A resort in the works | PostIndependent.com

A resort in the works

Dennis WebbGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Developers have purchased the old Sunlight Racquet Club property and hope to build a resort that could include a hotel, conference center and condominiums.Roaring Fork Lodge, of Denver, paid Riverview Sunlight Ventures, LLC, $2.98 million for the 4.28-acre property in December.Developer Terry Claassen hopes to meet with Glenwood Springs City Council on Feb. 15 for a conceptual review of the proposal for what is being called the Roaring Fork Lodge. He emphasized that the proposal remains “very, very preliminary” in nature.”We’re currently looking at several different scenarios to see what’s going to be the best and highest use there,” Claassen said Wednesday.Glenwood community development director Andrew McGregor said he suspects the eventual proposal will end up looking somewhat similar to drawings submitted to city planners.Those drawings envision a five-story building with basement parking, and a 15,000-square-foot conference center, along with space for a restaurant. McGregor said developers have discussed the possibility of 60 hotel rooms and 40 residential units on the property.That would be an “extremely intensive use” of the property, McGregor said. At the same time, it’s exactly what the zoning for the land allows, he said.

The property, located at 27th Street and Midland Avenue, is zoned for resort commercial development, one of few areas of town with that zoning. Among other things, the zoning permits buildings up to 60 feet high.Still, McGregor indicated to developers that the building’s size is likely to be an issue for neighboring residents.”While the building is attractive and appears to meet the bulk requirements for the site, its massiveness will no doubt be called into question,” he wrote in a memo to developers.McGregor said in an interview that the massiveness could be addressed through means such as building smaller, multiple structures rather than one big one.He advised developers that nearby residents may be concerned about having their views and direct sunlight blocked.”While not specifically addressed in the municipal code requirements, it will nonetheless be a sensitive topic for surrounding homeowners,” he said in his memo.Claassen said he planned to hold an open house with neighbors of the property before the Feb. 15 council meeting. He hopes to submit a conceptual proposal by Monday to meet the city’s deadline for getting it on the council agenda for that day.McGregor said developers have put forward an interesting concept that could meet a couple of different needs that have been identified in Glenwood Springs, including a conference center.

Claassen has had prior involvement in real estate in Glenwood Springs, just across Midland Avenue from the former racquet club property. He is a managing partner with Glenwood Condos LLC, which bought 24 condos at the Terraces development after the original developer, Jay Harkins, lost them in foreclosure.Altogether, the Terraces development includes more than 100 units. The development encountered foundation problems, and the homeowners association there won a lawsuit settlement of nearly $12 million from Harkins, and then worked with Claassen to use proceeds to fix the problems.Claassen said he is working on the racquet club project with Mike Elkins, with Aspen Land & Homes Sotheby’s International Realty.The property had been owned since 2003 by Riverview Sunlight Ventures, LLC, an Ohio company whose principals include developer David Glimcher. Glimcher brought the Wal-Mart Supercenter to Rifle and developed the Rifle Commons shopping plaza property.The Glenwood land had been owned earlier by Sunlight Racquet Club LLC, and had been home to facilities including a health club and a bottom-floor swimming pool. The property has been vacant for years, with its outdoor tennis courts becoming overgrown and some 40,000 square feet of building space falling into disrepair. Some of the building had been leased for office use for a time, but more recently homeless people had been breaking in and using it, Claassen said.”It’s really not only an eyesore but probably a public health hazard,” he said.He said some asbestos already has been cleaned up on the property.Claassen is currently working on obtaining a city demolition permit for the property.

McGregor said he thinks one reason the building has sat vacant for so long is because of the size and scope of the development its zoning allows, and the amount of an investment that would entail.Claassen called the property “a very important piece for the city.” He noted that it sits in an increasingly visible, high-traffic area in town, and is on the route to Sunlight Mountain Resort, which a Florida company is planning to further develop.The city also is hoping to build a roundabout near the property, at the intersection of 27th Street and Midland Avenue.”It will be interesting to see how those pieces all fit together,” McGregor said.Contact Dennis Webb: 384-9119dwebb@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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