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Chalets on the rise

EAGLE POINT — Long anticipated overnight lodging at Eagle Point Golf Course is nearing reality.

Owners Bob and Chana Hyer broke ground Monday on the first phase of The Chalets at Eagle Point Golf Course, a three-building, 12-unit complex near the club's Talon restaurant and Osprey Nest snack bar.

"Lodging was always something in the back of my mind," said Bob Hyer, who acquired the course with his wife in 2013. "I kept hearing a lot of things from families around the community — from other golfers to friends of mine — that wanted a place to come down and stay for a couple of nights and not just drive back and forth. Having it available for the community, there isn't anything else in Eagle Point right now that has lodging. So it's the perfect fit."

The chalets, with balconies facing Mount McLoughlin, will be near the ninth green, where the original clubhouse and pro shop stood. Construction by the Ausland Group is expected to cost nearly $1.1 million.

The Chalets are on a smaller scale than the grandiose plans former owners and developers announced in fall 2005. R.W. Hertel & Sons of Ventura, California, had planned to build a $25 million resort with hotel, spa and bungalows on 9.85 acres on the south side of the golf course along Alta Vista Road. That project was abandoned in summer 2008.

"That was too big of a plan for what the community could handle," Hyer said. "We're not trying to be a destination resort."

What the Hyers have in mind is something suited for golfers and community event guests, who would prefer not driving into Medford following play or dinner.

"Phase II and Phase III are going to be great destination places," Hyer said. "Not only for golf, but to go up to Crater Lake, to go fishing, to go to the wineries, to go to the (Oregon) Shakespeare Festival. They can play some golf and go to Crater Lake in the afternoon. They can come here, play golf and go to Shakespeare with their families in the evening."

An added draw during the wetter months, he said, is that the Robert Trent Jones-designed course is the best-draining course in the Northwest.

"We had a lot of rain this last week, yet the course played like it was dry," Hyer said. "There are courses in Bend, Eugene, Portland, Klamath Falls and even Northern California that are closing (during rainy periods) or not playable this time of year. We're going to get a large portion of those people in the off-season."

Another draw is that many of the senior citizens and retirees living around the course don't have enough room to house all the family members who visit during the holidays or on vacations.

"Now, they'll have a place to stay with their families if they don't want to stay with grandpa and grandma," he said.

Hyer said he intends to accommodate reservation requests he's received for early May.

"We're anticipating a high-occupancy rate because it will be a unique place, not only for golfers, but the whole community," Hyer said.

The first 12 units will be a mix of hotel-style rooms and suites. The buildings are 1,776 square feet with roughly 880 square feet on each floor. The rooms will have gas fireplaces and a wet bar, but no kitchen facilities. Lodging will require a manager, housekeepers, a night auditor, bookkeeper, marketing team and a landscape and building maintenance manager. 

Down the road, plans call for another eight chalet rooms and a 22- to 24-unit lodge. The present pavilion used during tournaments, weddings and other events will be replaced by a larger one.

Former Travel Medford senior vice president Anne Jenkins, now development and marketing director for the Ausland Group, said the chalets bring a new element of lodging to the Rogue Valley.

"It's really a unique boutique because it's 12 chalets that are out amongst a golf course, and it's more of a destination feel than in the past," Jenkins said. "Most of the hotels that we have in the Rogue Valley area are hotel/motels, not in the setting of a destination area."

The Hyers have made a point to weave the golf course into the local fabric, and it's paid off. 

"There was a disconnect from the golf course to the community," Hyer said. "I feel like we've been able to bring that together by working with the community and city of Eagle Point and create a nice destination place, not only for the people coming from out of town. But a lot of people from in town are coming to the restaurant, coming to check out events. We have weddings to celebration of life events for the VA cemetery. All of the things that come around, we're able to create an experience for them."

When golfers fly from out of state en route to the renowned Bandon Dunes, Hyer believes they'll want to check out his course, too. Lodging on the 182-acre course makes it an easier sell after the trip to the south coast.

"When we have a place for them to stay," he said, "it's easy to get them to fly in and out of Medford when they want to go to Bandon."

— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

Overnight lodging is planned for a section of vacant land at the entrace to the Eagle Point Golf Course. Mail Tribune / Denise Baratta