Telluride Capella hotel to be alight with stars
MOUNTAIN VILLAGE Telluride finally has its own swank hotel, the Capella Telluride. The $200 million property is the first in the international chain of the new luxury Capella brand to open in the United States.Horst Schulze, the legendary founder of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel chain, founded the Capella hotels. They will be less formal and somewhat smaller, but Schulze has decreed the new chain will deliver an even more highly personalized level of service.There arent enough stars in heaven, says Seth Cagin, publisher of The Telluride Watch, alluding to the fashion of anointing four and five stars to high-end lodging properties.Schulze was in Telluride and the slope-side town of Mountain Village, the actual location of the hotel, last week in anticipation of the ground opening. The hotel has two large structures containing 100 hotel rooms, 48 condominiums, plus two restaurants, a ballroom, underground parking, and an ice rink in a new public plaza.The hope in Telluride is that this additional lodging helps the tourism economy reach a critical mass. The hotel also is expected to bolster the conference meeting business.Schulze expressed confidence that the Capella would be successful within three years.Someday, he said, he hopes it will be as strongly identified with Telluride as the Little Nell is with Aspen, the Sonnenalp is with Vail, and the Hyatt Regency is with Beaver Creek.
CRESTED BUTTE A school in Crested Butte slated to be built will go through the accreditation process called LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficient Design). The additional up-front cost for this process and improved materials and technology will be $130,000.A large portion of that money is being used to pay for a firm that will monitor the work and verify the use of materials, designs, and techniques that will reduce energy use while also being healthy for students and faculty. The cost of these upgraded materials is estimated at $40,000.The Crested Butte News notes that town officials insisted that the green credentials of the new school, which is being built partly on town property, be verified, with LEED being the best-known process of verification.Base-area development slowed in the TetonsJACKSON, Wyo. The recession and credit squeeze have delayed big base-area developments on both sides of the Teton Range.At the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, plans for a condo-hotel called The Little Nell are on hold. Rob DesLauriers, the developer, said his team is waiting for the arrival of consumers.On the west side of the Teton Range, near Driggs, Idaho, development plans for an expanded base village were approved last year at Grand Targhee ski area. But Geordie Gillett, who represents the resort-owning Gillett family, said he doesnt see much work beginning until the credit markets improve.Im always in contact with the banks, having generally having that 40,000-foot conversation, he told the Jackson Hole News & Guide. I dont see a need to pursue financing at this time. Its pretty clear what the answer will be.County officials tell the newspaper that applications for development were down 34 percent through mid-February, compared with the same period last year. However, the slowdown in applications is less evident in Jackson, the countys only town. But even there, tightened credit is at issue. SR Mills, developer of a condo-hotel, said development is still planned, but not as fast.Part of what the bank would use as a down-payment would be the pre-sales of various hotels rooms, he said. With the lagging real-estate market, it makes it more difficult to sell those units, which in turn makes financing more difficult. Its a pretty tough climate out there.
REVELSTOKE, B.C. Revelstoke Mountain Resort can now claim to have the most vertical of any ski area in North America. But will the lifts that allow that boast continue operating?That was the question several months ago when the Denver-based majority owner, Don Simpson, concluded that his pockets were not nearly deep enough to pay the expenses of the new ski area, now in its second year of operations.Real-estate sales had gone well, yielding $130 million, but a big ski area requires massive amounts of money to operate. Skier visits last year were still below 90,000. Although located along the TransCanada Highway, Revelstoke is still several hours from Calgary, and air connections are far weaker than is commonly found to major ski areas.At that point, the Vancouver-based Gaglardi family, agreed to step up. They have something called the Northland Properties Corp. The companys Tom Gaglardi recently meet with community members in Revelstoke.It would be tough to overemphasize the financial difficulty the resort was in during the fall, Gaglardi told the audience. Nor, he added later, is the resort still out of the woods.The problem for the resort is that it has to sell real estate or lift tickets, and its not in a good position to do either one. Gaglardi said the majority owners are spending millions of dollars every month, and do intend to move forward with two new lodges at the base area this summer, despite the fact that the real estate market has evaporated to basically zero.In selling the ski product, he sees Revelstoke marketing to Calgary more heavily, but also to Australia and the United Kingdom. He asked for assistance from the community in welcoming tourists. He said he hoped the ski operations could become profitable within three to five years. Really the only way to pay and continue for the resort is on the real-estate side, he said.This year, while other resorts are seeing reduced visitation, Revelstoke actually hopes for an increase, to 130,00 visits. Galgardi said the break-even point for the resort is at about 250,000 skier days annually.
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