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Doglegging around Bald Mountain, the 78-acre Warm Springs Ranch in Ketchum measures about a mile end-to-end.

Warm Springs Ranch, the 78-acre swath of undeveloped land tight to the north slopes of Bald Mountain, has a new owner this week.

Sun Valley’s Bob Brennan of Brennan Holdings 300 LLC finalized the purchase Monday, multiple sources confirmed to the Idaho Mountain Express.

That’s a different name than many expected. In November, Santa Barbara-based developer Will Gustafson agreed to purchase the former golf course—and current dog-walking park—according to sources familiar with the deal. Following a 90-day due-diligence period, he opted not to buy it, according to Ed Lawson, the attorney representing the seller, Diane Boss of Helios Development.

Brennan, whose four decades in the valley include a number of real estate projects, moved in. These days, his firm focuses on development around St. George, Utah, he said, but he is well aware of the history around the Warm Springs site.

The property was slated to become a resort on the scale of Sun Valley itself, before the economic downturn pulled the rug on Utah-based Helios Development’s ambitious project more than a decade ago. The 728,000 square foot project—which envisioned a golf course, 122-room hotel, 32 condos and other homes—never broke ground, leaving Warm Springs Ranch the last substantial chunk of undeveloped land in Ketchum.

The property is actually nine lots, pieced together and hooked around federal land on Bald Mountain. Taken together, they reach about as far south as Atkinson Park—about a mile from one tip to another. They lots are worth around $12.5 million total, according to the county Assessor’s Office.

Neither Brennan nor Lawson would disclose the final sale price.

Right now, Brennan hasn’t settled on concrete plans for the site, he told the Express in an interview on Thursday afternoon.

“I’ve been here 40 years,” he said. “I want to do something that I know in my heart is the best use for the community.”

The city of Ketchum wasn’t aware of discussions around the property, Assistant City Administrator Lisa Enourato told the Express on Thursday morning.

“We have no information on its status,” she said.

Boss and her late husband, Anton Vonk, bought Warm Springs Ranch in 2006. When development stalled, they opened it to the public. Today, it’s a popular dog park and disc golf course set below Warm Springs Road.

“There was always some risk and some expense in doing so, but it just seemed right to let this lovely, spirit-enhancing land be enjoyed by neighbors,” Boss told the Express. “I want to thank those of you who sent messages of appreciation directly to me and via other people. They always warmed my heart.

“Now that the land is transferring to other hands, I feel nostalgic about letting go. But I will keep coming to the Wood River Valley. I love it there. I trust that the next phase for Warm Springs Ranch will be a great one for your community.”

Brennan will consider his options in the coming weeks, he said. For their part, both Lawson and Boss said they trust his vision.

“Bob is a local resident—he has been for decades,” Lawson said. “He’s fully aware of the needs of the community, and he plans to take those into account.”

Email the writer: mdee@mtexpress.com

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