Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What’s in store for Copper Ranch club?

Developers looking for partner to complete fitness center


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

The developers of the Copper Ranch development in Hailey have said they are going to improve the exterior appearance of the development’s health club facility. Work on the club, which is about two-thirds complete, was halted years ago when the recession stifled the housing market. Photo by Roland Lane

    An incomplete health-club facility on Woodside Boulevard in Hailey has been a problem for owners at the Copper Ranch condominium development, and the city of Hailey, since the housing crash occurred seven years ago.
    The facility is deemed about two-thirds complete but has sat unfinished for years. Some Copper Ranch homeowners have said they expected the facility to be finished years ago, and that its state of disrepair is further jeopardizing home values in the development.
    The Hailey Building Department has cited exposed rebar and construction materials left on the property as “safety hazards.”  
    Portions of the facility are used for indoor tennis, but most of it is incomplete and off-limits to any uses.
    Copper Ranch developer Jeff Smith hopes to turn the facility over to a nonprofit organization or public entity in order to get it finished.
    Smith wrote a letter to members of the HOA on Nov. 15, stating, “Our intention would be to donate the entire facility, including the land.”    
    In the letter Smith described the facility as “65 percent complete,” and said there is no longer any debt on the property, which he said in an interview would now allow for an easy transfer of title to a new entity.
    “We are in a more flexible position now,” Smith said.
    The YMCA, Blaine County Recreation District, Blaine County School District, the College of Southern Idaho and St. Luke’s hospital are among the organizations that Smith and his representative John Sofro have asked to become involved in the project.
    “We have extended offers, but there have been no definitive answers,” Smith said in an interview Tuesday, after meeting with members of the Copper Ranch homeowners association on Monday.
    Smith said he would comply with the city of Hailey’s complaints by placing plastic orange caps over hundreds of protruding pieces of rebar that were left five years ago on one side of the building.
    Smith said he would also begin “extensive” landscaping, berm-building and tree-planting on the property this spring.
    Hailey Community Development Director Micah Austin said after remaining incomplete for several years, the health club’s designs would have to be modified to meet new building standards before it could be completed.
    “The city is not in a condition to condemn the property. But we will not let them occupy or use it until it meets current codes,” Austin said.
Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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