major economic blow
signals the end
a move that could have long-standing ramifications for the economy of
Sun Valley and the surrounding area, the new owners of Elkhorn Resort
closed the site’s 132-unit hotel and convention center Sunday and
ended all guest services.
Express Staff Writer
doors of the hotel were secured Monday with a padlock and chain, and a
sign in the window read: "Elkhorn employees only. The hotel is
the owners of Elkhorn Resort ended all guest services and locked the
hotel doors Sunday, only a small number of employees and onlookers
visited the site Monday. The owners sometime in the next two months plan
to present to the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission a new
proposal to tear down the hotel and redevelop the site. Express photo
by Willy Cook
the hotel, only a handful of people—some employees of resort owner
CG-Elkhorn—moved about the tranquil core of Elkhorn Village.
senior associates of CG-Elkhorn have in recent months repeatedly said
they believed the resort could not succeed as a traditional hotel and
must be razed to make way for condominiums and townhouses, some local
business owners were lamenting the decision to close one of the Wood
River Valley’s largest hotels.
Bramer, owner of Sun Valley Outfitters, was forced to close his
sporting-gear rental and outfitting business adjacent to the Elkhorn
Resort Plaza on Sept. 8. He said he had to close his operation after he
learned that CG-Elkhorn planned to close the hotel—one of his primary
sources for clientele—and assume control of his leased space for
a sad, sad thing for the valley," Van Bramer said. "Elkhorn
Village used to be a lively place that hosted a lot of visitors and
events, and now this."
Bramer said business was down this summer because of the soft economy,
but noted that "the major effect came when (CG-Elkhorn) took it
over and shut down their sales and marketing offices."
closed the resort as part of a schedule introduced last spring to shut
down and raze the compound this fall to prepare the site for
construction of 56 fractional-ownership condominiums and 38 townhouses,
plus a restaurant and health-club facility.
initial phase of the demolition plan was denied in August by Sun Valley
Planning and Zoning commissioners, and city planners are now awaiting an
application from the developers that includes a detailed master plan of
the entire project.
Connery, communications manager for CG-Elkhorn, said last week that
senior partners of the group are working to draft a new plan for the
site to submit to Sun Valley’s community development director, Jack
are in the process right now of setting up ‘Plan B’," she said.
"It should be presented in about a month and a half."
is also in the process of transferring ownership of the Elkhorn golf
course to Sun Valley Co.
Busch, broker and partner for Sun Valley-Elkhorn Resort Realtors, said
his business will maintain its location in Elkhorn Village. He noted
that business has been swift in recent months, despite a confirmation
from CG-Elkhorn that the hotel has been maintaining an occupancy rate of
approximately 22 percent.
business has been strong. We’re enjoying a good summer," he said.
"But we are concerned about the future. It’s hard to get clients
to walk through an area that looks like a war zone (if the hotel is
demolished)… When the hotel’s up and running, we’re going to do
said he believed some prospective buyers for Elkhorn properties are
"waiting to see what happens," and that "concrete
direction" in the redevelopment plan would help many interested
parties make decisions.
closure of the hotel will not only have an impact on businesses in
Elkhorn, but also will have an almost immediate effect on tax revenues
for the city of Sun Valley. The city’s budget for the 2002-2003 fiscal
year revealed that income from the city’s local-option tax was down
this year, due in part to decreased occupancy at the resort. The
outright closure of the resort will ensure that LOT revenues from
Elkhorn businesses remain low until changes are made.
closure will also mean the loss of one of the city’s major convention
sites, at a time when convention facilities in the Sun Valley Inn are
closed for renovation.
Elkhorn Resort has struggled to succeed as a hotel—operating under
five owners in the past two decades—it did typically support dozens of
employees, from front-desk staffers and chefs to housekeepers and
all but a few employees charged with managing the closure of the resort
remained actively involved in operations at the site.
Bramer cleared the remaining inventory out of his outfitting store
Friday, he recalled times when an outdoor ice rink in the village
brought in scores of skaters in the winter and hosted numerous
entertainment events in the summer, including the popular Jazz on the
were really no events this summer," he said. "There were still
some people around, but to close down the hotel takes away too big a
piece of the pie for a business like mine."