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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of April 17 - 23, 2002


Elkhorn owners submit plan to create village

Resort would be razed for makeover to condos, townhouses

Express Staff Writer

A master plan to transform the Elkhorn Resort into a residential community calls for building seven five-story condominiums around the core of the resort.

Sun Valley city planner Jack Cloud said the master plan for the new Elkhorn Village was submitted April 8 in conjunction with a design review application for a parking lot by the resort owners, a partnership of the Chesapeake Hotel Group and Greenfield Partners.

According to their master plan, the seven 62-foot high, 10-unit condominiums would replace the current 132-room hotel, the River Rock Steak House and Treat Haus building, the Elkhorn Realty/Elkhorn Restaurant buildings, the Bell Tower, the Tequila Joe building and the golf shop.

All of these existing structures would be demolished this fall between Sept. 15 and Nov. 12 if the plan is approved by the city.

In addition to the seven condominium buildings around the core of the resort, 10 townhomes are planned to be built on the existing golf course parking lot on fairway 18, and 24 townhomes are planned to go up where the swimming pool and tennis court parking lot are now.

Demolition of the tennis courts also is planned to begin Oct. 15. Demolition of the swimming pool complex is planned to start Sept. 15, 2003.

According to the description of the master plan, an "amenity building" would be built as "an accommodation to the Sun Valley Elkhorn Association for the swap/contribution of the land where the current swimming pool and tennis courts are located."

The Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission will be hearing the first step in the owners’ plan to redevelop Elkhorn Resort—building a parking lot where the River Rock Steak House now stands—on Tuesday, April 23, at 9 a.m.

John Cullen, owner and president of the Chesapeake Hotel Group, told the Mountain Express in January that "Elkhorn really wants to be residential. This property doesn’t have the critical mass to be a resort."

He said the Elkhorn Hotel was originally built to draw people to the area so they would buy a residence.

"Now that the residential has been very successful, there is no need for a hotel."

He said he had no desire to compete with the Sun Valley Resort for conventions and hotel guests.

"They are the 800-pound gorilla. I have no desire to compete with them like the last string of owners here have tried to do," he said.

Cullen bought the resort, which includes the hotel and the golf course, on Dec. 11, 2001.

The Chesapeake Hotel Group is based in Annapolis, Md., with offices in North Olmsted, Ohio.

The Group is composed of owner-operated hotels across the United States, including the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, R.I., and the famous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo.

The Stanley Hotel is where the movie "The Shining" was filmed.

Greenfield Partners has corporate offices in South Norwalk, Conn., and Chicago.

Greg DeStefano, of Greenfield Partners, told the Express that the company invests in real estate ventures that it can generate high returns on investment.

As a hotel resort, Elkhorn has been afflicted with problems, almost from its opening in 1976.

It was built at a cost of $7.3 million by Elkhorn at Sun Valley, a joint venture of the Johns-Manville Co. and Dollar Mountain Co., a subsidiary of the Sun Valley Co.

Dollar Mountain Co. later sold to Elkhorn Associates Ltd.

Johns-Manville foreclosed against EAL for an alleged $9.3 million in debts in December 1981.

In July 1982, the renamed Manville Co. put the hotel, golf course, mall shops and undeveloped property up for sale.

In May 1983, an international partnership headed by Adam Adams, an Australian real estate developer, bought the resort for $5.6 million.

In the 1980s, the resort changed ownership no less than five times and another four times in the 1990s.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.