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Mountain News: Jackson’s real estate boom is over

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Hotel OKed, now needs financing

KETCHUM, Idaho – After talking about getting a new high-end hotel for most of this century, Ketchum has finally authorized one. The 73-room, four-star hotel is the sort of thing that analysts have said that Ketchum, North America’s first destination ski resort, needs to put some zip back into its tourism economy.

The question now is whether the nation’s financial turmoil will derail this plan. Hotel developer Jack Bariteau told city officials that financing will be difficult in the wake of the meltdown of Wall Street investment banks.

The conventional debt markets for this type of project don’t exist anymore,” Bariteau said. “The doors are closed. We’ll have to go to the private equity route, which will likely take more than a year.”

The Idaho Mountain Express explains that the hotel, called Ketchum Hotel, will be located in downtown Ketchum, a few hundred yards from the base of Bald Mountain, the key venue of the Sun Valley ski area.

For several years various proposals have foundered on the issue of size and economics. Developers said they needed larger and taller buildings than were previously allowed, and they also needed the ability to sell units within the structures. At length, the community relented.

Bariteau’s partner is Paolo Patrone, owner of Piazza Hotels, which runs the Hotel Healdsburg in California’s Sonoma Valley.

 

Contractors shift to remodeling

TRUCKEE, Calif. –- The real estate market has slowed in the Truckee and Lake Tahoe area. There’s more remodeling work and less new construction, says Mark Tanner, a building contractor. “Last year it was like 90 per cent new and 10 per cent remodel,” he told the Sierra Sun. “This year it’s more like 50-50.”

 

Curbing the carbon diet

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – Across America, the transition to a new prism for looking at energy continues town by town, meeting by meeting. In Crested Butte recently, 150 people gathered, meeting to examine how to modify business as usual.

The community — Crested Butte, plus two other towns and Gunnison County — has been working on how it can rein in energy use. All three towns and the county government have signed pledges to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases roughly in line with the targets established by the Kyoto Protocol.