Welcome to the Westin. Where’s the bar?

Yesterday, I decided my career has shifted from real estate broker to crisis counselor. Sellers are coming to the reality of the current micro and macro economics. But with the big “un-veiling” of the Westin in North Village, I had to go take a look. After all, it’s been hiding under a plastic bag for many months. (I was warned about the plastic bag syndrome in my college days.) The structure is clearly the most imposing in Mammoth––and it should be––it is the tallest and largest to date. What is more amazing to me is that I know is has three levels of concrete lined parking underneath it––I stood there and watched the first “pours” into its bowels.

An ad in last Saturday’s The Sheet advertised a job fair for a multitude of jobs at the new Westin. I saw it for myself but several members of the real estate community mentioned it also. That was telling. It reminded me of 1981 when I was hired to train waiters at the new Charthouse in Mammoth. Many of the trainees were also “real estate agents”. There were 335 agents in town at that time and I think the population was half of what it is today. Little did I know then how history would repeat (or remind). For me, I‘m eyeing the doorman’s position at the job fair. My regular readers know I’ve been eyeing the doorman job at one of Mammoth’s future high-end hotels. Yes, it is a little premature––I’ve got at least another 10 years of real estate in me. But I really want the 4:00 to midnight shift. I’m just dying to open the door for all those pretty ladies knowing that this geezer got the snow their arrogant boyfriend or husband only dreams about getting. Of course, they were probably still in bed.

So I checked out the new Westin, at least the front and entry (the rest is still covered in plastic.) Well, ho hum. It’s a large structure covered predominately by what appears to be acrylic stucco (blink: Intrawest/cheap.) Some almost-real-appearing rock is blasély applied to the lower levels. They could have at least given it some design. The new John Hooper built townhomes across the street are far more attractive––at least the Westin guests will have a positive final impression as they depart in their taxi.

Now before I give anyone the impression that this is just another Intrawest cheaped-out nightmare, let me state that in order to get the Westin license (that will triple the value of course), that all of the Westin “standards” have to be met. From a physical plant standpoint, the Westin is superior to anything that has been built in Mammoth to date. (If you really want to own a condo hotel unit in the Village, forget everything else, at least for now.) First, the property will have true ventilation like a real hotel, a first in the Village and the biggest complaint with all the prior-built condo hotel units in Mammoth. The structure is primarily a concrete structure with triple pane windows––all designed to dampen the noise. (Laka-what?)

More importantly is that Intrawest brought a real hospitality expert in to run the show. And not only that, he’s been here to make sure the facility is finished to accomplish the goal––a proactive approach rather than a reactive approach. Mr. James McGillivray was recruited from Blue Mountain outside of Ontario to fill this role. He is a graduate of the prestigious Cornell school of Hotel and Restaurant Management. (I met with him and his wife more than a year ago at their request to introduce them to the community. I have no doubt they ditched me quick after they discovered what an anti-Intrawest grouch I am. At least I gave them sound advice and told them to rent for awhile before buying.)

Mr. McGillvray may be the first REAL hospitality professional brought to Mammoth. I have no doubt the Westin standards commanded it. Now he’s just got to find the staff and make sure they show up for work. I’m sure he’d be afraid to hire me as a doorman. I do wish him well. And FYI, there are, and will be, Westin units available to purchase. But as I have counseled before, only buy the best in the project. And I really am looking forward to sitting at the bar and having a drink––that is if they let me past the door.

Meanwhile, rumors persist that Barry Sternlicht and Starwood Capital is (or already has) selling/sold out of Mammoth. But we all know about Mammoth and rumors. In the age of private equity and hedge funds we could only expect such drama. Stay tuned.

6 thoughts on “Welcome to the Westin. Where’s the bar?”

  1. At least I have the guts to sign my name to what I write. In my opinion, in the last ten years extreme levels of greed by corporations and others who were just here for the short term to make a fast buck (a.k.a. carpetbaggers) did significant damage to this community and the efforts of the more long-term thinking citizens. I want to hold the future developers accountable and responsible for quality developments. And I want them to be good citizens in the community. I believe it is possible. If buyers don’t buy their products, they won’t do business here. This blog has provided me the opportunity to influence the future. If that diminishes my credibility…

  2. I will give my name when my comments on your Fixing the Village article appear in the Mammoth Times. I want you to focus on what I have to say, not who I am. Your “Fix” didn’t propose one single change to fix things. It was just an unbecoming litany of complaints about what has happened and a mystifying prediction of what will happen with the Village. You can do better than that. In the mean time you are hurting your neighbors and friends who are small business people in the Village with your attitude about the tax assesment. And all because you hate corporate earnings. If I believe your profile you have earned a lot of money off the presence of developers and the growth of real estate in Mammoth. As I said, your comments are unbecoming. It is easier to be opposed to something than it is to be for something.

  3. On the contrary “anonymous” Paul’s comments relative to Intrawest and the Village gives him more credibility. The manner in which the Village was constructed and the negative effect it has had on the town are well known by locals who lived here before Intrawest came to town before 1996. I don’t agree with Paul’s “growmania” philosphy, nor his views on the town becoming “upscale”, but he has very valid points regarding “Intraworst.”

  4. Anonymous said…
    Your hatred of Intrawest is very unbecoming of you and gives you less credibility every day.

    this comment is so pathetic…IT IS OVER!! ACCEPT IT. Even the most full of shit californians can’t bullshit their way out of the irreversable error of buying property you cant sell. and you cant go back to your step dad your mom married for his money, because his house is in just as bad a situation. You say unbecoming, it is better than living in america with no credit and no money…That is worse than any life in the world


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