By TED TAYLOR
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Remington Ranch, a once-bankrupt destination resort planned near Powell Butte, is back on track after a modified master plan was approved by the Crook County Planning Commission.
“The new owners have a refined vision of the resort and its amenities and are committed to creating a premier destination for travelers that reflects the evolving recreational, health and wellness needs of resort visitors,” according to the application.
The initial plan was approved by the county in 2006 and called for three golf courses, 800 home sites and 400 overnight lodging units on 2,000 acres 10 miles west of Prineville.
At the time, a welcome center was built and the seeding of a Tom Doak-designed golf course started. But the development stalled as the recession hit Central Oregon, and in 2010 the resort filed for bankruptcy protection.
The modified application turns the 2,080-acre resort from a golf-focused facility to a health and wellness retreat center. (For comparison purposes, Sunriver Resort is around 3,300 acres.)
Plans call for one 18-hole public golf course, 300 homesites and 150 overnight lodging units. The proposal includes about 25 units of staff housing as well.
“The Applicant is proposing other recreational amenities including a variety of walking and biking trails, an outdoor amphitheater and other community gathering areas, an observation center, a recreational center, an equestrian center, and catch and release fishing ponds. A wellness center and spa will provide additional amenities,” according to the application.
The proposal also includes lavender fields, sustainable farming for an on-site restaurant and a pasture for local livestock.
The new owner is listed as Full Health LLC, an affiliate of Colson and Colson General Contractor Inc. based in Vancouver, Wash.
According to the application, the Colson family is known for its success in the senior living industry and for having started the Holiday Retirement Corporation, which they have since sold. But they have some past experiences in Central Oregon having been part of the renovation of the Sunriver Village, The Village in Sisters and Quail Vallley Ranch in Prineville.
The resort will be a new venture for the family, “applying their lifestyle principles and expertise in development and management and creating a vision of health and wellness for the resort and community of Remington Ranch,” according to the application.
Tia Lewis, the attorney representing the applicant, wasn’t immediately available for comment.
About 25 neighboring property owners attended an open house and public meeting last August and the applicant said most were in favor of the new proposal and “hopeful the resort was in the hands of an owner with the financial ability to carry out the plan.”
Dennis Turmon, a Powell Butte resident, said he liked the solitude, but realizes growth is inevitable – even in rural Crook County.
“Unfortunately that’s what happening in Central Oregon,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you live in a rural area. It’s growing fast.”
Ann Beier, community development director for Crook County, said the commission also was pleased with the scaled-back version of the plan, saying it seemed like a much more realistic project.
“Just judging how successful Brasada Ranch has been, this should be a positive for the community,” she said. “There certainly would be jobs involved and I think they’ve worked to minimize traffic-related impacts.”
Brasada Ranch initially opened in 2008 as a private, luxury golf resort.
While it was able to weather the economic downturn in the region at the time, it reinvented itself somewhat in 2011 after it was acquired by a Connecticut-based hotel group.
“It’s been proven that they’ve been great partners and they bring a lot of tax revenue to our community,” Crook County Judge Seth Crawford said.
Tax dollars from its development go into the county’s general fund.
“It funds the sheriff’s department, it funds pretty much any aspect of county government, except roads,” he said.
Beier said the public appeal process for Remington Ranch goes through March 2nd.
After that, Full Health will submit their request to begin work on Phase One of the project, which would include some of the overnight and recreation facilities, Beier said.
Image courtesy Central Oregon Association of Realtors