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A new king in the castle.

Wedding bells may ring again at the Redstone Castle, thanks to a group of investors who kept the historic mansion from being sold at an August 29 auction and saved its legacy as a hotel and bed-and-breakfast.

Colorado Summit Partners, a Denver company that designs and builds custom mountain homes, and the Cumberland Fund, a Dallas-based investment firm, bought the castle, the cottage house and the barns on the 150-acre property for $5 million. The new owners plan to keep it open to the public and will continue to rent it out for weddings, says Jim Burghardt, a Denver attorney who is a principal with Colorado Summit Partners.

"But we're going beyond a B&B," he says. "We're going to turn it into a high-end hotel, conference center and spa."

The 20,000-square-foot castle, located in the pastoral Crystal River Valley west of Aspen, is the former home of steel and coal baron John Cleveland Osgood. For 24 years, Redstone Investments owned and ran the bed-and-breakfast and rented it out for weddings.

Last year the company sold the building to a Canadian Investment firm. But the new operator couldn't pay the mortgage, so the inn was turned over to Louis Feher-Peiker of Denver. Feher-Peiker had planned to convert the mansion into a spa, but he was unable to secure financing or pay the bills. His company, Castle Consulting, spent $40,000 in wedding deposits from eighteen couples who were supposed to get married there over the summer, according to Redstone Castle caretaker Ken Johnson. When Feher-Peiker closed the hotel, the couples were out of money and out of luck ("Broken Vows," June 10).

Redstone Investments resumed ownership of the castle in April; in June the company decided to cut its losses and close the inn, which was to be sold at auction as a private residence rather than a hotel.

But Burghardt, who had met the Cumberland people through his law practice, says they were looking for a good investment opportunity. Burghardt was familiar with Redstone and "had heard of its difficulties."

By building more cottages on the site, the owners plan to add up to fifty bedrooms; there are already sixteen rooms inside the castle, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The completion date for the renovations is uncertain, as is the opening date, but Burghardt wants to retain as much of the castle's historical character as possible.

"The Crystal River Valley is still a quiet and beautiful place," he says, "and we want to make sure we preserve what has always made [the Redstone Castle] a special place."

 
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