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CLE ELUM, WA-After four years of bureaucracy, time-share developer Trendwest Resorts Inc. is holding final approval papers for its 6,226-acre resort outside of town here. So no more waiting, sort of.

Workers are already carving out the roads for the cars and the fairways for the drivers, a mere nine days after the Redmond, WA-based company received the go-ahead from Kittitas County commissioners. As every silver lining borders a cloud, so it goes that the company still needs the Department of Ecology to sign off on a transfer of Yakima River water rights before actual building construction can begin, and that’s not expected before next spring or summer, at the earliest.

Regardless, Bill Lyche, director of development for the proposed MountainStar Resort, says the approval of the company’s land use application by the county was a huge victory for Trendwest, and opens the door for other resorts to be developed in the area. “It was a gigantic hurdle to get over,” says Lyche. “Kittitas County did not have a destination resort ordinance and it took four years of time and effort to get that ordinance created and get all the approvals that needed to happen for this project.”

When completed, the MountainStar Resort is expected to feature 4,100 residential units, at least two golf courses, a 500-room hotel, an equestrian center and 100,000 sf of retail space. To appease opponents concerned about the impact the resort will have on the environment, Trendwest has reserved nearly 80% of the resort property for open space, including a 1,500-acre protected Cle Elum River corridor running through the whole property.

Trendwest also announced this week that its expectation for third quarter results, to be released next week, is for third quarter net earnings per diluted share to be in the range of 66 to 69 cents a share, exceeding last year’s third quarter profits of 53 cents a diluted share. Shares of the Trendwest stock were selling for $18 at the close of markets Wednesday, up 81.25 cents on the day. The stock’s 52-week high is $26.62.

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