Friday, April 7, 2006

Purchase of Quigley Canyon Ranch in works

CG-Elkhorn has contract to buy 1,500-acre site east of Hailey


By JASON KAUFFMAN
Express Staff Writer

A local representative with Connecticut- and Chicago-based investment group CG-Elkhorn has confirmed the development company is in the process of purchasing the 1,500-acre Quigley Canyon Ranch property just east of Hailey.

Although he declined to comment on specifics of the pending sale, CG-Elkhorn partner David Hennessy, of Hailey, said the company is under contract to purchase the Quigley Canyon property from its present owners, Fred Judd, Clay Judd and Stoney Burke.

CG-Elkhorn is primarily known for its ongoing development of Elkhorn Springs, a three-phase, mixed-use residential and commercial project in Elkhorn Village. The company also redeveloped the Elkhorn Golf Club.

Hennessy declined to comment on when the purchase might be finalized.

Purchase of the Quigley Canyon Ranch property would mark just the latest installment in the years-long saga of the high-profile property and its proposed annexation into the city of Hailey.

Hailey Mayor Susan McBryant acknowledged Thursday that she met with CG-Elkhorn representatives in the past three months to discuss whether the city might wish to pursue an annexation of the property.

"I said, 'Yes, I think we do,'" McBryant said.

Annexation of the Quigley property has been a factor in Hailey's long-term planning efforts, she said.

"It makes sense," McBryant said. "It's only accessible through city streets."

She added: "We've certainly anticipated it (the eventual annexation of the property) and we've reflected that in our planning."

Many Hailey residents have also been anticipating that the site, which is used extensively by the public for cross-county skiing and other recreation, would be annexed into the city. The Judds and Burke filed an application with the city in February 2005 asking for the annexation of 715 acres of the property, Hailey Planning Director Kathy Grotto said. Under their proposal, 290 housing units were to be built on the portion of the property proposed for annexation, Grotto said. The majority of those units were proposed as single-family residences, she said.

The plan by the Quigley Ranch partners also included a proposal to donate 212 acres to the Blaine County Recreation District for construction of an 18-hole golf course that would be built and maintained by the Rec District.

Plans to develop the site ground to a halt in July 2005, however, after the Rec District determined it couldn't raise the $7 million necessary to build the public golf course.

So, for now, the biggest looming question regarding the Quigley property is almost certainly whether CG-Elkhorn, if it closes the deal, will propose a golf course as part of an annexation and development plan.

Voluntary proposals to annex land into a city are typically met with requests from city leaders that specific public benefits are provided in exchange for the benefits of annexation, particularly access to city services. Cities in Idaho have the full discretion to approve or deny proposed annexations.

Also unclear is whether the Blaine County Recreation District would have some hand in the creation and/or management of a potential golf course. Wally Morgus, the district's executive director, said he would likely comment on the matter when plans for the property become more clear.




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