local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 public meetings

 previous edition

 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info
 classifieds info
 internet info
 sun valley central
 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs
Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

Wednesday, March 31, 2004


Holding offers
Arizona land for sell

Tract zoned for large resort
may go for $80 million

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Co. owner Earl Holding apparently has decided to sell a large, premium tract of vacant suburban Phoenix land zoned for a major resort and golf course and use the sale proceeds elsewhere.

The estimated 100 acres could fetch $80 million or more, according to Mayor Edward Lowry Jr., of the Town of Paradise Valley, on which about 80 acres of the land is situated. Another 20 acres is in the adjoining city of Scottsdale.

Holding paid a total of $5.2 million for the land when he bought it in two parcels in 1973 and 1995, according to The Arizona Republic newspaper.

The Republic quoted Peter Johnson, president of Holding’s Sinclair Oil Corp., which owns the land, as saying if it were sold the money would be used elsewhere.

A spokesman for the Salt Lake City-based Sinclair Oil confirmed for the Idaho Mountain Express the property is available, but declined to say whether sale proceeds would be used in Sun Valley, where Holding’s resort will unveil a master plan April 6 that could include costly new hotel facilities. (See related story)

"Mr. Holding has always invested in Sun Valley," the spokesperson said.

Sun Valley Resort has been undergoing major renovations and additions that one spokesman for the company said might exceed what Holding originally paid for the resort.

Covered with greasewood shrubs and cactus and other desert growth, the Paradise Valley property is about the last undeveloped piece of land in the suburban town of 14,000, and may be the most expensive property on the market.

Mayor Lowry said acreage prices have been "crazy" as a result of unavailable land. He said buyers have been purchasing older homes for $500,000 , and up, razing them and building multi-million dollars homes.

Paradise Valley zoning laws require homes to be built on at least one acre.

He said the Holding property probably is worth at least $800,000 per acre, maybe $1 million per acre.

Paradise Valley zoning would allow a 500-room hotel and a golf course plus some condos. The acreage in the city of Scottsdale facing on busy Scottsdale Road is zoned for offices and retail.

The mayor said he had heard several groups had contacted Holding about the property, but could not name them.

Lowry said that a group of investors recently bought LaPosada, a far smaller combination retail-resort complex, about a mile from the Holding property for $30 million and will spend another $30 million on renovations.

Paradise Valley is a bedroom community on the north side of Phoenix’s landmark Camelback Mountain, abutting the cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale some 15 miles from downtown Phoenix and within walking distance of downtown Scottsdale’s Fashion Square complex.

Over the years, it has become home to well known public figures. Among them are Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, former Vice President Dan Quayle, former TV celebrity Hugh Downs, singers Alice Cooper and Stevie Nix, Family Circus cartoonist Bil Keane, space artist Robert T. McCall, Intel chairman Craig Barrett, Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson, the late humorist Erma Bombeck and the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, whose all-stone home sat on a hilltop in the town with a 360-degree view.

Goldwater, who died in 1998 at 89 years old, amused guests with the tale of advice his father gave him about Paradise Valley in the early 1900s--advice he says he wished he hadn’t ignored.

His father, Goldwater said, told him as a youth when living in downtown Phoenix that anyone who’d pay the going price of 50 cents an acre for land in then-deserted, desert-dry and relatively remote Paradise Valley was "nuts."

"I should’ve been so crazy," Goldwater would say.

The Goldwater home he built on 3.9 acres in 1957 in the shape of an arrowhead sold after his death for $4.1 million, or just over $1 million per acre.


City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

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.