Friday, August 5, 2011

Knob Hill Inn investor group named

Boutique hotel to be managed by Columbia Hospitality


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

The Knob Hill Inn, built in 1992, was designed with European Alpine architecture in mind. The property recently was sold at auction to an investment group.

Ketchum's Knob Hill Inn was acquired by a group of investors with connections to the Wood River Valley, including Fred Crosetto, CEO of Ammex Corp. in Kent, Wash.; Dwayne Clark, chairman and CEO of Aegis Living of Redmond, Wash.; Robert Cimino, CEO of Plaza Provision Co. in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and John Oppenheimer, founder and CEO of Columbia Hospitality in Seattle, Wash.

The property, which had been on the market for several years, was sold at auction July 26.

"Having grown up in Boise, Idaho, the Wood River Valley has always meant a great deal to myself and my family," Oppenheimer said in a news release. "It's a pleasure to partner with three individuals who share a commitment to service as part of their core businesses and collectively we look forward to elevating the standard of luxury service at the inn."

Columbia Hospitality, a hospitality management and consulting firm specializing in luxury hotel and resort management, will manage and operate the hotel.

Other properties managed by Columbia Hospitality include Salish Lodge & Spa in Snoqualmie, Wash., Friday Harbor House and Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes on San Juan Island, Wash., and the Rainbow Ranch Lodge in Big Sky, Mont.

Another investor, Robert Cimino, has a long history in the area.

"My father's first visit to Warm Springs was in 1952 and he built our family home in 1957," Cimino said. "My family moved here in 1975 and I have been coming here my whole life."

"The Knob Hill Inn is such a beautiful spot," he added.

Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall said the investment group will be good for the hotel and good for the community.

"The purchase of the Knob Hill Inn by investors with strong ties to Ketchum is an ideal transition for this iconic property," Hall said in the release. "The community is ecstatic that this much-loved inn will be enhanced and cared for by a team of dedicated owners and hospitality professionals."

The hotel had originally been listed for $17 million. The price later was reduced to $8 million. The minimum bid at the auction was $3.1 million. The winning bid amount will not be released until the sale closes, likely in late August, according to Rubenstein Public Relations, a firm working with New York City-based Concierge Auctions, which ran the auction.

Janine Bear of Sun Valley Sotheby's International Realty represented the investment group.

"The Wood River Valley is fortunate to have a group personally committed to our area," she said. "Their excitement and enthusiasm for the future of Knob Hill has a rippling effect felt throughout the entire community. I'm thrilled to play a part with such an amazing group of people."

The 26-room hotel, built in 1992, sits on 1.2 acres at the northern end of Ketchum. The inn had been owned and operated by the Ketchum's late Joe Koenig and his family.

Clark said his group will expand on the tradition established by the Koenigs.

"My family and I have enjoyed our home in Ketchum and are proud to be a part of rejuvenating the Knob Hill Inn," he said. "We look forward to building on the legacy from Joe and Sandy Koenig."

Rebecca Meany: rmeany@mtexpress.com




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