The stock market may be in turmoil, but that hasn't dampened the appeal of Park City real estate as evidenced by last weekend's record-breaking sellout of 150 yet-to-be-built condominiums at The Canyons Ski Resort.
Within 10 hours of opening sales Saturday for its Sundial Lodge condo project all of the units were sold for a total of $42.6 million, believed to be the largest single-day sales of ski resort condos ever recorded nationally."We knew this was going to be big going in," said Scott Oldakowski, senior vice president of American Skiing Co., the Newry, Maine-based owner of The Canyons, formerly known as Wolf Mountain and before that, Park West.
That's because of the reception the project received April 9 when 212 prospective Sundial buyers and real-estate agents queued up to pay a $5,000 deposit just to get their names on a reservations list for the condos that range in price from $149,000 to $498,000.
The enthusiasm for the project was so high that day that American Skiing decided to double the size of the first phase of the complex. Realtor Barry Van stood in line for 17 hours to reserve a spot for a Detroit friend who wants a second home in Park City and hired eight people to queue up as proxies for eight other clients.
The land boom at The Canyons is part of a national phenomenon occurring at ski resorts around the country. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that ski resorts, unable to lure more skiers to their facilities, are focusing on selling land and housing to boost their revenues and turn their winter resorts into year-round retreats by adding golf, hiking and mountain biking to the mix.
Resort operators say real-estate sales have been a godsend for an industry where overall skier visits have been flat for more than a decade and they credit the relatively new sport of snowboarding for what little growth they've had.
The Journal said ski companies are banking on baby boomers, who are now at a period in their lives where they can afford such luxuries, to fuel the resort real-estate boom.
At The Canyons, those who paid their $5,000 in April earned the right on Saturday to convert their nonbinding reservations into contracts. The sales will become final on completion of the project, which is scheduled for the opening of the 1999-2000 skiing season.
The Sundial units are such a hot commodity that American Skiing limited them to no more than two to a customer and said some would have bought more if they could. A spokesman said some 100 would-be buyers who were turned away from the sold-out first phase will get priority access to the next phases of development.
Sundial Lodge is a five-story condo-hotel with one- and two-bedroom units along with lofts and "lockouts," or extra units that can be rented while the owner occupies the adjoining unit . The units include housekeeping services and underground parking.
Van said the units are a good buy, a feeling obviously shared by others.
"It was a good price point," said Van. "Some people thought it was expensive but when compared to other ski-in, ski-out properties in Deer Valley, they were pretty reasonable."
Heidi Gatch, a Realtor with Prudential Coleman Real Estate in Park City, represented nine buyers who bought a total of 14 units. "The opportunities here seem endless," said Gatch. "All of my clients left walking on air, and for a Realtor, that's the Holy Grail."
A second project is also slated for The Canyons. The Grand Summit Resort Hotel is a quartershare condominium hotel. It also has been doubled in size over the original design because of buyer demand and also is scheduled to open for the 1999-2000 ski season.
Developers said both projects will take about four months longer to complete because of the increase in the number of units.
Skip King, vice president of communications for American Skiing, said Wednesday that construction work is now under way on both projects and they are expected to meet the revised completion schedule.