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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of September 4 - 10, 2002


Elkhorn owners scale back rec facilities

Land-swap offer to SVEA rescinded

"We decided it was easier for both parties to move the project along with Plan B."

GREG DeSTEFANO, Greenfield Partners, senior vice president of design and development

Express Staff Writer

The owners of Elkhorn Resort last week announced that an ambitious master plan to redevelop the resort and surrounding village will be scaled back and completely redrawn.

CG-Elkhorn, a partnership of the Chesapeake Hotel Group and Greenfield Partners LLC investment firm, on Aug. 26 officially withdrew its offer to the Sun Valley Elkhorn Association to relocate the existing SVEA-owned swimming pool and tennis courts and build a large-scale amenities facility for the use of all Elkhorn homeowners.

The proposed land-swap deal—which has been one of the principal contingencies of a larger CG-Elkhorn plan to build 56 fractional-ownership condominiums and 38 townhouses—was scheduled to be voted on by all SVEA members later this month.

However, in an Aug. 28 letter to Elkhorn homeowners, SVEA President Evie Sauers noted that the special vote has been canceled.

"At this time it is anticipated that CG-Elkhorn Hotel will be moving ahead with a master plan involving only their property," the letter said. "All properties (pool and tennis courts) owned by the SVEA membership will remain as they are."

Greg DeStefano, senior vice president of design and development for Greenfield Partners, confirmed Friday that CG-Elkhorn has shelved its original master plan, and is currently working to draft a new development plan for its Elkhorn property that does not include recreational facilities to be shared with SVEA members.

"We’re working on an alternative plan," he said, noting that he anticipates that the new design will be completed in the next "60 to 90 days."

DeStefano said the offer to the SVEA was retracted because "it became clear that there was some opposition to the land swap" and that the timing of the offer was problematic.

"We decided it was easier for both parties to move the project along with Plan B," he said.

The announcement coincided with a decision Aug. 27 by the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission to deny CG-Elkhorn permission to commence a five-phase demolition project to raze several parts of the village and the Elkhorn Hotel.

A local team of representatives for CG-Elkhorn had requested permission to start the first phase of demolition work Sept. 15, but P&Z commissioners unanimously denied the request and demanded that the developers submit a master plan for city approval before moving ahead with any changes to the site.

City Attorney Rand Peebles at the Aug. 27 Design Review hearing said all of the proposed demolition phases would likely require P&Z review, in effect reversing a previous determination by city planners that CG-Elkhorn could gain approval for some demolition work outside of the P&Z’s purview.

Jack Cloud, Community Development director for Sun Valley, confirmed Friday that city planning officials were adhering to Peebles’ determination that the city should not grant CG-Elkhorn any demolition permits without prior approval from the P&Z.

DeStefano three days after the determination by the city said he and his associates were perplexed by the P&Z’s demand to formally review the proposed master plan before allowing any work at the site, but said CG-Elkhorn would seek to cooperate with the city to advance the redevelopment project.

He said CG-Elkhorn representatives were researching what the protocol should be for their proposal, and had made no final determination as to whether they would appeal the Aug. 27 decision.

"We’re a little confused as to what they want," he said. "We’re trying to define the process."

He added: "We don’t have a huge issue with going through Design Review for a demolition process. The bigger issue is having the demolition plan contingent upon approval of a master plan, for which there is no defined process."

DeStefano noted that CG-Elkhorn had presented its original plan to the P&Z earlier this year—although the presentation was not attached to any formal application for approval by the city.

As for the new master plan, DeStefano said it would likely propose the same number of housing units, but with "scaled-back" recreational facilities, including a smaller swimming pool, private health club and no tennis courts.

DeStefano said the partnership remains committed to its plan to close the hotel on Sept. 30, and still foresees attracting ample investors to proceed with redeveloping the site.

"Our goal is to get [construction] started by next spring," he said.



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