Now owned by Crystal Outdoors LLC, the Carbondale, Colo. golf course could see the addition of a boutique health-and-wellness hotel on the property, if rezoning is approved. The facility’s seasonal restaurant has been renamed and is transitioning to a year-round operation as well.
Dan and Wynee Coleman have big plans to rejuvenate the River Valley Ranch (RVR) golf course in Carbondale, Colo., the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported. After several months of uncertainty and a change in ownership, the golf course is on track to open in April 2019.
The former Pan and Fork Restaurant, now The Homestead Bar and Grill, will offer Valentine’s Day dinners and then open for limited hours near the end of February 2019, as it transitions to a year-round restaurant, the Post Independent reported.
The Colemans want to help RVR thrive not just as a golf course but also be more inclusive of the 85 percent of the neighborhood residents who don’t golf, and potentially become a health-and- wellness resort for the community, the Post Independent reported. They also want to pursue building a boutique health-and-wellness hotel on the driving range.
“I believe when we get the ultimate, final mix of hiking, trails, golf, a hotel, and everything, it will increase the property values of River Valley Ranch,” Dan Coleman said.
Like many neighborhoods with golf courses, RVR has been facing a squeeze as fewer people choose golf, he added.
The previous owner, Dale Rands, approached the homeowners group, RVR Masters Association (RVRMA) last year with a number of proposals, including having the homeowners subsidize the golf course and developing about 13 acres of the driving range for high-density housing, the Post Independent reported. But the community rejected the proposals.
RVR Golf is now officially owned by Crystal Outdoors LLC, a group of investors including the Colemans, Wynee’s brother and a friend of Dan’s, the Post Independent reported. Crystal Outdoors bought RVR Golf from Rands in November 2018 for $3.5 million, according to Garfield County records.
At the time of the sale, Rands agreed to hold a portion of the sale price on loan in case Crystal Outdoors was unable to become profitable, the Post Independent reported. But Coleman expects to own the course completely in the coming months.
Developing a hotel on the driving range would require a rezoning under the Planned Unit Development codes and the Carbondale Board of Trustees’ approval, the Post Independent reported. Before any rezoning is presented to the town, at least 50 percent of the RVR community must approve of development, which could be a difficult prospect.
“If [Crystal Outdoors] has a specific proposal, we will be happy to look at it,” said Gary Lessor, RVRMA member and chairman of the golf committee.
When polled last summer after Rands proposed building housing units, the RVR community was against development, Lessor told the Post Independent. “It’s a pretty big uphill fight,” he said.
Wynee Coleman said the new owners have not yet approached the community about the hotel, but will have a series of meetings to gather the community’s thoughts, the Post Independent reported.
“Getting everybody’s input will be part of the process for the next year,” she said, adding that a hotel might draw more visitors to the golf course, and help the greater Carbondale area’s tourism business.
The neighborhood golf committee commissioned a report from Billy Casper Golf on the feasibility and market value of the course, the Post Independent reported.
“On the value of the golf course to a third-party investor, Billy Casper concluded that it was roughly zero,” Paul Perry, RVR resident and member of the neighborhood golf committee, said in describing the report.
In the best-case scenario, which assumed an increase in the number of rounds played on the course, the course would sometimes be profitable, and sometimes lose money, Perry said.
Dan Coleman said he has seen the Billy Casper report, and that it reaffirmed what his team is doing, the Post Independent reported.
“They say in that report, do whatever you have to do to save your golf course,” he said, noting that if the course goes, the property values would drop, which is a bigger source of concern for the community.
In addition to the hotel, Coleman said he wants to keep RVR’s golf shop open year-round and perhaps rent snowshoes and cross-country skiing gear in the winter, to offer the opportunity traverse the trails that spring up around the golf course in the off-months, the Post Independent reported.
“We’re really excited at all the potential, and finally having an opportunity to turn this into something good,” Julie Warren, founder of Carbondale’s Personal Rehab Center, told the Post Independent. Warren is helping The Homestead transition to a year-round restaurant.
Warren’s husband, Red Cunningham, is leasing the course to run the golf business, the Post Independent reported. He believes it will be better as a locally owned and managed course.
“This is the first time in the 22-year history of RVR that the people whose financial butts are on the line live here in town,” Cunningham noted.
For the past several years, how to help the neighborhood thrive has been a household conversation, Wynee Coleman told the Post Independent.
It was about “How do we save it, and make it better?” she said. “It just needs a way where it can move forward and find a path for it to be sustainable. And, hopefully, where everybody can be happy.”