New Operators, Full Dance Card for M.V. Telluride Conference Center
by Martinique Davis
Jan 14, 2010 | 2436 views | 1 1 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MOUNTAIN VILLAGE – The end of the year marked a new chapter for the Mountain Village’s Telluride Conference Center. In November, the town transferred operation of the ten-year-old facility to Alchemy Hospitality Group, an event-planning company.

Alchemy partner Meehan Fee, the new general manager of the Telluride Conference Center, reports the operational change has already succeeded in stimulating business in the sometimes-sleepy Conference Center.

Alchemy has filled out the rest of the 2010 winter calendar with events ranging from everything from training sessions for local business employees to evening kids’ parties to concerts (like Tuesday night’s Wailers show) and large corporate meetings.

“We feel the Telluride Conference Center is an integral part of the economic vitality of the region, and we thought we could infuse it with more life,” Fee says of herself and fellow Alchemy partners Jake Linzinmeir and Tony Kalyk’s decision to enter a proposal to manage the facility when Mountain Village solicited proposal requests back in August. “This facility was built to be utilized by the community, and we feel it’s our duty to provide that,” Fee says.

The Town of Mountain Village signed a five-year contract with Alchemy in November, assigning the group as the Conference Center’s exclusive manager and operator. Under the agreement, Alchemy is responsible for most of the facility’s associated costs while the town remains the owner of the facility and its assets.

The Conference Center, with 16,000-square-feet of rentable space, has historically experienced financial losses due to fixed operating costs that were not covered by sufficient revenues. If the town had continued to operate the Conference Center in the coming years, reports a Mountain Village press release, the subsidy was projected at $470,000 for 2010 and escalating to as much as $500,000 for 2011. With this new agreement, the town will realize significant savings now and into the future.

“We hope for a much smaller subsidy over the next five years,” said Greg Sparks, Mountain Village Town Manager. “The more events Alchemy books, the closer the town’s subsidy gets to zero.”

Under the agreement, Alchemy will keep 100% of all gross revenue derived from its operations of the Conference Center but is obligated to pay the town up to a maximum of 5% from revenues. The town will continue to pay all Franz Klammer HOA dues and any major capital repairs and replacements. Further, all utilities will be paid by the town through December 31, 2011, when Alchemy will take over those responsibilities.

For Alchemy’s part, the Conference Center takeover represents an exciting opportunity to help bolster the regional economy.

“The biggest challenge the Conference Center faces is the same challenge our destination itself faces, and that is its accessibility,” says Fee. “While the Telluride region is remote, at the same time it’s an amazing place to visit – if people have a reason to come. Our responsibility [as operators of the Conference Center] is to create the business and the pull to bring more people into community. Ultimately we want to help make this a destination that is vital and active and can draw amazing employees, and keep them here.”

Alchemy’s partners are intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations of driving business in the ski resort market, with each boasting experience in the hospitality, restaurant, group marketing and conference related fields; Linzinmeir and Kalyk run local restaurants The Bluepoint Grill & Noir Bar, The Excelsior Café and Chair 8/X Café, while Fee is the owner of Alpenglow Event Management. Other partners include Jeffrey Zogg and Doug Leiber of Azul Group.

“We want this Conference Center to be a driving force in the community,” says Fee. “We think it can be, and we’re looking forward to making that happen.”

For more information about the Telluride Conference Center or to book an event, contact

Fee at meehan@tellurideconference.com, 369-4760, or 369-6400.
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January 16, 2010
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