Circle Hot Springs owner hopes he has found a buyer

Posted: Monday, July 07, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) The owner of Arctic Circle Hot Springs says he may have a buyer for the resort that has been shuttered since October.

Bob Miller, 85, has not named the potential buyer but said it was an Alaska-based company.

''If they get it, it will be a wonderful company,'' he said.

Miller closed the hot springs Oct. 1, citing a slow economy and a dip in tourism.

The resort 134 road miles northeast of Fairbanks includes a 24-room hotel, more than a dozen rental cabins, a restaurant and bar, and an outdoor hot springs pool that stayed open during the Interior's frigid winter days.

The resort is 10 miles outside of the mining town of Central. It served as a hub for area residents and its closure meant fewer jobs and services.

Miller said in October that he planned to reopen in April but the resort remains closed.

Miller and his wife, LaVerna, run the business and found it increasingly difficult to keep the business open year-round. It often ran at a loss in the winter, Miller said, and he has been attempting to sell for three years.

The prospective buyer is willing to allow Miller and his wife to run and maintain the springs if the purchase goes through and will also be mindful of the tradition in place, he said. The springs have been popular, he said, because a stay and a soak were affordable.

Miller spent several million dollars on improvements immediately after his purchase to upgrade accommodations. After 23 years, Miller said, he is tired of trying to keep the business afloat.

''Most people will go further and further into debt. I decided to stop before I got to that point,'' he said.

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