Friday, March 14, 2008

Sheraton to Remodel / Ski Time Square News

Resort begins full-scale renovations near end of season
By Melinda Dudley - Steamoat Pilot & TODAY
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Steamboat Springs — The Sheraton Steamboat Resort will shut its doors two days early this ski season to begin full-scale renovations, kicking off an off-season of destruction and construction at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area.

In addition to the construction of 45 new vacation condominiums managed by Starwood Vacation Ownership, a division of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, the Sheraton Steamboat’s face-lift will include renovations of the resort’s common area and hotel rooms.

Sales of the two- and three-bedroom luxury “vacation villa” units began just more than two weeks ago, Starwood spokesman David Matheson said. The first phase, renovating the Sheraton Steamboat’s common areas and the existing rental condominiums in the Morningside Tower, is expected to be completed later this year, in time for new residents to take ownership before the 2008-09 ski season, Matheson said.

Two-bedroom units are about 1,617 square feet, and three-bedroom units range from 1,762 to 1,946 square feet, according to Starwood’s Web site. Director of Marketing Zach Berry declined to quote prices for ownership.

Prices vary considerably from mud season on the low end, to the “holiday week” between Christmas and New Year’s Day, which nets a significantly higher price, Berry said.

Ownership arrangements with Starwood differ from most fractional ownership arrangements, in that owners purchase specific weeks outright, Berry said.

The vacation villas will be divided between the Morningside Tower and the East Tower, with 21 and 24 units, respectively. The East Tower currently houses 80 hotel rooms. The 191 hotel rooms in the Sheraton Steamboat Resort’s West Tower also are headed for renovations after the condominiums are completed.

In May, Starwood purchased the hotel and the 18-hole Sheraton Steamboat Golf Course for a little less than $57 million. Starwood previously had a management contract to operate the resort under former owner Ski Time Square Enterprises, as well as an equity interest in the property.

The Sheraton Steamboat Resort will close down entirely during mud season to begin construction, Matheson said. The property is scheduled to close for the season April 4 — two days before closing day at Steamboat Ski Area. The Sheraton Steamboat Resort will partially reopen June 6 for the summer season.

Ski Time Square

The Atira Group’s proposed redevelopment of Ski Time Square and Thunderhead Lodge is expected to begin later this year, as well, with demolition beginning this summer, Atira Vice President of Development Mark Matthews said Thursday.

The Atira Group was hired on behalf of Washington, D.C.-based Cafritz Interests, which purchased the base area properties in April 2007. In anticipation of Ski Time Square’s demolition, tenants began departing the complex last year when Dos Amigos closed in September.

Plans for the redevelopment are not yet final, as The Atira Group refines them based on comments from the Steamboat Springs City Council and Planning Commission, as well as the project’s neighbors, Matthews said.

City officials in particular pushed for a realignment of Ski Time Square Drive in accordance with the Mountain Town Subarea Plan, which was not included in The Atira Group’s initial submittal to the city. The Mountain Town Subarea Plan calls for Ski Time Square Drive to be pushed north, with the road’s current footprint replaced by a pedestrian plaza.

Plans should be finalized later this month, Matthews said.