As Glacier Club moves to expand its real estate and golf operations, condo owners at the neighboring Lodge at Tamarron are planning to renovate the 40-year-old property’s exterior.
Glacier Club announced April 15 that it plans to demolish the southern portion of the lodge, a long-vacant area that was once home to Hamilton Chop House and banquet facilities. The south area has been gutted of anything of value, and utilities are shut off. Glacier Club plans to build a hotel on the spot.
The north portion of the Lodge at Tamarron that is occupied by 139 condominiums and other facilities is not part of the proposed demolition. In fact, the condo owners are planning to invest $1 million or more in an exterior face-lift.
Tamarron condo owners said they were glad to hear of Glacier Club’s demolition plans.
“I was very pleased to learn that they have plans to demolish their end of the lodge,” said John Neibling, president of the Tamarron Association of Condominium Owners, known as TACO. “Quite frankly, that’s been a sore spot in the relationship. We have asked what they were going to do about that and when.”
The demolition would remove the portion of the lodge that many regard as an eyesore – some Tamarron owners have taken to calling the unused south portion of the building “the corpse.”
The demolition’s timing is uncertain.
“We have opened the conversation with the county,” said Bruce Geiss, Glacier Club’s director of real estate. “We have hotel developer candidates we are interviewing. But it is a lengthy process with many issues we are working out with our friends at Tamarron.”
Glacier Club is breaking ground this month on a final nine holes of golf that will complete a second, 18-hole golf course that is set to open by spring 2017. The resort also wants to build more condos and townhomes.
Tamarron condo owners said Glacier Club approached TACO about possibly buying out the lodge. But Glacier Club opted not to present a formal offer after the idea ran into resistance from the condo owners, and the club no longer is pursuing it.
“It did not seem to me to be a very popular idea among our members,” Neibling said.
Meanwhile, Tamarron is moving ahead with improvements. TACO’s board has committed to an exterior remodel for the Lodge at Tamarron that could begin next year; final approval is pending a board vote. Tamarron’s other condo buildings, High Point, Pine Cone and Gamble Oak, have had exteriors either recently renovated or renovation underway.
Tamarron and Glacier Club have a long and complicated history. The Lodge at Tamarron was built in 1974. Glacier Club was established in steps in the early 2000s. In 2002, Tamarron sold its golf courses, tennis courts and some other assets to Glacier Club. A clubhouse was built in 2003.
The neighboring businesses are operated separately, but they intertwine in some ways. TACO leases part of the lodge that houses a swimming pool and fitness area from Glacier Club. Some Tamarron owners are Glacier Club members, allowing them access to the golf courses and club facilities. Both businesses rely on part-time residents and retirees and have a shared interest in promoting the area.
“We have a good working relationship with Glacier management, and we continue to work with them,” Neibling said.
Tamarron is an amalgam of condominiums used as full-time homes, vacation homes, nightly rentals and long-term rentals.
TACO encompasses 381 condos. About 80 are managed by Tamarron’s rental program much like hotel rooms. Durango Mountain Resort manages another 25. About 40 are long-term rentals. The rest are owner-occupied – some by full-time local residents, some by owners who only spend a few months a year in their units. About 40 units are on the market at any given time.
The variety of uses can result in competing viewpoints when issues arise.
“It certainly adds a level of complexity to decision making,” Neibling said.
Neibling lives most of the year in Scottsdale, Ariz. Other TACO board members live in Arizona, Texas, California and Florida.
Tamarron “is the typical Durango story,” said Heather Dawson, director of the rental program. Many residents are retirees, she said.
Upgrades are moving ahead.
About $5.5 million to $6 million already has been spent on Tamarron’s exterior remodels, Dawson said. Many condo buyers have updated the interiors, too.
“As new owners go in, they’ve all been improving the interiors of their units,” Dawson said.
Dawson also is seeking a restaurant tenant for the Lodge at Tamarron. A restaurant space that seats up to 81 indoors, and more diners outdoors, has been vacant since a location of Cuckoo’s Chicken House & Waterin’ Hole pulled out.
Dawson said the rental program has grown for the past three years, and condo owners are continuing to invest in the property.
“People love it here and want to keep it going,” she said.