Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Developers: Debt on hotel site will be paid

Bald Mountain Lodge plans still moving forward, they say


By ERIC AVISSAR
Express Staff Writer

While years of economic turmoil have delayed construction of the proposed Bald Mountain Lodge, project CEO Michael Kerby on Monday told the Ketchum City Council that he plans to have all debt on the property paid off this year.
“As of Dec. 1, we will have paid off all debt on the property, which puts us in a great situation with any partner or scenario we are comfortable with,” Kerby said.
Kerby said he wanted to provide an update on the project to dispel the perception that he was “throwing in the towel” on construction because the property was put up for sale. He said the property was put up for sale to generate national attention for the project because his company is not ready to proceed on its own.
Plans for the Bald Mountain Lodge call for an 87-room luxury hotel on Main Street in Ketchum, on the block between First and River Streets.
“We have three options,” Kerby said on generating funds. “Those included developing the property on our own, finding a partner and developing the property, or marketing the property for sale.”
He said 21 different interested parties have signed confidentiality agreements in regards to discussing purchase of the property. Kerby said joint investment in the property is a strong possibility because very few of the interested parties are considering purchasing it outright.
Bald Mountain LLC general partner Steve Burnstead said he is very enthusiastic about the project’s potential going forward.
“Commonality has been the key for us progressing with our discussions,” Burnstead said. “It’s important for the council to recognize what’s occurred and what we think will occur in the next year or beyond. It’s only been in the last three to six months we’ve seen unfreezing of the iceberg with development in metropolitan areas, which is a starting point.”


We want an iconic building to go with the history of that site.”
Steve Burnstead
Principal
Bald Mountain LLC




Burnstead also said he is optimistic because he finally sees banks having extra money and talking about lending for larger-scale projects such as hotel developments. He also praised the Ketchum City Council for setting up more public events during the shoulder seasons.
“We love what the city is doing during the shoulder seasons,” Burnstead said. “The more you do during the shoulder seasons, the more you can do to attract businesses and hotels.”
Additionally, Burnstead said he is confident of how to market the hotel because he knows what air service will look like going forward. He concluded his remarks exuding optimism, while still urging patience.
“Bald Mountain is a historic site and iconic location,” Burnstead said. “We are excited and still think it’s the best site. People are attracted to that location and that block.
“We want an iconic building to go with the history of that site. I hope you keep all hotel projects as teed up best you can, making it attractive to outside investment groups to get involved and be patient.”
Eric Avissar: eavissar@mtexpress.com




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