Roaring Fork Lodge amended plan receives council approval |

Roaring Fork Lodge amended plan receives council approval

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – City Council, minus mayor Bruce Christensen, unanimously approved an amended major development permit on the proposed Roaring Fork Lodge Thursday.

The lodge had previously received approval for a building permit in 2007. However, rising construction costs at the time caused developers to completely rework the project, according to Terry Claassen, Roaring Fork Lodge LLC manager.

Claassen told council, “It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years. It’s been a long two years, but we feel that we’ve come back with something better than we did before.”

Roaring Fork Lodge LLC teamed up with Magnolia Hotels, a Denver-based hotel development and management company, to oversee the design and construction of the property, while Neenan Construction will do the work.

Magnolia Hotels operates four high-end hotels in Denver, Dallas, Houston and Omaha, Neb.

The lodge, planned for the former site of the Sunlight Racquet Club near Midland Avenue and 27th Street, is one of the largest developments ever planned in Glenwood Springs. Changes in plans include an increase in hotel rooms from 68 to 106, a reduction of size of indoor public meeting space from 9,000 to 4,500 square feet, and an expansion of the riverside deck to 4,500 square feet.

The lodge will still be a five-story, 150,000-square-foot building and will also include 40 luxury condominiums, an upscale restaurant, heated underground parking and an “eco-friendly” spa and fitness center.

Developers initially hoped that the facility would be compete in fall 2008. However, Claassen told City Council that higher than expected construction costs halted the project.

“We were absolutely stunned by the numbers that came back on the bids,” Claassen said.

In January 2009, Claassen told the Post Independent that he hoped the facility would open in spring 2010, but Claassen said Thursday that that date was not achievable.

“We will not make spring 2010,” he said. “But we hope to be under construction by the end of the year.”

Approval of the variances will at least get the ball rolling on the project again. However, Alpine Bank, which holds two bank notes for nearly $3.3 million for purchase of the lodge property and another property on Hagar Lane that is planned to be included in the project to fill the affordable housing requirements, recently filed foreclosure papers against Roaring Fork Lodge LLC on the properties.

According to the court records, Alpine Bank claims that Roaring Fork Lodge LLC has defaulted on the loans.

Claassen said that Roaring Fork Lodge is working on paying off the loans and that Roaring Fork Lodge LLC will not let the foreclosure go through.

Developers also agreed to include the construction of the Midland Avenue and 27th Street roundabout into the project. The city of Glenwood Springs is footing the bill along with funds from Garfield County.

Work on the roundabout is scheduled to begin by next week and is scheduled for completion this fall.

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