More employee housing set for Copper
By Lu Snyder
COPPER MOUNTAIN - Intrawest's recent acquisition of the Club Med building at Copper Mountain provides the company with enough employee housing units for years to come.
Club Med sold the building - which it's owned since it was built more than 20 years ago - to Intrawest for $8 million dollars at the end of April, said Nicolas Boudet, Club Med's vice president of development and asset management.
As part of the agreement, Club Med has signed and entered into an option to purchase five acres of land in one of Intrawest's other resorts, Boudet said.
Valerie Bihet, Club Med's director of communications, said the company decided to sell their building at Copper after an evaluation of the accommodations at their 32 resorts worldwide. The evaluation reviewed the location, accommodations, facilities and activities available to Club Med guests.
Though Club Med guests consistently praised the location and activities at Copper, they complained the accommodations were too small, Bihet said.
"When people go on vacation, they really need comfort," she said. "The size of the room and the decorations are very important to vacationers."
According to Bihet, the company is in the process of choosing one of three ski resorts as the site for their new Club Med destination: Winter Park, Mammoth in Calif., or Mt. Tremblant in Quebec. No dates have been set for the final decision, she said.
While the Copper building no longer met Club Med's needs, Intrawest officials seem pleased with the purchase, as it will provide the company with at least three times the employee housing units as was planned for next year. According to Intrawest chief financial officer Dan Jarvis, the company planned to spend $8 million on employee housing facilities next year.
The Club Med property "will be very valuable as we go forward in Copper, in terms of relieving us of further requirements for employee housing, and in response to a very real need that we have in the resort to have significant employee housing," Jarvis said recently during Intrawest's third-quarter conference call.
Jarvis indicated a large portion of the building will be converted into employee housing units, leaving room for the company to consolidate their administrative offices - which currently are in several different locations - into one space.
Additionally, the consolidation of the administrative offices will allow Intrawest to use the other locations for commercial space or even condominiums, Jarvis said.
The ground floor of the Club Med property also is well-situated for commercial opportunities, he added.
"In terms of $8 million now on this, versus $8 million next year on a purpose-built facility, we get dramatically more employee housing and administrative space and commercial - so a very high return on investment on this $8 million," Jarvis said.
No further information on planned renovations or when the employee housing units will be ready are available as yet, said Copper Mountain communications manager Ben Friedland