Developers to unveil $42M Bear Lake resort plan Thursday

Jul 25 2012 - 10:49pm

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GARDEN CITY -- For years, Bear Lake has been a popular summer spot for those looking to cool off.

Now, a development team hopes to make the area a year-round destination with construction of the $42 million Waters Edge Resort, to be at approximately 90 South and Bear Lake Boulevard on the shores of Bear Lake.

The developers intend to unveil the plans at a noon ceremony Thursday at the site of the resort. Gov. Gary Herbert is scheduled to attend.

The resort will include an 84-room full-service hotel, 70 privately owned condominiums, 40,000 square feet of commercial space and a 5,000-square-foot conference facility.

"It's going to be a nice new addition to the area," Utah Regional Investment Fund CEO Chris Shurian said. "This particular resort is going to change the whole face of Bear Lake."

Shurian's company is raising much of the money to fund the project through foreign investors.

The Waters Edge Resort will be one of the first Utah projects funded through the EB-5 program, which gives a foreign investor a path to a green card by investing a minimum of $500,000 into a U.S. company.

"Access to funds right now is very hard," Shurian said. With the down economy, fewer banks are lending, and fewer people have money to invest.

"The fact that we are doing it through the EB-5 program ensures greater success."

Utah Regional Investment Fund is a private company that works through the EB-5 program.

Shurian said the company has gathered 39 investors from China to help fund the resort. He also has seen interest from investors from Vietnam and India.

"This project is really one of a kind in the Bear Lake area. There is nothing else like that up there," Shurian said.

Developer Norm Mecham, with Vista Realty, said currently the area has limited overnight facilities, such as hotels for visitors.

The resort will provide more accommodations and allow for conferences, while bringing more than 400 jobs to the area. The developers hope to complete the resort by summer 2013.

"It is going to create employment as well as commercial retail space," Mecham said.

The developers hope to partner with local ski resorts to bring visitors during the colder months.

"I think it's really needed," Mecham said. "A lot of businesses struggle in the winter. To see more people in the offseason really helps us."

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