Sunlight ski resort withdraws development application

John Colson
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Sunlight Mountain Resort has concluded that the best way to cope with these uncertain times is to withdraw an application to build 830 housing units and 110,000 square feet of commercial space at the Glenwood Springs-area resort.

“Sunlight’s decision to withdraw the PUD application will allow them more time to pursue a development partner and to gauge the economic climate,” declared a statement from the resort’s general manager, Tom Jankovsky.

The redevelopment proposal had been scheduled to go to the Garfield County commissioners in January, but the hearing was delayed at the applicant’s request after the county planning and zoning commissioner recommended it be denied, reportedly due to concerns that the project was too big.

The application was formally withdrawn in mid-April.

Jankovsky, reached on Thursday, said of the decision to pull the application, “We just felt it wasn’t in our best interests to move forward.”

And, he said, “Definitely, money is part of it.”

Sunlight’s owners, Sunlight Inc., put the resort up for sale in 2005, with a $50 million price tag. The only potential buyer, a Florida development firm, pulled out based on a feeling that it could not win approvals for the kind of redevelopment it felt would work.

Jankovsky said the 40-year-old resort is in need of a range of infrastructure improvements, and when asked for details said simply, “Everything, except for our snow cats.”

The resort will be open for “business as usual” for the 2009-10 ski season, with no major changes from past operations, he said.

Sunlight season passes are on sale until May 31 at the 2008-09 early season rates. Sunlight plans to open the lifts on Dec. 4, 2009.

As for the future of the redevelopment plans, Jankovsky remarked, “We’re going to wait until we get a buyer or a development partner. There’s just no cash out there.”