Grand Summit enjoying grand interest |

Grand Summit enjoying grand interest

Groundbreaking on the Grand Summit Resort Hotel at Heavenly still at least 14 months away but presales have been “unbelievable,” according Stan Hansen, Heavenly Lake Tahoe’s vice president of governmental affairs.

With only artist renderings and the reputation of Grand Summit Resorts, more than 109 people have signed on to purchase one or more quarter-shares since presale reservations opened on Valentine’s Day. The average transaction equals a $110,000 commitment.

“In the first four days of presales here, we sold more than Sugarbush (Vermont) did in (four winters),” said David Bansmer, Grand Summit’s vice president of sales and marketing. “It shows a tremendous pent-up demand.”

American Skiing Company, which owns Heavenly, has five operating Grand Summit Hotel Resorts in four states with 2,500 owners. In addition to Heavenly, two more are planned or under construction. One, Sugarbush, is being reconsidered.

Grand Summits sell quarter-ownerships, a term Heavenly, ASC and Grand Summit officials prefer over quarter-shares to distinguish their project from time-shares.

Quarter-ownerships have more in common with condominiums than time-shares, Bansmer said.

Quarter-share owners purchase the rights to a specific unit and hold a deed to one-quarter ownership of that unit. If they don’t plan to use it during their one-week per month, quarter-owners get some of the benefit if they choose to rent it as a hotel unit.

Time-share owners have the rights to a unit somewhere in the complex. Where they stay changes visit by visit. Resort owners retain the rights to rent unused units.

In quarter-ownerships, “it’s not uncommon for people to buy the entire condominium,” Bansmer said. “We just sell it in four separate deeds.

“People don’t buy the entire 52 weeks of a time-share.”

As evidenced by the interest shown so far, the concept appears to have a lot of appeal.

Buyers are from all over the Western Hemisphere, Bansmer said, including a significant number from Tahoe Basin residents.

“In my experience, about 30 percent of transactions come from the local community. Here, it could be higher.”

Bansmer explained the local interest as a lifestyle choice. For one week a month, it’s a place to stash visiting relatives, if you don’t want to escape yourself. When the week is unused, it can be rented as a hotel room.

Other benefits last every week, all year. Owners have use of resort amenities such as day care, the health club, swimming pool, lockers, parking and the owners’ club and library.

“It’s kind of like a country club membership,” Bansmer said.

Heavenly’s Grand Summit buyers can choose from 194 condominium-style units divided into 776 quarter-ownerships.

The units have 12 major floor plan variations that range in size from 382 square feet to the penthouse at 3,400. Current prices for a quarter-ownership ranges from $40,000 to $250,000. Prices will go up as the opening nears.

The design of the 93,586-square-foot Grand Summit complex “evokes the turn of the century grand hotel architecture at Lake Tahoe,” Bansmer said. “It’s an image of Tahoe that people have not always had fulfilled.”

It’s an image that also struck Bansmer’s interest. Of the five Grand Summit projects he has worked on, Heavenly’s is the first one he has purchased into.

“It’s the first project that had all the elements that were a good fit for me,” he said.

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