regional Center will open the door for foreign investors to create hundreds of jobs and fuel the local economy with other development projects.

He expressed special thanks to Congressman Adam Smith, D-9, and the City of Des Moines “for giving us help” in securing the EB-5 designation.

“A Wonderful Partner”
“The City of Des Moines has been a wonderful partner in moving this project forward. We look forward to a quality development that will benefit both investors and the region.”

In the meantime, Sze added, they “still need all kinds of continuing legal help … for more investors from China” to be granted EB-5 visa program approval that will result in even more job creation. At this time, “everything looks good.”

And with the U.S. Open coming to Chambers Bay Golf Course near Tacoma in June 2015, they need “110 percent support from start to finish for our general contractor to finish the job in 22 months,” so the Artemis is open to guests by that April or early May.

Puyallup-based Absher is general contractor. Belay Architecture of Tacoma designed the hotel.

The eight-floor Artemis Hotel site is located three miles south of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and just north of the Interstate 5-Kent/Des Moines Road interchange – and along the eventual Link Light Rail route between Sea-Tac and Federal Way.

Fine Dining – and More
It will include Des Moines’ first convention center, a banquet room that can accommodate 300 guests, and two full-service restaurants – an authentic four-star Chinese restaurant for fine dining that serves authentic Chinese cuisine and an American grill.

There will nine penthouse suites, banquet facilities for 300 guests with a separate kitchen, an upscale water-feature spa, and workout facilities.

A 1930s art-deco design will complement the hotel’s spectacular views of Puget Sound and nearby mountain ranges.

In discussion is a partnership with a top hotel chain, as well as the inclusion of a “prestigious casino” as “a major tenant” that would create approximately 100 additional jobs.

Located at 22406 Pacific Highway S., the Artemis will include a convention center, the first such facility in Des Moines, nine penthouse suites, banquet facilities for 300 guests with a separate kitchen, a water-feature spa, and workout facilities.

It will also boast two full-service restaurants, one serving authentic Chinese cuisine and the other a fine American grill, as well as a bar featuring live music and a poker room with game tables.

“We talked about building a hotel in the Unites States that would feature Chinese culture and Chinese cuisine,” Mr. Yang said at the groundbreaking in mid-2011. “This is a win/win situation for the city and the investors.”

“We’re Finally There”
Shahzad Qadri, an attorney with Wong Fleming, LLC, in Bellevue, a leading law firm for securing EB-5 Regional Center approvals, who is representing the Artemis developers, also noted at Sunday’s dinner that this designation will benefit all businesses in Des Moines.

“We’re finally there,” Qadri said. “We believed in it from day one. What is really exciting about this project is that it’s … opened doors for development in Des Moines. We’re excited. And we hope you are too.”

“I can’t possibly state what this project means to Des Moines,” Mayor Dave Kaplan said. “Success breeds success. We’ve been on the brink of success for a long time and now we’re starting to see the fruits of that. EB-5 means a lot for the entire Pacific Ridge area.”

Kaplan than paid tribute to Councilman – and former mayor – Bob Sheckler because of his efforts to show “the difference of what Des Moines, has compared to Tacoma, to Mr. Yang and others” – and for “the political risk” he Sheckler took to bring the Artemis to Des Moines.

Bob Sheckler Led Way
On a trip to China in 2009 – to discuss a possible exchange program for Highline Community College students as well as a sister-city connection there for Des Moines – Sheckler was introduced to Mr. Yang.

From that meeting a business relationship between the two emerged and, despite opposition from some dissident local lawmakers who are no longer in office, Sheckler crafted a majority coalition on the Des Moines City Council that opened doors for the Artemis Hotel project.

“I don’t think a lot of people who have been critics of the hotel understand” that Mr. Yang has “got ‘X’ number of dollars to make this happen – and one of the conditions for it to happen that the EB-5 be granted,” Sheckler said Sunday.

“After a couple of years on a bumpy road, here we are,” he noted, also crediting Smith for intervening with the State Department on behalf of EB-5 approval for the developer.

“The jobs that will be created will be good paying,” and the hotel will bring new tax revenue to the city, Sheckler continued.

“This is like a domino effect. Once it starts, it will bring in more businesses that want to be associated with it.”

About EB-5
Congress created the fifth employment-based preference (EB-5) immigrant visa category in 1990 for qualified foreigner investors seeking to invest in a business that will benefit the U.S. economy and create or save at least 10 full-time jobs.

The basic amount required to invest is $1 million, although that amount is reduced to $500,000 if the investment is made in a rural or high unemployment area. Of the approximately 10,000 EB-5 green cards available each year, 3,000 are reserved for foreign nationals who invest.


Comments

3 Responses to “With ‘EB-5’ designation at last, work to begin on Artemis Hotel soon”
  1. Greg Fox says:

    This is old news as we have heard this same story for the past 5 years, but still no building. The last was a ground breaking ceremony and the only dirt removed since then has been by the wind?
    I will believe it when I see construction begin!

    Rate: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  2. Pat Nardo says:

    I am suspicious by nature and wonder why: A Chinese enterprise entering our community which is centrally located to McCord AFB, Fort Lewis, Coast Guard Station in Seattle, Bangor Submarine Station, Bremerton Naval Base. Are we forgetting that while the Chines people are our friends and suffer various forms of persecution? China is not an ally. Could we construct such an ideally located hotel in China? To what extent will this wondrous “palace” alleviate our current shortfall of round three million dollars? Will it take away business from our already great Chinese restaurants in Des Moines? How many “listening devices” will be planted in construction and who is watching this? THINK!
    China was not our friend in Korea when I was there so what has changed?

    Rate: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

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