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Mountain News


Real estate and expansion key to Crested Butte sale

Compiled by Allen Best

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. — In buying the Crested Butte ski area, a key consideration for Tim and Diane Mueller is the potential to expand the ski area and sell real estate, like most of the other ski areas.

The purchase by the Muellers, who own Vermont’s Okemo ski area and who had one time had a deal to buy Steamboat, is expected to be consummated by around Christmas. In turn, they are expected to bring to the table the substantial money needed to more fully develop the resort.

Crested Butte locals were famously opposed to both ski area expansion and real estate development, but after several years of hard-rock times, opposition has softened. Some of the hard times were caused by drought, but Crested Butte’s relative isolation – it’s three or four hours from Denver and other metropolitan areas – has made it vulnerable at a time when all destination resorts are scraping. Even Aspen and Steamboat are close enough to Denver to battle for day-skiers.

Pat Crow, a long-time local, told The Denver Post that the depressed economy "made us realize we have to diversify, and we have to help the ski area. It’s not us against them."

Deal for 25-bed hospital in Summit County closed

FRISCO, Colo. — A Denver-based hospital chain, Centura Health, has agreed to open a 25-bed hospital in Summit County. The $51 million medical campus at Frisco is to open in a little more than two years.

Currently, there are two hospitals within a 30- to 45-minute drive of most communities in Summit County, but county and hospital officials agreed the population – now at 24,000 full-time residents, but several times as large at peak periods — would support a local hospital.

Crested Butte council defines locals in Paradise

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. — Who qualifies as a local in Paradise? That was the rather blissful question facing the Crested Butte Town Council recently.

Paradise, in this case, is a government-subsidized affordable housing project, with the name borrowed from an above-timber bowl in the adjoining Elk Range. The town council has decided applicants to this project must prove they earn 80 per cent of their income in Gunnison County, work at least 1,400 hours a year locally, and don’t own any land with residential housing on it in Gunnison County, reports the Crested Butte News.

Meanwhile, in Jackson, the town council plans to make employment the only criterion for eligibility for 18 new units of affordable housing. Eligibility based on income, as opposed to employment, eliminates some people who can’t afford free-market housing from getting subsidized housing, reported Bob McLaurin, the town administrator. He said he’s not worried that "trust-funders" will buy up the valley’s hard-won affordable housing.