|By Rachel Pritchett, Kitsap Sun,
Bremerton, Wash.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
June 12, 2010 --BREMERTON -- No one had the $4 million needed at a courthouse auction Friday to save the Oyster Bay Inn from foreclosure.
But a familiar face was watching the proceedings intently as ownership of the troubled hotel reverted to the bank.
Youg Kang and wife Angie owned and operated the Oyster Bay Inn for a decade starting in 1995. He gave it up in 2004, saying he was getting old. He now owns a commercial building in Federal Way, which he said is much easier work.
But Kang, 70, may have changed his mind.
"We know that hotel more than anybody," he said. "We think that business activity will definitely pick up."
Kang might have a plan.
Rather than paying $4 million to buy it Friday, he might be interested in a future short sale by new owner Whidbey Island Bank, which may be anxious to get the worn and forgotten hotel off its books.
Kang said that unlike the days when he owned it, the Oyster Bay Inn's once-good reputation has been shot and the premises have become run down.
To Kang, a more reasonable price would be between $3.2 million and $3.3 million, he said.
Whether he can get a better deal by playing it cool and waiting remains to be seen.
The bank already is losing the better part of $1 million in becoming the new owner. About $4.7 million was owned on the mortgage that was held by a company that is now in bankruptcy proceedings. The company -- called MS & SK, Inc. -- is led by president Chong Gibbs.
The former owner also owes back taxes to the tune of $70,503.
The Kitsap County Assessor's Office estimates the property is worth $4.2 million.
Jim Carroll, a senior vice president at Whidbey Island Bank, said the institution will try to keep the place open and try to find a buyer.
Port of Bremerton Chief Executive Officer Cary Bozeman may be helping to orchestrate the events swirling around the once-elegant hotel.
Kang said he's been in conversation with his old friend a couple of times lately, and didn't realize when he was in Bremerton how much he and his wife were loved.
"I talked to him a couple times and he wants me to come back," Kang said.
Bozeman confirmed his role.
"When they owned it before they were very involved in the community. Bremerton will be very fortunate if they are able to buy it back," he said.
The hotel has about 13 employees. One who answered the phone Friday said some of the employees would be glad if Kang came back, believing he was among the better owners the hotel has had since opening in 1984.
The Oyster Bay Inn has 77 units in three building on about 2.4 acres. Some rooms feature stunning views of Oyster Bay.
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