The Grand Colorado in Breckenridge sees first-day sales of more than $7 million | SummitDaily.com

The Grand Colorado in Breckenridge sees first-day sales of more than $7 million

The Grand Colorado on Peak 8 has no windows, doors or walls, but after a single day on the market, timeshare owners have already committed roughly $7.1 million to the newest property in Breckenridge.

On Dec. 5, parent company Breckenridge Grand Vacations opened sales to current owners for shares in the 59-unit property, found within walking distance of the Colorado and Rocky Mountain superchair lifts. The $7.1 million figure tops BGV's past single-day record of nearly $3 million, set in 2007 for the larger, 114-unit Grand Lodge on Peak 7.

"It was certainly a more successful day than what we anticipated," said Ginny Vietti, vice president of marketing for BGV. "When the resort is finished and people have the chance to see the final product, I think that will make it even more compelling."

While the Grand Colorado won't open until the summer of 2016, BGV saw fervent interest from owners who stuck with the timeshare group through the thick of a national recession. Rob Millisor, a developer with BGV, says his group "didn't go through a tough time," which in turn led to plans for the Grand Colorado shortly after the economy leveled out.

And expectations for the new property are high. On an initial construction investment of $92 million, Vietti expects $275 million in sales when all of the units have been sold. Grand Lodge saw $67 million in sales this year alone.

"The No. 1 reason we made it through that time is the loyalty of our owners," Millisor said. "It was somewhat humbling after that first day, but we couldn't be more thrilled. It's a reinforcement that our business strategy of world-class customer service has paid off."

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With roughly 20,000 owners, BGV relied on a deep investor corps for the Grand Colorado launch. Roughly 70 percent of owners come from the Front Range, with the rest split among the resort's key markets: Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and California.

Late this summer — right after the property's "What's Next Breck" whisper campaign wrapped up — more than 200 BGV owners paid $500 each as part of an early reservation process. It gave them first dibs on units and timeshare weeks, ranging from $15,000 for off-season weeks to nearly $400,000 for large, multi-bedroom units in the heart of ski season. One family paid roughly $300,000 for a four-bedroom unit during the Christmas holiday.

"For the lodge, historically, these owners already understand our product and own at another resort," Vietti said. "They're buying the high-end units and weeks they want, so those folks tend to go after a higher price tag."

Units at the Grand Colorado are the priciest of BGV's four local properties, but thanks to pre-sale campaigns and virtual tours, current and prospective owners already had a sense of what they were paying for, Vietti said.

Sales opened to the general public on Dec. 6 and will continue through construction.

"Breckenridge Grand Vacations has bucked the trend for real estate performance all along," said Amy Kemp, owner of Mountaintop Media, a local public-relations firm that works with BGV. "During the recession, the company didn't experience a downturn like most other developers in the country. Instead, the company saw unprecedented growth, and now the company is one of the first developers to break ground on a major resort development in a record-breaking way."

Chic alpine appeal

The Grand Colorado's skeletal foundation now sits in the same spot as Bergenhof Lodge, one of the resort's original hotels. BGV developers wanted to pay homage to their predecessor — the in-house restaurant is dubbed Bergenhof Tavern — but they also wanted to build a "chic, high-end" property, Vietti said.

"We think the Grand Colorado on Peak 8 will be our pinnacle resort," Millisor said. "We've taken our 28 years of experience, everything we've learned from our owners, and we've created a resort that we look at as our culmination."

The lodge is smaller (and more expensive) than other BGV properties, but Millisor and Vietti believe the amenities are a major perk. The aquatics area will be a highlight, with an indoor and outdoor pool, a kids' play area and several hot tubs.

"You can be in the hot tub and wave at your friends in the lift line or watch what's happening in the halfpipe," Vietti said.

For Millisor, heavily investing in that kind of owner experience is built into the BGV model.

"We're a little unique in the timeshare industry because we put a lot of money into our product," Millisor said. "There are a lot of wonderful timeshares out there, but our product cost is three to four times the industry average. Unlike just selling points to trade, so many of our owners want to stay here at our Breckenridge properties."

Millisor also believes that customer loyalty sets BGV apart from other timeshares. The Grand Colorado and all BGV properties operate on a week-based timeshare system, while neighboring properties, like the Marriott Mountain Valley Lodge at Peak 9, use a point-based system. At Peak 9, owners can buy points for stays at Marriott Vacation Club properties across the country, such as the Marriott Streamside in West Vail.

BGV owners can also trade weeks through timeshare services like Interval International, but Millisor says most owners prefer to stay at the Breckenridge resorts. On average, 65 percent of owners opt to stay locally. That percentage increases during the holidays.

With the Grand Colorado still under construction, Millisor is encouraged by early sales and said he expects the property to continue attracting interest.

"We have a product that is enticing," he said. "People will still take vacations, and what our product does is create vacation security, give them something to have for a lifetime."

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