World-class corporate getaway proposed for Kenai Peninsula

Posted: Wednesday, September 06, 2000

'I felt there was a need for a corporate lodge, one that would cater to the new millennium way of doing business.'

--Anthony J. Bartell,

real estate agent

in Beaver Creek, Colo.

A Colorado developer is considering 48 acres near the Anchor River and 80 acres by the Kenai River as possible sites for a $7 million corporate getaway.

"This is make-it or break-it time," said real estate agent Anthony J. Bartell of Beaver Creek, Colo., who is courting investors for Field of Streams LLC.

"Different investment groups out of Florida are coming up here now. I'd like to have the investors secured in the next 120 days and the land under contract in the next 60 days."

If investors sign on, groundbreaking could be in May, he said. The lodge could open two years after that.

Bartell said the Field of Streams Lodge will cater to corporate retreats. With 20 guest rooms, it will accommodate up to 40 clients at rates of about $6,000 per week, he said. It will feature corporate meeting rooms and connections for video-conferencing and computers.

"My target is someone who never even thought of coming to Alaska until he won, and it's tax deductible to the corporation," he said.

His proposal to investors says, "The Field of Streams Lodge will be the largest and most technically advanced lodge in Alaska, furnished with the finest of amenities. We will provide a first-class, exclusive experience for individuals who spend their revenues on the absolute best ... . My 20 years in the Vail Valley has created a worldwide network of clients and associates providing access to the world's most affluent people."

He plans to open marketing offices in Vail and Aspen, Colo.

"Basically, the world comes to Vail and Aspen," he said.

Bartell has created two Colorado companies for the project. He will operate the lodge as Field of Streams Inc., and Field of Streams LLC will build the lodge. He is trying to attract 16 investors to buy $500,000 shares in Field of Streams LLC. That would raise $8 million to build the lodge and fund marketing offices in Colorado.

"My real estate connections in Colorado have generated plenty of investors. That's worked out pretty well," he said. "Getting them to write the checks is another deal."

The investors will choose between:

n 48 acres of ocean-front land just south of the mouth of the Anchor River. There, Bartell also would improve an existing private air strip and open an 18-lot subdivision with its own security. Investors in the subdivision mainly would be second-home owners from out-of-state or from Anchor-age, he said.

n 80 acres along the west shore of the Kenai River between Eagle Rock and the Pillars. That adjoins the state-owned boat launch, he said, and the site is big enough to isolate the lodge from surrounding development.

"The Kenai River offers silvers, kings, proximity to Deep Creek halibut and the opportunity to float the upper river for trout in the fall. Anchor Point offers direct access to the ocean for halibut boats, and it does have the little landing strip," he said.

"The staunch fisherman obviously likes the Kenai location a little more, but keep in mind, this is not a fishing lodge. It's a corporate facility with a fishing venue. The Kenai Peninsula offers so many things to do. Everyone that would come wouldn't necessarily be a fisherman."

He said he has been visiting Alaska for a decade and spending summers here for six years.

"I felt there was a need for a corporate lodge, one that would cater to the new millennium way of doing business," he said. "Alaska is populated with tourists, but the corporate market is not being marketed."

The proposal includes some chuckles for those who know Alaska -- a photo labeled "Bighorn sheep at play" -- the Alaska variety is Dall sheep -- and a 1993 clipping from a Vail newspaper describing his Alaska exploits.

"A week on an Island in Prince William Sound was enough time for each of them to bag a caribou," it says.

There are few caribou, if any, in Prince William Sound.

"That was a misprint. That was in Iliamna," Bartell said.

"Around Homer, ridges overlook the rolling hills of Kachemak Bay and the Cook Inlet. Bears, wolves and moose roam the uplands. Eagles soar and salmon fill the streams and rivers," the proposal says. "Across the Cook Inlet lies a land fabulously rich in marine life, mountains, glaciers and steep walled fjords that dramatically drop into the Gulf of Alaska."

Actually, the Aleutian Range and the Alaska mainland lie across Cook Inlet from Homer and Kenai. Bartell said his information is improving.

He said he talked to Merrill Lynch about selling securities to finance the lodge, but the cost was too great. He talked to Nations-Bank about financing construction but gave that up.

"We decided that all the money should be raised privately," he said. "If the land was bought with anything but cash, the owner would be in second position. That wouldn't work out."

He remains determined.

"I've spent five years, four months at a time with my dog and a camper, to make this thing go, and I'll be damned if I'm going to stop now," he said.

"This is my life's goal. I want to operate this lodge in the summer and spend my winters in Vail. I'll operate the marketing offices. I can't think of a better job, and since I didn't find the ad in the paper, I had to create this program."

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