Aspen Skiing Co. races ahead with construction of Limelight Ketchum
Aspen Skiing Co. is on track to open its first hotel outside of the Roaring Fork Valley when the Limelight Hotel in debuts in Ketchum, Idaho, in early winter.
Jim Crown, Skico managing partner, and President and CEO Mike Kaplan are in Ketchum to celebrate a “topping off” party Friday to mark the placement of the final beam for the roof.
The hotel is modeled after the Limelight in Aspen, but will have its own identity. “We’re not trying to push Aspen,” according to Skico Public Relations Manager Tucker Vest Burton.
Changes were made in Ketchum based on Skico’s Aspen experiences. The bar, lounge and lobby are all larger in Ketchum based on the Aspen hotel’s success in luring crowds to its open bar and lounge throughout the year, Vest Burton said.
“The lobby gets really crowded in Aspen because it’s so popular,” she said.
The Ketchum hotel is about 48,000 square feet larger than its Aspen counterpart. Aspen has 126 rooms, including six suites. Ketchum has 99 hotel rooms and 14 condominiums for sale. Eight have already been sold, Vest Burton said.
The ground breaking for the hotel was almost exactly one year ago. Construction crews are racing to finish the exterior of the hotel so Rowland + Broughton can get started on the interior. The firm also oversaw the interior renovation in Aspen two years ago.
“The target date (for completion) is still December,” Vest Burton said. “Limelight Ketchum is taking reservations for arrival dates January 15 onward as of right now.”
If construction is completed as expected, earlier reservations will be taken, she said.
Skico bought the Limelight Hotel in Aspen in 2010 from the Paas and Woolery families. Skico acquired prime property near downtown Ketchum in December 2014, near the base of Sun Valley ski area’s Bald Mountain.
The property had approvals for 119 hotels rooms and 11 free-market sale units. Skico announced at the time of the purchase that it would try to tweak the approval.
Ironically, Skico was able to expand the Limelight brand quicker outside the valley than in Snowmass Village. It intends to build a Limelight in Base Village, but that entire project has been plagued by delays.
Don Schuster, Skico vice president of hospitality, told the Aspen Daily News in April that a spring 2017 construction start was possible.
Vest Burton said Skico’s focus is currently on getting the Ketchum hotel open and Snowmass on track. Company officials have said in previous interviews that they will explore various options for expanding the Limelight and Little Nell Hotel brands. Kaplan said in December 2014 that the company was looking at a “couple” of mountain destinations as well as “the right urban locations.”
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