Sun Valley Co. touts River Run plan
Annexation application could come this spring
long range plan by Sun Valley Co. to develop a mix of hotel, residential
and commercial structures at the River Run base area of Bald Mountain
would not follow in the footsteps of the many dense developments at
mountain-resort villages throughout the West.
Becky Zimmermann, a planning consultant from Colorado-based Design Workshop, said Sun Valley Co.'s plan to de-velop River Run would establish the area as a "portal" to Ketchum and Bald Mountain.
Photo by David N. Seelig
That was the overriding
message Wednesday, May 26, as Sun Valley Co. General Manager Wally Huffman
based planning consultant Becky Zimmermann presented details
on the company’s master plan to develop River Run and an assortment
of other properties in the Ketchum-Sun Valley area.
In a 90-minute
presentation at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum, Huffman and Zimmermann
stressed that Sun Valley Co. owner Earl Holding envisions River Run
as a mountain village that would complement—not compete with—the established
community in central Ketchum.
vision for this property is something very different," Zimmermann
said. "It is not intended to be a destination in itself."
stating that he believes Sun Valley Co. should seek to benefit over
the long term from its main attraction today: the region’s beauty and
our economic future is tied to the idea that less is more," Huffman
Wednesday was essentially an addendum to an April 6 unveiling of Sun
Valley Co.’s long-term master plan for developing some 2,800 acres of
company land in the Sun Valley region.
The master plan
has been characterized as a 50-year blueprint for what Sun Valley Co.
properties would look like at full buildout, if local government agencies
find a means to approve the plan and lock it in.
"It may be
a 50-year plan, it may be an 80-year plan, it may be a 40-year plan,"
The initial unveiling
of the master plan took place in Sun Valley and focused largely on the
company’s properties in and around Sun Valley Village.
The Ketchum presentation
was designed to concentrate on Sun Valley Co.’s plans for approximately
160 acres of private land at River Run, immediately southwest of downtown
The land is located
in Blaine County but lies within the city of Ketchum’s designated area-of-city-impact
boundaries, meaning that the city can ultimately exert control over
development in the area.
to develop it, we have to annex it into the city of Ketchum," Huffman
Sun Valley Co.
in the next month plans to submit a formal application to annex approximately
100 of the 160 acres at River Run into Ketchum, company representatives
the Sun Valley Co. master plan for River Run includes:
new 200-room luxury hotel immediately southeast of the existing River
new 1,500-space parking structure immediately east of the proposed hotel
park/soccer field on the northern edge of the parcel.
30,000 square feet of retail space.
to 478 new residential units scattered throughout the higher elevations
of the property, concentrated mainly at the site of the upper River
Run parking lot, west of Third Avenue. Included in the count are approximately
80 employee-housing units that would be reserved for Sun Valley Co.
The River Run
plan calls for a total of approximately 700 development units, including
all housing units and hotel rooms.
earlier statements that some base villages recently built in other Rocky
Mountain resorts include upwards of 1,000 development units and 150,000
square feet of commercial space.
to the village, the master plan calls for possibly installing a gondola
from central Ketchum, near the post office, to a new gondola station
east of the River Run Lodge. The company master plan also proposes a
gondola from Sun Valley Village to River Run Plaza.
a gondola traversing from Sun Valley Village to River Run—deemed a long-term
project—would cost approximately $8 million to install.
A more likely
near-term project is construction of a new two-stage gondola from River
Run to the Lookout Summit of Bald Mountain, with a loading station at
Roundhouse restaurant. That project would cost an estimated $10 million,
Sun Valley Co. has not determined the costs of implementing the proposed
master plan, largely because much of it is conceptual.
Based on current
construction costs, the proposed 336 multi-family units at River Run
would alone cost in the range of $100 million. A 200-room hotel would
cost approximately $80 million.
he expects the annexation process to raise "a litany of questions"
about the company’s development plans for the River Run site.
At the same
time, he said, city officials should consider that the proposed developments
at River Run would boost the city’s tax base and create scores of new
and legislators have said they intend to look closely at the impacts
of the annexation but did not voice any specific concerns Wednesday.
Ketchum City Council president, asked Huffman to outline the company’s
The first priority,
Huffman said, is construction of a new 100- to 150-room hotel in Sun
Valley Village, followed by new multi-family residential developments
at River Run. The third priority is construction of a new 9-hole golf
course on the company’s "Gun Club" property in Sun Valley.
Low on the priority
list, Huffman said, is a new development on approximately 40 acres at
the Warm Springs base area of Bald Mountain. Sun Valley Co. has tentatively
proposed 175 residential units for the site.