BEAVER CREEK, CO-Vail Resorts Inc. is taking a 49% interest in the joint venture that owns the 238-room, $162-million Ritz-Carlton Hotel under construction in the Bachelor Gulch area on Beaver Creek Mountain.

Vail owns Beaver Creek, as well as Vail, which is 12 miles to the east. Vail’s partner in the development is an affiliate of Continental Glencom, which also is an owner of the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia and Key Biscayne, FL.

The Athens Group of Phoenix is developing the Beaver Creek project, which has been heralded as the first five-star Ritz-Carlton Hotel at any ski resort in the world. Ritz-Carlton also is building a 73-unit luxury timeshare development at Colorado’s Aspen Highlands.

The Beaver Creek project, scheduled to open around Christmas 2002, will have a 20,000-sf spa and fitness center, ski rental lessons and retail space, restaurants and 12,000 sf of meeting space.

Twenty-three penthouse units above the hotel already have been placed under contract, a Vail spokeswoman told Vail Resorts receives $700,000 from the joint venture partnership for each penthouse sale.

Adam Aron, president of Vail Resorts, says the hotel not only will bring a world-class amenity to the area, but also is a “very sound investment opportunity for Vail Resorts.”

In exchange for its 49% ownership, Vail Resorts is contributing the land, which carries a $3.4-million book value, $3.3 million in cash equity and up to a $4.5-million loan. The joint venture also is obtaining a $97-million construction loan from a consortium of banks. The remainder of the project is being funded by a combination of equity and debt from partners, mezzanine financing and condo sales.

Vail Resorts will provide golf, spa and club privileges and in exchange, will receive a one-time fee of $3.7 million. Vail Resorts also receives $3 million up front. In an independent transaction, Vail Resorts will buy the 20,000-sf spa from the joint venture and the 8,500-sf of skier service area, for the developer’s cost of $13 million.

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