Strings close to land purchase

Letter of intent signed to purchase 'Golden Triangle' property

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— Strings in the Mountains is poised to acquire six acres of land that could serve as the basis for its new home as early as the summer of 2003.

Strings has signed a letter of intent to purchase the "Golden Triangle" property near the ski area's Meadows Parking Lot across from Trendwest Resorts Inc.

The parcel is located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Mount Werner and Pine Grove roads.

"This organization has actively been looking for a new location for the past five years," Strings President and CEO Kay Clagett said Monday. "We are very excited about this parcel of land."

Since 1992, Strings has conducted its music festival out of a rigid tent on land provided by the Torian Plum Homeowners Association. The 500-seat tent was given to Strings by the city of Steamboat Springs.

Clagett said Strings would like to move its tent to the new location and hold performances there in 2003. But the land purchase would also provide the impetus to raise funds for a more permanent concert facility.

It is the intention of the Strings board of directors to eventually build a 500-seat permanent facility on the new site. Clagett anticipates funds for that facility would come primarily from private contributions.

Trendwest Resorts is in the timeshare business and the decision to sell the six acres to Strings carries with it the implication that the company will not move on existing approvals for more condominiums.

Trendwest purchased 30 of 40 condos in the existing Sun Terra/Signature project, along with the undeveloped six acres of land, on Dec. 1, 2000. Sun Terra had purchased the project from Vacation International in late 1997 in a deal that included the original 24-unit building in the Village at Steamboat and its amenity building. Subsequently, Sun Terra/Signature completed 40 new condominiums in 1999.

Trendwest, a publicly traded company based in Redmond, Wash., purchased 30 of those 40 new condos. At the time, the company said it had no immediate plans to develop the balance of the property.

Trendwest is associated with the WorldMark timeshare network, and the acquisition of the condos in Steam-

boat broadened the potential destinations for WorldMark's 102,000 owners.

Trendwest President and CEO Bill Peare indicated his company plans to remain active here and values the opportunity to have a music festival next door to its resort.

"Strings has a great program and we look forward to having this festival as our future neighbor," Peare said. His company is making a gift to Strings of 1.2 acres of dedicated open space immediately adjacent to the development parcel.

The sale is contingent upon Trendwest and Strings gaining the necessary city permits for development of the site.

Strings has submitted documents to begin the city planning process.

The music festival had its beginnings in 1988 at the former site of the Steamboat Athletic Club. Since then, the festival has gained national attention for about 80 annual performances, including Strings' core of chamber music as well as jazz, folk and world music. Classical performers have included winners of major competitions such as the Tchaikovsky, Van Cliburn and Naumburg.

Most of the performances take place from June through August, and almost 30,000 people attend each year.

Strings won first place in the El Pomar Award for Excellence in 1995 and was one of three finalists this year.

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