Clash between profits and good citizenship?
Colorado-based author Hal Clifford said he is concerned big ski corporations like Intrawest, with their financial firepower and responsibility to shareholders, inevitably means the rise of resort interests instead of community values. But Intrawest contends the company has the community’s best interests at heart.
“We want to be good corporate citizens,” said Intrawest’s Michael Ferensowicz, director of commercial development, who said all village events are tied to a local charitable cause. “We want the locals to feel happy we are here.”
However, it is evident real estate sales are at the heart of any village. Intrawest does not begin construction on a phase until it has sold 60 percent of the residential units. At $650 to $750 per square foot, these condos are designed to be second homes for weekend warriors. Their popularity, however, is undeniable. In 2000, the 139 Phase I condominiums at Squaw Valley sold out in five hours. Intrawest’s goal with Phase II is to sell 100 of the 151 units, ranging in cost from $300,000 to $1.6 million, in six hours.
In addition to a one-time profit, the condos promise to bring in ongoing returns for Intrawest. Currently, 80 percent of Phase I owners participate in the rental program, with 50 percent of the rental income going to Intrawest.
The Village at Squaw Valley is a four-phased project that, when completed in 2006, will cover 13 acres and consist of more than 70 commercial tenants as well as up to 640 luxury residential units. The first two phases, First Ascent and the soon-to-be-finished Station 22, account for about half those numbers.