Washington hotel owners worry about foreclosures without government help

Some hotel and motel owners in Washington state say they are worried about foreclosures.

Industry business owners are on pins and needles waiting to see if grant money will come to their rescue. The hold up however is a final decision from the state legislature.

Inside Hampton Inn & Suites in Lynnwood April is turning out to be much busier than last April.

"We’ve climbed back up but only 20 percent up it’s going to be a slow process," said owner Shaiza Damji.

A lot less money is coming in but the monthly mortgage has remained the same to keep the Hampton Inn & Suites open. Damji said it’s about $130,000 a month in mortgage payments.

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"That’s a huge amount of money so look at that in a course of a year," Damji said.

 If there is a time for the government to step in for the hotel industry, she said it’s now.

"I mean we cannot continue at this level more than 6 months to a year," Damji said.

She said other hotel owners have worked out mortgage delays with their banks but many hotels across the state are on a different publicly traded loan system that does not allow that. Damji said many struggling are local franchise hotel owners who are Asian Americans.

 "I believe 50 percent of hotels in the United States are owned by Asian Americans," Damji said.

The Washington Hospitality Association confirming that statistic. The association says around 50 hotels are in danger of foreclosing in Washington.

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Damji and others are lobbying for state lawmakers to carve out at least $35 million in grants to help hotel owners who are behind on payments.

The money would be coming from Washington’s share of the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress.

"We have to be able to come out of it somehow," Damji said.

But as of Thursday, state lawmakers are still negotiating the budget and it’s unclear if struggling hotels will get any type of bailout.

Damji knows that this year’s legislative session ends at midnight on Sunday so time is running out. It’s unfathomable to imagine losing the hotel Damji said her parents created decades ago.

 "It will be devastating, I can’t even think about it," she said.

The Washington Hospitality Association states an average hotel brings in about $3 million into the local economy every year. So if a hotel shuts down, it impacts area restaurants and retail as well.

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