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Resort backers take pitch Outside

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Resort backers take pitch Outside

GIRDWOOD: Advocates of new $400 million ski area hope to lure developers with expansion plan.

By RICHARD RICHTMYER

Anchorage Daily News

(Published: May 28, 2004)

Proponents of a new $400 million ski area in Girdwood plan to visit ski resort developers in four states this summer to try to get them interested in the project.

Delegates from the city's land management agency, Alyeska Resort and Girdwood 2020 -- a citizens group pushing ski area development -- will pitch the idea to developers in Colorado, Utah, Washington and California, said Ted Beeler, a Girdwood 2020 committee member.

The idea, originally conceived more than 10 years ago, is to open up as much as twice the amount of terrain currently available at Alyeska in the Winner-Glacier Creek area just up the valley from the resort.

It would include 135 acres of lift-served glacier skiing year-round, and it's one piece of a broader vision of Girdwood as a four-season recreational destination including an 18-hole golf course in lower Girdwood Valley and some new housing and retail development.

Beeler, who's also the mountain manager at Alyeska, wouldn't name the developers the group is targeting. He said the face-to-face meetings are important because the developers receive similar pitches all the time.

"Unless you can sell it, they're just going to toss it in the wastebasket," Beeler said at a planning meeting Thursday.

The resort expansion concept, which has been talked about since 1992, involves the development of an alpine and nordic skiing facility with a small pedestrian-oriented resort village at the foot of the mountain and a residential area on the north side of Glacier Creek.

Proponents say the new area would complement what's available at Alyeska because it would include more beginner and intermediate trails, as opposed to the existing trails, which are generally more difficult.

The area under consideration, about 3,500 acres of terrain that lies less than 11/2 miles from the Alyeska Resort's Prince Hotel, is jointly owned by the city of Anchorage and the state. City and state officials, as well as several area economic development groups, signed off on the idea this winter, and Anchorage's Heritage Land Bank, which manages city land, has taken the lead in the push to attract private development dollars.

So far, the Heritage Land Bank -- which gets revenue from leases on city land -- has spent about $200,000 on the effort, officials said Thursday.

"We are the major landowner, and we have to make the investment," Mayor Mark Begich said at Thursday's meeting.

Begich estimated the total cost of the project -- including the resort and ancillary improvements to public infrastructure such as roads and utilities -- at $400 million.

In addition to the road trip this summer, the Heritage Land Bank has sent potential developers a request for "letters of interest" in the project.

Officials said they did that to allow developers to express an interest in the project but not have to invest the time or money it takes to prepare a formal proposal.

"Right now, it'll only cost you 37 cents to be a potential developer in Girdwood," said Chuck Depew of the National Development Council, a nonprofit community and economic development organization that is working with the city on the ski resort project.

SE Group, a ski resort consulting firm, and Anchorage-based Dowl Engineers also are working with the city to put together a formal request for proposals, which they expect to send to developers late in the fall.

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Girdwood residents like their way of life. Laid back, rural, relaxed... It looks like Girdwood is going the way of Aspen (Expensive, crowded, and developed)

Now... If I lived in Girdwood I wouldn't be too happy with the way the town is heading.. But.. I... don't.. live in Girdwood.. So WOO-HOO! New development!!

I am such an asshole :D

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