LODGE, SPA WILL TURN INTO DRUG TREAT­MENT SITE

The in­vest­ment group be­hind the project closed this week on plans for the va­ca­tion spot.

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Ja­son Blevins

An in­vest­ment group’s plans to turn the up­scale Lodge and Spa at Cordillera into a high-end drug treat­ment fa­cil­ity will be­gin in Septem­ber.

A $136 mil­lion plan to con­vert the up­scale Lodge and Spa at Cordillera into a high-end drug treat­ment fa­cil­ity is mov­ing for­ward.

The in­vest­ment group be­hind the project closed on the lodge in Ed­wards this week and the $20 mil­lion first-phase of ren­o­va­tion is slated to be­gin in Septem­ber as the new own­ers, led by Con­certed Care Group, con­vert the 56-room lodge, restau­rant and spa into a pri­vate drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ter.

Neigh­bors in the af­flu­ent golf com­mu­nity above the Vail Val­ley sued to stop the con­ver­sion, ar­gu­ing the de­vel­op­ment of a pri­vate drug-treat­ment cen­ter dam­aged prop­erty val­ues and vi­o­lates the com­mu­nity’s zon­ing rules.

The Cordillera Prop­erty Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and a group of res­i­dents filed two other law­suits in U.S. District Court in Den­ver last year to stop Con­certed Care Group, ar­gu­ing a change to the planned unit de­vel­op­ment guide­lines that al­lowed for a med­i­cal fa­cil­ity at the lodge was not prop­erly vet­ted with res­i­dents who bought prop­erty with the as­sump­tion they would have ac­cess to the com­mu­nity’s cen­ter­piece lodge, spa and restau­rant.

A fed­eral judge in Fe­bru­ary re­fused to de­lay the sale of the lodge, strik­ing a fa­tal blow to the $100 mil­lion class-ac­tion law­suit, which Cordillera res­i­dents dropped. The res­i­dents’ law­suit against Ea­gle County com­mis­sion­ers who ap­proved the planned unit de­vel­op­ment change that al­lowed for a med­i­cal fa­cil­ity at the lodge is be­ing ar­gued in District Court in Ea­gle County.

Both sides have pre­sented briefs and re­sponses and a de­ci­sion on that law­suit could come this month.

“I just pray to God they lose be­cause they are ly­ing sacks of … that’s the truth,” said Lenny Culic­chia, who has lived in Cordillera for three years and joined neigh­bors to fight the plan. “This guy comes in and says he’s go­ing to hire 100 peo­ple with an av­er­age salary of $100,000? They are go­ing to charge $60,000 a month? They say they are go­ing to re­ha­bil­i­tate peo­ple?

“What we’ve got here is a money-mak­ing scheme and they are us­ing the po­lit­i­cally cor­rect press to make the res­i­dents of Cordillera look like a bunch of evil, non-car­ing, hate­ful peo­ple, when they went be­hind our backs to change the PUD and take away our lodge with a plan that has never been above-board,” he said. “I

hope they fail mis­er­ably. It’s the most fool­ish plan on the face of the earth.”

Three in­vestors — IFG88 Health­care Fund, SMB Bradley & As­so­ciates and Heron­wood Cap­i­tal — are fi­nanc­ing the project. The group spent $9.6 mil­lion for the lodge.

CCG Man­age­ment will man­age the fa­cil­ity, with be­hav­ioral health ex­pert Dr. Jeff R. Brooks serv­ing as chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer.

The Vail Val­ley’s 359 De­signs, Slifer De­signs and con­struc­tion firm RA Nel­son are han­dling de­sign and de­vel­op­ment.

Con­certed Care Group chief Noah Nord­heimer said the in-pa­tient, pri­vate fa­cil­ity will of­fer a suite of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices that could cost as much as $65,000 a month. The treat­ment cen­ter will in­clude pri­vate rooms ad­ja­cent to a spa, pools, yoga and Pi­lates stu­dios with fit­ness in­struc­tors, a high-end restau­rant and juice bar along­side med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties pro­vid­ing drug ad­dic­tion treat­ment ser­vices. Nord­heimer, who re­cov­ered from a pain-pill ad­dic­tion fol­low­ing a back in­jury, built two drug treat­ment fa­cil­i­ties in Bal­ti­more in 2015.

“This has been a long process. They al­ways are,” said Nord­heimer, who dis­missed the Ea­gle County le­gal chal­lenge as “kind of a noth­ing thing.”

“It’s time to fo­cus on the pos­i­tive stuff out there in­stead of a fight we al­ways knew we were go­ing to win,” he said.

Dal­las-based Behringer Har­vard spent $35 mil­lion for the 56-room lodge and 20,000-square-foot spa and 23 ad­ja­cent acres in 2007, two years be­fore the eco­nomic re­ces­sion wreaked havoc on Colorado’s high-end re­sort real es­tate mar­ket.

Firm founder Robert Behringer at the time said the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera was a “a unique and ir­re­place­able as­set” and “a jewel in the moun­tains.”

The lodge gained no­to­ri­ety be­yond its rep­u­ta­tion as one of Vail’s most ex­clu­sive re­sorts in 2003 when an em­ployee of the lodge told po­lice she was raped by bas­ket­ball su­per­star Kobe Bryant dur­ing a stay. The charges against Bryant were even­tu­ally dropped.

“It’s time to fo­cus on the pos­i­tive stuff out there in­stead of a fight we al­ways knew we were go­ing to win.”

Noah Nord­heimer, Con­certed Care Group chief

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