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Inn’s future tied to fate of Sunlight resort development plans

Dennis WebbGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Inn owners Pierre and Gretchen DuBois took a particular interest in the recent public unveiling of plans for redeveloping Sunlight Mountain Resort.It became clear from planners’ drawings that their Sunlight Mountain Inn Bed & Breakfast would cease to exist.”There’s no question that the inn disappears,” Pierre DuBois said last week about where his business would, or more precisely wouldn’t, fit in with the resort’s plans.He and his wife hadn’t been certain about how the inn might fare in those plans, although DuBois certainly suspected it might not be a part of them.The couple owns a third of the property. The other two owners, Mike Bodnar and Leonard Lorentson, each own not only a third of the inn property, but about a third of the resort. The resort is under contract with Exquisite Development, a Florida company that hopes to building 750 housing units, put in new lifts and make other major upgrades to the resort.DuBois said his other property partners’ overriding interest in the ski area probably was the reason for including the inn in the sale.He said it would have been nice to have been informed from the start of the plans for the inn, but he understands how such dealings can work.”Sometimes when you’re in a business operation you do or you don’t get all the feedback that you want. That may be in our partnership more than from the new developer but (developers) certainly weren’t talking to a lot of people about what their plans were until they opened up at that meeting,” DuBois said.The inn’s long-term future may be in doubt, but its immediate future remains secure. DuBois said it will continue to operate at least through the end of the next ski season.After that, its fate depends on what happens to Exquisite Development’s proposal in the county planning review process. The sale is contingent on winning approval to redevelop the resort.The resort says redevelopment is necessary to pay for lift upgrades and other improvements to the mountain. DuBois said there is no question some improvements are needed to keep the resort going.His wife in particular had hoped the inn might be preserved for historical reasons, and had researched its history. It was built in 1968. Hank Williams, of the Williams electric shaver family, once had a majority ownership in the resort and also was involved with the inn. DuBois said Williams went to Austria to obtain furnishings for it, and brought back some Austrian ski instructors as well.The inn, with 20 guest rooms, also has a restaurant and bar, and an innkeepers’ residence. It has been used for weddings, graduations, family reunions and business conferences as well as for lodging skiers and other tourists.DuBois said the facility would have needed a significant investment to be upgraded had there been a decision to preserve it in concert with the resort’s future plans.Sunlight resort general manager Tom Jankovsky agreed, and said he didn’t think there had been talk about trying to preserve the inn. He said one of the challenges in redeveloping the resort is that there isn’t a lot of buildable land because Sunlight is located in a narrow, fairly steep valley.Jankovsky said Exquisite Development also has bought a meadow owned by Todd Leahy, and plans to buy and raze the home at the resort base owned by Peter Brigham, as well as an adjacent duplex owned by Brigham and other property of Lorentson’s. Brigham previously owned the inn, which Pierre and Gretchen DuBois bought 10 years ago.The only property at the resort bottom not planned for purchase and demolition at this point is the Brettelberg Inn, which has some 40 individual condominium owners, Jankovsky said. However, he said there have been preliminary discussions with the homeowners association about the possible sale of the condos.Contact Dennis Webb: 384-9119dwebb@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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