A developer plans a new four-story hotel in downtown Ketchum.
The $53 million, 155,000-square-foot project has been on the drawing board since 2008. Developer Jack Bariteau of the Trail Creek Fund LLC said he hopes financing will be secured this year, with construction to begin sometime in 2015.
Planned at the intersection of Highway 75 and River Streets in Ketchum, the four story, 80-room building will have two levels of underground parking.
“The Sun Valley area is dependent on tourists, but for years the hospitality sector was resistant to change, whether it was adding more rooms or upgrading current facilities,” Bariteau said.
Prior to the Great Recession, the region was popular among second home owners and relied on that segment to boost its economy, Bariteau said. The area relied less on tourism. Accordingly, older hotels were redeveloped into affordable housing or closed. But now economic development officials are increasing their focus on tourism.
“We needed to rebalance the economy, but any new redevelopment wasn’t viewed favorably,” Bariteau said. “But people now are paying attention.”
Bariteau said the recent addition of new flight between Sun Valley and San Francisco and Denver will help promote economic growth in the ski resort community. Also, the owners of the Sun Valley Lodge recently announced plans for an extensive remodel. Those are signs that prospects are improving for the Wood River Valley hospitality industry, Bariteau said.
“Whistler [British Columbia] and Aspen [Colo.] have been successful resort areas…but we haven’t been able to compete,” he said. “But with new flights and options…it’s a game changer.”