Eagle Resort Development Going Big Outside of Crested Butte

Good day readers,

Interesting news from the Great Northwest today. Eagle Resort, developer of the West Wall Lodge here in Crested Butte, is partnering on a big real estate project in the heart of the Yakima Valley in Washington State. The new Vineyards development calls for over 230 homes in a golf course community setting. The developers are targeting the Seattle area, hoping to lure tech and telco workers and retirees over the Cascade Mountains to the "dryer" side of Washington.

West Wall Lodge was the first big slope side development to hit Crested Butte after the 2004 acquisition of the ski resort by Tim and Diane Mueller.

Read the article below, borrowed from the Yakima Herald-Republic:

Channing Boucher
Visit Crested-Butte-Real-Estate.com

Vineyards development will take root

By DAVID LESTER
YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC


Plans for a $500 million resort — the first high-end golf course and housing development of its kind in the heart of Washington’s wine country — were announced Thursday.

"This is a top-quality, high-desert destination resort," said Gary Scott of Portal West Corp. of Ellensburg, part of a joint venture group behind the project. "Everything says this is a ‘yes’ for the Yakima Valley."

Developers said they plan to start construction early this summer of The Vineyards on 500 acres atop Rattlesnake Ridge about seven miles northwest of Zillah.

Plans include 230 single-family homes. Depending on location, some could be valued as high as $1.5 million. A condominium hotel and variety of smaller homes, rental units and shops also are proposed.

Residential lots will command prices ranging from $250,000 to $1 million.

It is a development that could be valued at $500 million by the time all of its features are completed in about eight years, they estimated.

Scott said The Vineyards is geared toward Seattle residents looking for a weekend retreat that offers golf, relaxation, wineries, fishing and snow skiing.

Backers, part of a joint venture called SBC Development LLC, said their market studies indicate a strong demand for the Tuscan village-themed resort capitalizing on the wine industry, sunshine and nearby recreational activities.

The Tuscan theme borrows from the architecture of Italy’s wine region, which features stone, wood, stucco and roofs of mission-tile.

Partners in SBC Development have a history of developing lodges and resorts in Colorado, Idaho and Mexico. In addition to individual homes, condominium hotel units are planned at The Vineyards. Designed as investment property, the units would be used by owners but also be available to guests for overnight stays in a traditional hotel setting.

Local development and tourism officials applauded the project as another sign of much-needed growth and jobs for the Yakima Valley.

Officials estimated upwards00 people would be employed during the early development stages as roads, utilities and the golf course are under development.

More than 300 jobs will be created for management and service positions throughout the resort complex.

Dave McFadden, president of the Yakima County Development Association, also known as New Vision, said The Vineyards comes at a time of substantial job creation, low unemployment rates, and ongoing efforts to attract new business and investment in the Yakima Valley.

"The Vineyards is so well-nested in the vision we are trying to enhance," he said.

Stan Martinkus, a representative of Washington Wine Country, a nonprofit organization promoting the wine industry, said The Vineyards will attract people who have money to spend and are interested in a quality experience.

"It is an attractive lifestyle to people who are affluent and powerful," he said.

Craig Schultz of Yakima, president of Craig Schultz Properties LLC, another partner in the venture, said the project seeks a higher-end segment of the population and will be a complement to the nearby Zillah Lakes project.

Plans for that 220-acre project west of downtown Zillah include 850 upscale homes and townhouses, plus a winery, brew pub, shopping center and RV park. Development would range over five years with homes planned in the $200,000 to $350,000 range.

The Vineyards will be the region’s second major master planned resort. The other, Suncadia outside Roslyn in Kittitas County, is larger, at about 6,000 acres and more than 3,000 homes, golf courses, condos and hotel rooms planned over a three-decade period. The resort opened in 2004.

Construction of The Vineyards will occur in phases, starting with the 7,500-yard golf course in June. Building interior roads, laying water and sewer lines, a water-treatment plant and other facilities is expected to take up to 24 months.

Located just a 20-minute drive from downtown Yakima, the project will emphasize pathways for pedestrian travel throughout the complex and also will have an amphitheater for residents.

Total design and construction cost is estimated at $70 million. The joint venture has obtained a $12.9 million loan from First National of America, a New Jersey-based company that specializes in financing golf courses.

Breaking ground on the project ends a process that began 10 years ago when Terry Logan, whose family owned the property at the time, sought county approval for a master planned resort on 375 acres of idle agricultural land.

The county approved the development in 2002 on 360 acres.

Additional water rights were obtained and the project expanded to 500 acres in 2005 when the current developers bought 120 acres of land from Holtzinger Fruit Co. for $400,000.

The additional acreage allowed the golf course to be expanded to a championship-caliber distance.

Dan Fitchett, another partner in Eagle Resort Development, said the resort will be marketed initially in the Seattle metropolitan area and expanded from there.

* David Lester can be reached at 577-7674 or dlester@yakimaherald.com.

About The Vineyards

What

The Vineyards, a high-end Tuscan village-themed resort built in the heart of Washington wine country. Among the planned features:

* A 7,561-yard, 18-hole golf course designed by Hurdzan/Fry Architects of Columbus, Ohio. Its principal Michael Hurdzen just received an award from the American Society of Golf Course Architects for his contributions to the industry. The new course will be available to the public.

* A total of 582 housing units, including 230 private residences, a 100-room condominium hotel, and a combination of patio homes, town homes and villas

* An open-air amphitheater

* Family recreation center with pool, spa, and fitness center

* Retail shops

Where

* On 500 acres on Nightingale Road, east of Konnowac Pass Road, six miles southeast of Moxee and seven miles northwest of Zillah.

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