ASC sees Steamboat Grand as a magnet

Opening day pushed back once again

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The upcoming opening of the Steamboat Grand could be inviting further development to the area.

"We believe the opening of the Grand will be a fantastic addition to the community, and a very attractive one. Obviously we'd be open to additional development by outside parties," said Dan Kashman, American Skiing Co's director of investor relations.

"If the Grand turns out to be as attractive as its sister hotel, The Grand Summit Resort Hotel at The Canyons in Utah, there could be a plethora of interested outside parties."

The Grand Summit Resort Hotel at The Canyons is part of ASC's five-year, $500 million plan to develop the bed base at the resort. Adjacent to the hub will be the site of a Westgate Resorts timeshare development. ASC and Westgate Resorts recently closed on a timeshare development at the site which will add 2,168 pillows to the Utah resort's slopeside base.

"Obviously ASC has plans for development at many resorts," Kashman said. "Right now, The Canyons is very underdeveloped. It's at a very different stage of evolution compared to Steamboat, which is an established resort with an established bed base."

Nevertheless, Kashman said that from ASC's perspective, owning the resort makes the company a benefactor to other developers.

"The number of additional developments and beds that the Grand may attract is hard to speculate," he added.

Steamboat Ski Corp. has its own hopes for what the Grand will bring to town in terms of development, and won't be left out of any development that might take place.

"We are expecting to continue to be a part of the vision adopted in the comp plan and the Mountain Town Sub-Area Plan," Ski Corp. Vice President of Real Estate Tim Greene said.

"We believe this is the first step in revitalization of the base area," he added.

Greene said that Steamboat is a much more mature resort than The Canyons, but that there is further development and redevelopment opportunities attached to the coming of the Grand.

"We hope that the Grand adds to the vitality of what is already an outstanding resort experience. Hopefully it will help to fully integrate the resort experience including Ski Time Square, the Gondola, Clock Tower, Village Center and Torian Plum."

According to Vice President and General Manager Terry Murphy, about 50 percent of the Grand's quarter shares have been sold.

"We're pleased with the pace of our sales and are on target with our projections," Greene said.

Greene would not comment on what those projections are.

The opening date was scheduled for the end of June, was bumped up to Labor Day and now is projected to be Oct. 2, said Mike Lane, ski corp.s public relations director.

"We're still working on a lot of trim work, the second, third and fourth floors, the pool, landscaping and the lobby," he said.

Additional hirings will be made in the middle of September, Lane said, to give staff plenty of prep and training time before the October opening.

The Grand ballroom will be open for a sneak preview on Aug. 12 for a Strings in the Mountains performance.

Although the rest of the Grand is not yet complete, staff committed to Strings for the Mercury Tour some months ago.

"A lot of people have been working really hard to get things ready for the weekend," Lane said.

To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail bnadzam@amigo.net

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