The Redstone Castle was purchased Wednesday evening by a Dallas firm which intends to renovate the estate and reopen it as a luxury hotel.
The Cumberland Fund, an investment group that specializes in renovating small hotels and shopping centers, purchased the castle for an undisclosed sum. Randy Edwards, Cumberland’s managing partner, said Alan Campey of AGC Management Inc., a specialist in running small upscale hotels, will oversee the restoration and operation of the castle.
Cumberland’s acquisition of the property is a joint venture with Colorado Summit Partners, a development firm based in Denver and Summit County. Edwards said Cumberland intends to remain the primary owner of the property.
The seller was Redstone Investment, Inc. Ken Johnson, Redstone Investment’s local representative, was out of town Thursday and not available for comment. Redstone Investment closed the castle to the public in July and was prepared to sell it at auction on Aug. 29.
Redstone Investment sold the estate to Morgan Rothchild SARL, a Canadian company doing business as Cleveholm Manor, for $2.7 million in 1997, but was forced to foreclose this year when payments were not made. Redstone Investment anticipated bids as high as $3.5 million in the upcoming auction.
Edwards said the partners hope to complete the renovations and have the castle open to the public by next summer, though he admitted there may be some holdups.
“We really hope that the approval process and the renovation can be done in nine to 12 months,” Edwards said. “We’d hope to be done by some time next summer.” The partners have been discussing the purchase and the economics of running the castle since March. “We think we have a viable plan,” he said.
The castle, which was built by coal tycoon John C. Osgood 100 years ago, will be available for private parties, Edwards said, as well as standard lodging, food and beverage, and events services. He said no decision has been made as to whether tours of the building will continue to be offered, but he said he believes they will. “I can’t imagine why we wouldn’t do that,” he said.
The furniture and other furnishings, most of which have been in the building since it was occupied by Osgood, were included in the sale.
The new owners plan some changes to the castle with the purpose of increasing the number of beds, to improve the profitability of the operation. He said new lodging space will incorporate the carriage house, which is on the grounds, and some rooms on the lower level of the building which previously were not suitable for lodging.
Edwards said he has no idea what a night’s lodging will cost in the castle, once it’s open. He said the cost would be based to some extent on the cost of renovation and other expenses. But he said it will be a high-quality hotel, not a bed and breakfast.
Edwards said the interior changes to the building will not require approval by Pitkin County, but the buyer will be having discussions with county officials to determine exactly what is allowed and what is not. The building is protected by historical preservation ordinances.
As for changes to the exterior, there will be none, Edwards said. “The castle will look exactly like it does now,” he said. However, he said the partners are discussing the possibility of adding two or more unattached “units” to provide additional beds.
Peter Martin, chairman of the Pitkin County Planning and Zoning Commission, said the Redstone master plan, written in 1989 and 1990, allows for “cottages” to be added on the castle’s grounds to make the operation more economically viable. These would have to be approved by the county commissioners.
Edwards said the renovations to the main building will include some energy efficiency improvements, primarily to cut utility bills. “The bottom line is to restore it to make it a viable business,” he said.
But another thing the partners responded to was the Redstone community’s affection for the castle.
“Part of the reason we jumped up and did what we did is a lot of people in the area didn’t want to see it go into private ownership,” Edwards said.
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