Hyatt hopes to be halfway | AspenTimes.com

Hyatt hopes to be halfway

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

By the time the Hyatt Grand Aspen opens its doors for Christmas 2005 (if all goes according to plan), the vacation club hopes to have half of the nearly 1,000 shares in the hotel sold.

That may be a conservative projection, according to Larry Shulman, vice president of Hyatt Vacation Ownership, who was in town early this week.

The Hyatt Mountain Lodge in Beaver Creek began sales when it began construction, much like the Aspen project now under way on Dean Street, and was completely sold out at about the time it opened three years ago, Shulman said.

Construction began late last year on the Hyatt Grand Aspen, a 51-unit, timeshare hotel with 969 increments available for sale. Early reservations have met or exceeded the Hyatt’s expectations, according to Shulman, though he declined to divulge specifics.

Actual sales ” putting shares under contract ” will begin after the registration process with the state Division of Real Estate is complete in late February or early March, he said.

Activity at the hotel site is still taking place inside a big hole in the ground. Once a building emerges this spring, Shulman anticipates a boost in interest from potential buyers.

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“As the building starts to come out of the ground, we would expect to see a spike in the inquiries about the project,” he said.

Also this spring, the Hyatt will register with other key markets ” Texas, Michigan, Florida, Illinois, Georgia, New York and California ” so it can begin marketing the Aspen hotel to buyers there.

“We would hope to be under contract with close to half of the project during its construction,” Shulman said.

By this summer, prospective buyers should be able to look at a model unit to be constructed in the lower level at the Hyatt’s sales office at the corner of Mill and Hopkins. The company is seeking permits to construct what amounts to a replica of a one-bedroom suite at its sales office.

It will contain a full master bedroom and bathroom, living room, kitchen and dining area outfitted with all the finishes, furnishings and fixtures buyers will see at the Hyatt Grand Aspen, according to Shulman.

“It will be an actual, life-size, typical unit that people can walk through and really understand … something where people can sit on the sofa and lie on the bed,” he said.

A large-scale model of the hotel is coming to the sales office, as well.

The new hotel, being built at the site of the former Grand Aspen Hotel, is the third Hyatt Vacation Club that won’t have a traditional Hyatt hotel in the vicinity. Similar projects in Breckenridge and Sedona, Ariz., have fared well without that component, Shulman said.

Buyers at the Hyatt Grand Aspen will have 17 days to spend at the hotel, including a fixed week in a particular unit and 10 days that can vary from year to year.

Prices per share will range from less than $85,000 to $145,000 for one-bedroom units to just under $200,000 for the two-bedrooms; and $170,000 to $270,000 for the three-bedrooms. Christmas/New Year’s packages sell for more.

The Aspen hotel is the 12th Hyatt Vacation Club.

The project in Sedona will contain 109 units, 75 of which are finished.

“Sales have been outrageously great,” Shulman said. “That one, at this point, is exceeding our expectations significantly.”

The Hyatt Main Street Station, a 50-unit timeshare hotel in Breckenridge, opened at Thanksgiving 2002 and is about 70 percent sold, Shulman said.

The first phase of Hyatt Wild Oaks Ranch in the hill country of San Antonio, Texas, will open this summer. Sales have not yet commenced.

Hyatt Vacation Club also operates four timeshare hotels in Florida; one in Carmel, Calif.; one on the north shore of Lake Tahoe; and one in Dorado, Puerto Rico.

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com]

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