A partner in a proposed hotel resort to be built near Sporthaven Beach said he expects the project will get underway this fall.

After nearly two years of holding a lease option on the Port of Brookings Harbor property located behind Beachfront RV Park, Everett Foster said on Wednesday that things are falling in place for the development to soon become a reality.

His statement came one week after Port of Brookings Harbor officials gave the developer one last chance to exercise their option.

Foster, a Portland-based developer and project partner with Ray Claveran Sr. of Lodi, Calif., said other potential investing partners are lined up.

We are four to five weeks away from signing an agreement, he said. I believe we will be under permit (to construct) by September or October of this year.

We are putting into process a joint-ownership package.

Foster said the proposed hotel resort and convention/arts center is a very good project.

Its the hottest project Ive got going right now, he said, with others located in Yosemite and Yreka, Calif., Bend, and Olympia, Wash. He is also the developer on a Hilton Hotel in Portland, presently under construction.

From a financial standpoint, Foster said time share vacation rentals would be an asset to the developers.

I would like to lean heavily toward time shares, he said, but we will work it out (with the port board of commissioners).

Foster confirmed that a conference/art center is still in the plans.

Its still in the budget at this time, he said. Its something we want to give to the community.

Foster did confirm the resort would be flagged as a Red Lion hotel. Red Lion, a Northwest hotel/resort chain, is a subsidiary of Hilton International.

We have a signed agreement (with Red Lion), he said. They will provide on-site management in contract with the developers.

Port Manager Russ Crabtree on Thursday morning re-emphasized the ports position on the negotiations with Foster and Claveran.

I think its possible we could have an agreement (within four or five weeks), Crabtree said. But I want to underscore that the lease agreement would be with the publics interest in mind.

The port would be in control of design of the project, for the publics interest, he added. An extensive amount of work would be done in the design of the facility to keep whats best for the community at the forefront.

Crabtree said a start time for the project of early fall was possible, if an agreement is completely worked out to the boards satisfaction by then.

Its a realistic time frame, he said, if we work diligently to address all the issues.

Of primary interest to the commissioners is:

Facility design/architecture.

Securing efficient traffic flow.

Ensuring emergency evacuation routes are in place.

Making sure the size of the facility fits the 3.6 acre site.

Coming to terms on the time share question.

In initial talks with the developer, the port had been asked if 30 time shares would be possible. Although the port commission never agreed to time shares, they left room for discussion.

We are willing to work toward a consensus (with the developers), Crabtree said. The number 30 came from them.

At that point all we said was that time shares were a debatable point. There was no commitment to (time shares) on our part, only a possible option.

But Crabtree believes the commissioners and publics preference would be for a hotel facility only.

We are working toward no time shares, he said. We think the hotel should be built for the hospitality and tourism industry in the area, and not locked in for personal or individual use.

Time shares tend to serve a select few and dont serve the need of the majority. When a similar project was proposed in 1989, the community rejected condos on the jetty. We have stuck to that position.

Crabtree did say that the Aug. 1 extension the board gave the developers on Tuesday, May 15 (the deadline for exercising the developers option on the land had been May 31) remains final.

We have to have a signed lease in place by (Aug. 1), he said. We also need a substantial security deposit, financial references on all the partners involved and a performance bond.

We will never subordinate the publics interest in the property.

Crabtree said he estimates that completion of the hotel resort and conference/art center would probably take two years from the time an agreement is finalized, start to finish.