With construction already underway on a new ski complex, the resort finalizes details to break ground on a transformative expansion of the Inn at the Mountain.
THOMPSONVILLE, MI – Construction is now underway on an $11 million expansion at Crystal Mountain that will add eight new downhill trails, a triple chairlift and transform the village center with a 31,200 square-foot, LEED-certified expansion and surrounding plaza to the Inn at the Mountain.
Having eclipsed its Inn Residences pre-sales goal and secured financing through Fifth Third Bank as well as a Community Development Block Grant through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Crystal Mountain will begin construction on the Inn expansion project next week. The resort anticipates a 12-month construction process that should allow for a grand opening just in time to celebrate its 60th Anniversary in late-2016. Work is currently underway on a new downhill skiing and snowboarding complex, “The Backyard,” opposite the resort’s front-facing downhill trails, that will be ready for the upcoming 2015/16 winter season and include eight new trails serviced by a triple chairlift as well as snowmaking infrastructure.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be moving forward with this transformative project but the demand we’ve seen has been equally, if not even more encouraging about the future,” says Chris MacInnes, chief operating officer for Crystal Mountain and president of Crystal Properties Inc. “We exceeded our target for pre-sales of Inn Residence shares which reflects the thought and planning that’s gone into the project, and also momentum from a strong summer season.”
Last spring, Crystal Mountain released a block of shares targeting a pre-sale threshold of 75 percent before putting shovels in the ground. Reservations have been secured for every one of the initially released shares after sales (reservations) doubled between late June and Labor Day. The resort had intended to retain ownership of the remaining units but given the demand, may release additional shares into the marketplace. In addition to and separate from the Inn Expansion, recent sales in the resort’s Trailside community has prompted construction to begin on Phase 5 of that single-family residential development along the resort’s signature Mountain Ridge golf course.
The $11 million expansion investment represents the single largest in Crystal Mountain’s history and latest in what is approaching $100 million of growth and development over the last quarter-century. The expansion will add 25 hotel rooms, bringing total Inn rooms to 54. The Inn Residences design allows owners to either use their unit as a multi-room condo or rent out individual rooms. A rooftop terrace of the LEED-certified structure will serve as an open-air, landscaped outdoor parlor and event venue, offering stunning views of the slopes and surrounding village. The main level will include the addition of a coffee bar as well as a specialty market. A beautifully landscaped Village Plaza surrounding the Inn will serve as a gathering space right in the very heart of the village.
“Over the last three decades we’ve designed the elements of a very special village core using a thoughtful, disciplined approach,” says Jim MacInnes, chief executive officer for Crystal Mountain. “This project is the hub that connects all the spokes, and we believe it will bring an incredible energy and vitality to our evolving mountain community.”
It also brings economic impact creating an estimated 48 new jobs which has earned the project $463,370 in Community Development Block Grant funds through the MEDC. Crystal Mountain is the largest employer in Benzie County and among the largest in the five-county region issuing over 1000 W2 forms annually. These new jobs do not include local and regional contractors who will be working on the project such as Alpers Excavating, Comstock Construction, D&W Mechanical, Concrete Services, architects and designers from Cornwell & Associates, Johnson-Hill Land Ethics and Interior Solutions.
Installation of The Backyard’s triple chairlift and the clearing of undergrowth will be complete by late-fall. The set of eight downhill trails will be at once inviting to the beginner and intriguing to the more experienced skier and rider. The interior (intermediate) trails, purposefully leave the terrain’s natural shape with rises, banks and rollers largely untouched, offering a skiing and snowboarding experience different than any other location on the mountain.
The two trails that flank each side of the Backyard will provide longer runs where beginners can practice and advance their skills. Two green trails share space with Last Chance (The Ridge) and Tammy’s Turn (North Face). Each features variations in pitch and contour to help new skiers and boarders stretch out and build confidence. Crystal has installed nearly a mile of new snowmaking pipe in order to use portable snowmaking units to cover The Backyard in a deep base of snow. Six new tower-mounted fan guns from Snow Machines Inc. in Midland, Michigan are being installed on the North Face complex as well.
About Crystal Mountain:
Established in 1956, Crystal Mountain is a family-owned, four season resort destination located 28 miles southwest of Traverse City and a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The resort features lodging, dining, downhill and cross-country skiing, two championship golf courses, award-winning Crystal Spa, Michigan’s only alpine slide, the Park at Water’s Edge, Michigan Legacy Art Park, weddings and an IACC-approved conference center for meetings, conferences and banquets.