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DENVER-Gerald Petitt, principal of Creative Hotel Associates in Bethesda, MD, and the former president of Choice Hotels, has purchased the 221-acre Squaw Pass Ski Area, paying $698,750 for the property, which closed in 1975. If it were open today, Squaw Pass would be the closest ski area to Denver – less than an hour away.

“This is a unique piece of property,” Petitt tells GlobeSt.com. “Where else are you going to find (almost) 240 acres, surrounded by National Forest?”

He said he doesn’t yet know what he plans to do with the land, and is in no hurry to decide. He bought the land at an auction held by Sheldon Good & Co. The next highest bidder was about $5,000 or $10,000 lower, Jim MacDonnell, executive managing director for Sheldon Good, told GlobeSt.com.

MacDonnell said one idea for the land would be to make a trade with the government for land that could be more easily developed. But Petitt says he isn’t considering any alternatives to anything at this time.

Although he lives near Washington, D.C., his roots in Colorado run deep. “I was born and raised in Colorado,” said Petitt. “I still have family out there. We have a house in Aspen and I’m there fairly frequently.” Also, five of his company’s 15 hotels are in Colorado.

In addition to hotels, he also owns a college baseball league, the North Carolina-based Coastal Plain League. “We’re probably the No. 2 collegiate league in the country,” Petitt tells GlobeSt.com. He also notes that Durham Field in the 1980s movie “Bull Durham” is one of the fields his company owns.

“We have a number of these historic stadiums in small towns that were WPA projects,” he said. “The league is a chance for 250 of the top college baseball players to play in a league. It’s a fun business.”

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