Friday, March 13, 2009

SV Co. takes step toward River Run

Resort hires Colorado-based development firm to help with plans

Express Staff Writer

Wally Huffman

The state of the economy isn't making real estate development easy, but the Sun Valley resort has taken another step toward its goal of creating a village at the base of River Run.

Sun Valley Co. announced Tuesday that it has hired Avon, Colo.,-based East West Partners to review the resort's conceptual plans for its River Run property, as well as those for the White Clouds residential development on Trail Creek Road.

The press release states that the development company will advise Sun Valley Co. on the next phase of building and architecture for both properties. It is the first time Sun Valley has turned to East West Partners for such work.

Sibbach said East West Partners will immediately start developing ideas for the property, but that no timeline for actual development has been set.

To that end, East West Partners will be visiting the sites during the next few months to collect information.

In the past, Ketchum-based architecture firm Ruscitto/Latham/Blanton has been used to design projects, such as the resort's new music pavilion and clubhouse/Nordic center. Construction on those was done by Idaho Falls-based Intermountain Construction.

Sibbach said no decisions had been made on whether those two firms would be involved in the River Run development.

The resort chose East West Partners after touring the company's developments in Lake Tahoe, Calif., Denver, Colo., and Vail, Colo. The company has also developed projects in Deer Valley, Utah, Charleston, N.C., and Summit County, Colo., which is home to the Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain ski resorts.

In November, Sun Valley Co. held a public meeting with Ketchum city officials at which resort planning firm Design Workshop, frequently contracted by Sun Valley Co. to help with land-use planning, presented a master plan of the 160-acre River Run property.

In the preliminary plan, the property would be broken up into separate zones, largely along geographical contours, with one zone including a hotel at the base of River Run near the existing lodge and chairlifts. At that meeting, Sun Valley Co. General Manager Wally Huffman said he anticipates the hotel would house 150 to 170 rooms, and have minimal retail space in order to not compete with businesses in downtown Ketchum.

Other zones would include townhomes, multi-family condominiums, community housing, single-family lots, a community park and a large parking structure.

Sun Valley spokesman Jack Sibbach said Wednesday that the company hasn't decided if East West Partners would be in charge once the development was set to begin.

"At this point, they're consulting on what they think would work," Sibbach said. "They will bring conceptual plans to both Sun Valley and Ketchum in order to take the next step. (Huffman and Sun Valley Co. owner Earl Holding) liked the class of the company's other developments."

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