Gypsum golf resort plan moves ahead |

Gypsum golf resort plan moves ahead

Katie Drucker
Eagle correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Contributed imageSaddle Ridge, a 244-acre project proposed for Gypsum, Colo. would include 309,000 square feet of commercial space. But Town Manager Jeff Shroll said, given the current economic environment, that aspect of the project won't happen for a "very, very long time."

GYPSUM, Colo. ” After hovering for six years on the edge of the town’s radar, the proposed Saddle Ridge development earned approval from the Gypsum Town Council last week.

Saddle Ridge is one of the biggest development ever proposed for the community. It is a golf resort and timeshare second-home community that would be located on the eastern edge of Gypsum, directly south of Eagle County Regional Airport.

The site was the center of largescale dirt removal for a runway extension project at the airport over the past two years.

Town Manager Jeff Shroll said the primary reason for approval was so a golf course could take the place of the dust, dirt and weeds currently in that area.

“To turn it into better landscaping was the primary reason why it was approved,” said Shroll.

This 244-acre development plan calls for 113 cabins, 109 condominiums, 309,000 square feet of commercial space, an 18-hole golf course, a 38,000-square-foot clubhouse, more than 20 acres of lakes, 30 bed and breakfast lodge units and an 100-room hotel, which developers hope will have a high-end hotel name.

Although the Gypsum Town Council approved the Saddle Ridge preliminary plan, and the developer ” 2001 Properties ” plans on breaking ground in the spring of 2009, the financing for the development is not concrete and security “a bond or letter of credit ” has not yet been given to the town.

“We have our doubts whether the financing is available for this big project,” said Shroll.

However, Tom Buzbee, Saddle Ridge project manager, says financing arrangements should be complete in the next few months.

“The details are currently being finalized,” says Buzbee. “We are cautiously optimistic. Completing the financing is our number one focus right now.”

The land is attractive for Saddle Ridge because of its proximity to the airport, Vail, Aspen and “the great outdoors of Colorado,” Buzbee said.

Several Gypsum Town Council members declined comment for various reasons. However, council member Tim McMichael said he thinks Saddle Ridge is a positive for the town.

“It bodes well for the town, I believe,” said McMichael, citing the first hotel in Gypsum and additional revenue as positives for the town.

“We will see if it (Saddle Ridge) really comes to fruition,” said McMichael.

Shroll agrees that Saddle Ridge could bring a financial boon to Gypsum.

“If they can find the financing for it and if they can get it off the ground, it will be a financial windfall for the town,” Shroll said.

But in light of the current economy, the commercial part of the project won’t happen for a “very, very long time,” he said.

Shroll added that the golf course, which would be open to the public and would cost the same for the public as Eagle Ranch Golf Course, would benefit town residents.

Lana Gallegos, Gypsum town planner, said Saddle Ridge would be obligated to provide road improvements on Cooley Mesa Road and help improve the town’s water and sewer systems. Gallegos said that because most of the homes are timeshare vacation homes, area schools wouldn’t see a big new burden. Gallegos said there would be more traffic.

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