Jerome buyers: No fractional units
The family negotiating to buy the Hotel Jerome has vowed to buck the trend that is sweeping the Aspen real estate industry.The Gaylord family isn’t saying much about their plan, but they have made it clear through a spokeswoman that the Hotel Jerome will remain a traditional type of hotel.”It will not be fractional ownership,” said Allison Scott, director of communication and public relations at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.The Gaylords own the Broadmoor through a firm they control called the Oklahoma Publishing Co. They have a letter of intent to buy the Hotel Jerome from Jim McManus. The current owner said he expects the deal to close in June.Oklahoma Publishing will release a formal statement about the deal Monday, according to Scott.McManus said he was approached by a representative of the Gaylord family trust about selling the hotel earlier this year. After meeting with them and learning about their vision, he decided to sell. One important factor was their pledge not to condominiumize the hotel and sell some or all of the 91 rooms, McManus said.”I’m totally opposed to fractional ownership,” he said. “Aspen needs good hotel rooms.”But the pending sale of the Jerome, which has been an Aspen fixture since 1889, has sparked concern that it will go the route of many longtime lodging properties such as the Sardy House. It has converted lodge rooms to fractional ownership sales units. Several new properties, like the Ritz-Carlton Club at Aspen Highlands are also fractional ownership properties that operate similar to a hotel.Scott, who knows Aspen well after working here in a variety of public relations jobs earlier in her career, said she has fielded several inquiries about how the hotel will be operated in the future. The Gaylords confirmed through Broadmoor President and CEO Steve Bartolin that the Jerome would remain a traditional hotel, Scott said.McManus said the Jerome is successful now and will be even more successful with owners that can invest even more money into the facility. He said 2000 was the best year the hotel has ever had during his 20 years of ownership.The following year was also shaping up well until Sept. 11. “2002-03 were really pretty lousy years,” McManus said.But the hotel bounced back to enjoy “a very good year” in 2004 and this year is going well, the owner said.At age 71, McManus said he had to consider the future. He said none of his seven kids wanted to inherit the facility and his wife, Betty, didn’t want to run it, so he entertained the Gaylords’ offer.Their record as owners of the historic Broadmoor assured him they were the right buyers. Oklahoma Publishing completed a $110 million renovation and restoration on part of the Broadmoor in 2000. It undertook an additional $175 million of renovations to its hotel and facilities in 2001-02.They bought that historic Colorado institution in 1986. It has been a Mobil five-star property, signifying the highest quality, for 47 years, including all 19 years under the Gaylords’ ownership. The Broadmoor has also held the AAA five-diamond for 29 years.The Gaylords pledged to spend $10 million on renovations at the Hotel Jerome, according to McManus. That’s in addition to a $4.5 million renovation he’s currently undertaking.That investment, he said, will take the Hotel Jerome to five-star quality.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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