Agent says sale of resort should spark a lot of interest
The agent handling the sale of Sunlight Mountain Resort says he expects 50 to 60 inquiries about the property by the middle of next week.”What’s interesting is we’ve already had people call us,” Jerry Jones said.He said a few real estate agents already have heard the resort is for sale and inquired about it.Jones, a former ski industry executive now running a real estate business in Avon, said interest in Sunlight should be high in part because Colorado resorts so rarely go on the market. He said Powderhorn, near Grand Junction, is the only other resort in the state he knows of that is for sale.Jones believes Sunlight also should draw attention from potential buyers because of its proximity to Interstate 70 and the Eagle County Airport, which has direct service from major cities in the winter. Daily service to Glenwood Springs by Amtrak also is a plus, he said.Sunlight’s 400 acres of real estate and their potential for development into a base village play a big part in the resort’s asking price. Jones said the ski area itself is probably worth $9 million or $10 million.”The rest of it is real estate,” he said. “In order to pay that kind of a price, the development has to be a key part of the purchase.”Sunlight is sandwiched between two of the world’s most popular ski areas, Aspen and Vail, Jones noted.He said part of the plan for the resort is to develop the Sunlight Alpine Club, which as envisioned would have a great room, bar, continental breakfast, valet ski storage, lockers, health club and spa. It also could include privileges at one of the many golf courses in the region, under an alliance negotiated with one of those courses, he said.Sunlight’s master plan calls for 700 residential units at its base village.”That would be close to 3,000 guests at peak periods, so the club will become very important,” Jones said.Jones has served as president of Keystone and Beaver Creek resorts, and said he also ran Snowmass and was vice president of Sun Valley in Idaho. He said he would like to help whoever buys Sunlight develop the resort, but already is busy with his own development projects, including one in Granby. “I’ve got my hands full,” he said.He expects to have Sunlight under contract within a few months, with a due diligence period following that.Jones thinks it’s possible that major ski resort developers such as Intrawest and Vail Resorts, and Colorado powerhouse the Aspen Skiing Co., could be interested in Sunlight because of its real estate development opportunities and lack of real estate in Aspen and Vail.”To take this project to the next level is going to take a lot of money, and also there’s some catching up to do,” he said, referring to the need to refurbish facilities and add new lifts.Jones said he thinks it was a difficult decision by some of Sunlight’s shareholders to sell. Some may have hoped for a joint venture, but eventually the company realized a direct sale was best for all, he said.He also wonders the degree to which the Glenwood Springs community will embrace, or oppose, the changes planned for the resort. “It would continue as a very important family ski facility,” he said.
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