|By Lesley Mitchell, The Salt Lake Tribune|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Feb. 19, 2005 - Strong demand for vacation properties and luxury rentals in the Park City area is driving plans to develop a 93-unit luxury condominium hotel in the Deer Crest area of Deer Valley Resort.
Every unit at the St. Regis Resort & Residences will be sold, but owners have the option of renting all or part of their properties to the public at any time. The rental program will be managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., St. Regis Resort's parent company, which will run the property much like a full-service hotel, said spokesman Mark Fischer.
Developer DDRM Great Place is scheduled to start construction later this year on the property, on the end of Deer Valley overlooking Jordanelle Reservoir. Completion is set for late 2007. The resort, which will be owned by Deer Crest Associates, will have all of the amenities of a full-service hotel, including meeting space, two pools, bars, gift shops, a spa and a restaurant.
Located near the 126-lot gated Deer Crest residential community, the St. Regis will feature ski-in, ski-out access to the Deer Hollow ski run.
The resort will include 26 residences, each with two to five bedrooms. It also has 67 two- to four-bedroom suites designed to allow owners to rent each bedroom separately. In total, the development will have as many as 200 rooms available for nightly rental.
Sales prices have not been determined, but may be $1,000 per square foot. The 93 units range in size from 1,416 square feet to 6,598 square feet.
The St. Regis will be among a handful of developments in the Park City area in which owners rent rooms to skiers and tourists all or part of the year. The St. Regis probably will be most like Stein Eriksen Lodge, which is operated and marketed like a traditional full-service hotel.
These types of lodging establishments are an increasingly attractive option for developers, said Robert Benton, publisher of The Rocky Mountain Lodging Report, a Parker, Colo. newsletter tracking Western hotel markets.
Utah's lodging industry continues to improve after years of high vacancies, but the development of full-service hotels with numerous amenities still remains financially unfeasible in most instances, Benton said. He added that developers are working instead on projects like the St. Regis that provide a faster -- and more certain -- return on their investment.
Mark Bennett, director of communications for the Park City Chamber/Bureau, said condominium resorts function so similarly to traditional hotels that most out-of-state visitors cannot tell the difference.
"They really feel like a hotel," he said. "Guests may never know the unit that they're staying in is actually owned by someone in Connecticut."
Owners renting their properties for the night typically earn 60 percent of what guests pay. The property management company gets the other 40 percent.
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