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Broadmoor's Bartolin on Anschutz: You couldn't find a better owner

September 15, 2011
photo - Phil Anschutz Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE

The Anschutz Corp. of Denver announced Thursday it is buying the famed Broadmoor resort and its parent company, The Oklahoma Publishing Co., for an undisclosed amount.

The publishing company will sell all of its assets to the Anschutz Corp. in early October. The company’s assets include newspaper and hotel properties.

“There are amazing similarities between the interests and values of The Anschutz Corporation and OPUBCO”  (Oklahoma Publishing Co.), OPUBCO CEO Christy Everest said in a press release issued Thursday by The Broadmoor.

Broadmoor president and CEO Steve Bartolin said he was excited about the change. He said the sale wouldn’t affect The Broadmoor’s 1,800 employees and that Philip Anschutz, the Denver billionaire owner of the Anschutz Corp., had committed to keeping the hotel independent, rather than affiliating it into a chain.

“If ownership was going to change, you couldn’t go to central casting and find a better owner,” Bartolin said of Anschutz.

Referring to The Broadmoor’s founder, Spencer Penrose, Bartolin said, “I can’t help but think Mr. Penrose is up there orchestrating this.”

Bartolin said Anschutz has shown a deep interest in the hotel and had expressed interest in buying the property several times before.

“The fact that Mr. Anschutz has studied and is passionate about our history and appreciates our past gives me great hope for our future,” he said.

Anschutz, listed by Forbes as the No. 34 wealthiest American — and Colorado’s richest — with a net worth of $7.5 billion, built his fortune in oil, rail lines and telecommunications. Today his holdings include sports teams, venues, concert promotion, movie theaters and movie production companies. His Clarity Media Group has been assembling media properties including newspapers under the Examiner name in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and the Weekly Standard magazine.

“I am extremely pleased with my new affiliation with The Broadmoor" Anschutz said in the press release. "I look foreward to working with Steve Barolin and his team in carrying out The Broadmoor’s legacy of excellence and commitment to the Colorado Springs community.”

Bartolin said Oklahoma Publishing has invested more than $350 million in The Broadmoor since buying it from Penrose’s El Pomar Foundation for $120 million in a series of transactions between 1988 and 2003.

Anschutz will be The Broadmoor’s fourth owner, after Penrose, El Pomar and Oklahoma Publishing. Bartolin said that continuity in ownership has been key to the hotel’s success.

“One of the reasons the hotel has been successful can be directly attributed to the quality and continuity of ownership, dating back to Mr. Penrose. Christy Everest and her family have been remarkable owners and stewards of this property,” Bartolin said.

The Broadmoor is in the midst of its best year since the recession began in 2008, in part as a result of hosting the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament in July, Bartolin said.

Doug Quimby, chairman of the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp., said keeping The Broadmoor independent means that it will continue to serve as both a magnet and a billboard for the broader community. He praised Anschutz’s business savvy and community involvement.

“They couldn’t have found a better buyer, I think,” Quimby said. “Anschutz is a Colorado guy. He’s obviously an excellent business person who doesn’t have to worry about things like capital.”

William J. Hybl, chairman and CEO of the El Pomar Foundation, said the sale was good news for The Broadmoor.

“Like Spencer Penrose, Phil Anschutz is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and passionate advocate for the well-being of all Coloradans,” Hybl said in a statement. “We wish Phil great success and are thrilled to see this Colorado jewel helmed by a true friend of the Centennial state.”

Steve Ducoff, executive director the Pikes Peak Lodging Association, said the news came as a complete surprise.

“I’m stunned,” Ducoff said. “Isn’t that amazing?”

Doug Price, CEO of the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he doesn’t expect Anschutz to make any immediate changes at The Broadmoor.

“I think probably the most important part is that it’s going to remain independent,” Price said. “The owner is here in Colorado. I think they’ve made a long-term commitment to maintaining The Broadmoor as an independent.”

Price said he expects Anschutz to keep The Broadmoor, rather than selling it off.

“I cannot imagine that he would spin off The Broadmoor,” Price said. “It’s got a proven formula of success and such a great track record — there’s no need to change what’s not broken.”

Dave Csintyan, president and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, said he believes the change in ownership will be a good thing for the community.

“The ownership is coming back to Colorado,” Csintyan said. “Phil Anschutz brings the resources, the pasion and a privately held entity to take the The Broadmoor forward. I think it’s very, very positive for Colorado Springs.”

Csintyan said that Anschutz’s plan to keep Bartolin and his leadership team on board was a tribute to their management of the hotel.

“That’s huge credit to the work that Steve and his team have done there,” he said. “This isn’t a run of the mill property that Anschutz has purchased.”

Mayor Steve Bach said having Colorado ownership for the hotel was important.

“The Anschutz Corporation’s purchase of the Broadmoor brings the ownership back to Colorado which is a good thing," Bach said in a statement. "I look forward to getting to know Mr. Anschutz and pleased that he is committed to keeping the Broadmoor an independent hotel.  We are fortunate that the hotel will remain in the capable hands of President and CEO Steve Bartolin.”

The sale also includes the Pikes Peak Cog Railway and Pavestone, a concrete products company based in Dallas that employs 27 people in Fountain.

The Broadmoor, the longest consecutive winner of both the highest ratings from Forbes and AAA, traces its roots to a casino built by a Prussian count on a former dairy farm in 1891 that later ended up into receivership and was converted into a boarding house. Penrose, a Philadelphia entrepreneur who made his fortune in gold and cooper mining, bought the site and built The Broadmoor there, opening the hotel in 1918. After Penrose died in 1939, El Pomar got The Broadmoor and the rest of his assets, which  included the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.

Under El Pomar’s ownership, The Broadmoor added the International Center and Broadmoor South in 1961, Broadmoor West in 1976 and Colorado Hall in 1982. Facing a May 1989 deadline set in a 1969 tax law to divest its ownership in The Broadmoor, El Pomar sold controlling interest in the resort to OPUBCO in 1988. Under OPUBCO’s ownership, The Broadmoor added ballrooms to Broadmoor West in 1994, built the West Tower and a new golf club in 1995, Broadmoor Hall as well as brownstones and condominiums in 2005.

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