Vista Auto Group to sell properties in Glenwood Springs | AspenTimes.com

Vista Auto Group to sell properties in Glenwood Springs

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

Kelley Cox/Post IndependentThe empty lots where Vista Auto Group had plans to build three dealerships are now up for sale in West Glenwood Springs.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” A weak economy and requirements from both the city and auto manufacturers have led Vista Auto Group to abandon plans to build three auto dealerships where two hotels were in West Glenwood Springs, the company’s president said.

Vista demolished the 1st Choice Inn and the Budget Host motel earlier this year to make way for plans to build Nissan, Honda and Subaru dealerships on the property.

Instead, Vista plans to move Nissan into its used car property next to the former hotel site. Honda and Subaru will move into the current Chevrolet. Chevrolet will move into the Dodge dealership on Storm King Road, which has closed and is being purchased from Jeff Carlson, said Vista Auto Group president Rod Buscher.

“We are not going to build the dealerships (where the two hotels were) due to the economic climate and the requirements to complete construction,” Buscher said.

Buscher said the weak economy means the better option is the less expensive plan to move the dealerships instead of constructing new ones.

The move is expected to be complete by early March. Buscher said he doesn’t expect financial loss on the property sale. The 3.85-acre former 1st Choice Inns property was purchased for $4.9 million in November 2007 and the 2.11-acre Budget Host property was purchased for $1.3 million in July 2007.

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Bill Bullock, of Bullock and Hinkey Real Estate, said the 1st Choice Inns property went up for sale at $7.9 million and the Budget Host property went up for sale at $4.4 million about two weeks ago.

“It’s had a lot of interest,” Bullock said. “It’s hard to find a large piece of commercial ground in Glenwood Springs. This is one of the largest pieces ” that’s why it’s attractive.”

Plus, the aging budget hotels are already demolished and the property has been cleaned up. But Vista Auto Group has spent a “very significant” amount of money demolishing the hotels, doing environmental work and grading, and designing the dealership plans that won’t pan out, Buscher said.

“We’re very happy with where we’re headed and we think it’s a good solution,” he said.

The existing Honda, Subaru and Nissan dealerships in the southern part of Glenwood Springs along Highway 82 have been sold to Wayne Rudd, Buscher said. Those dealerships are separate properties. Rudd couldn’t be immediately reached.

The city, which has watched sales tax and lodging tax revenues slow down this year, lost around 142 rooms between the two hotels. But the demolition opens the door for something better to go up. Vista donated an undisclosed amount to Catholic Charities to benefit people displaced from the rooms.

The number of short-term lodging units in Glenwood has remained roughly constant at around 1,500 rooms, said Kate Collins, the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association’s vice president of tourism and marketing. The Glenwood Suites recently added around 90 rooms and more rooms are on the way like those planned for development in the Roaring Fork Lodge where the Sunlight Racquet Club used to be.

pfowler@postindependent.com

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