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Aged and Shuttered, the Mountain Shadows Resort
 Likely to be Razed, Replaced with
 299 room Boutique Hotel

By Donna Hogan, The Tribune, Mesa, Ariz.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Jul. 1, 2005 - Aged and recently shuttered Paradise Valley resort Mountain Shadows is poised to get a $200 million makeover by Crown Realty & Development, the same company that is redoing the town's La Posada resort.

Crown president Robert Flaxman said Thursday that he wants to keep Mountain Shadows' 42-acre golf course and driving range but raze all the structures and build a 299-unit boutique hotel with resort villas in their place. The 68-acre spread sprawls along the south side of Camelback Road at 56th Street.

Crown's plans also call for upgrading the golf facilities, building a new golf clubhouse and fitness center, dumping the expanses of asphalt in favor of underground parking, lushly landscaping the grounds and prettying up 56th Street with "a canopy of trees" and well-vegetated medians.

The new resort would be aimed at high-end travelers instead of business groups, and provide amenities such as room service and housekeeping to nearby homeowners -- options formerly offered by Mountain Shadows.

Crown dumped plans to add time-share villas, but about two-thirds of the resort units would be privately owned, an arrangement not apparent to hotel guests but similar to the financial structure of nearby neighbor Camelback Inn. Some of the privately owned larger villas with kitchens likely will become year-round residences, a Crown spokesman said.

Flaxman said he hasn't toted up the price for the proposed makeover, but he said it would be similar to the cost of transforming La Posada into luxury resort Montelucia. Crown estimated that tab at $200 million.

He hopes to begin work on Mountain Shadows in the spring and register the first guests in fall 2008.

It's not a done deal. Crown has 21 months to buy the property from owner Host Marriott for an undisclosed price. The purchase hinges on getting town approval for a makeover plan, not an easy task with vocal and powerful contingents of homeowners and town leaders demanding a say.

Host Marriott tried but failed to win Town Council approval to develop high-end housing on the land, but eventually agreed to sell the property to Crown instead.

Some stakeholders, a committee representing the nearly 120 homeowners at Mountain Shadows East and West, neighbors most affected by plans for the resort, worked with Crown to craft the new concept, said Purd Thomas, a resident of Mountain Shadows West.

"By a vast majority, the homeowners are in support of the plan that Crown is bringing forth," Thomas said Thursday.


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Copyright (c) 2005, The Tribune, Mesa, Ariz.

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