New resort development approved at Marble Canyon
MARBLE CANYON, Ariz. — After a presentation and short discussion March 9, the Coconino County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved rezoning Marble Canyon that will enable a California-based developer to renovate and expand the remote lodge and trading post.
The Hansji Corporation has partner with the Foster family, the long-time owners of the Marble Canyon Lodge and Trading Post, to bring a sustainable resort development to the 162-acre property.
The family-run business has a long history of urban hospitality projects, but has selected the Marble Canyon area as one of three “Terra Vi” developments that focuses on more purposeful, sustainable and nature inspired resorts.
“All are in beautiful iconic locations, which require a lot of care,” said Alan Flatt, president of Terra Vi.
The developers said in addition to sustainability, community is an important focus of the organization.
“Most of the employees are currently members of the Navajo Nation and other tribes, and we’re really excited about this — the culture, the history, the opportunities for employment, for education and growth — and we really want to continue that tradition and grow it as the business grows.”
Coconino County District 5 Supervisor Lena Fowler, who represents the Marble Canyon district, said she toured the property with the developers and was pleased with what she saw.
“It’s very well thought-out, just the layout, the sustainability, the use of existing structures and improving those that need to be improved,” she said.
Flatt said the facility will have reduced energy needs and have a low carbon footprint. Any new buildings will have passive design features to keep buildings cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
“We will have solar panels to produce energy and we will reduce water usage through both education and actual physical means when we are developing the property,” he said.
Landscaping will include native plants and the use of recycled rainwater, and there will be limited asphalt and concrete on the property.
Water will come from an existing well on Glen Canyon National Recreation Area property.
For wastewater, the developer plans to have a central wastewater system that would serve the development using water conservation features including enhanced low volume components, reclaimed water and treated greywater.
The facility plans to educate visitors about minimizing their impacts on the area.
“We support Leave No Trace principles,” he said. “We really believe in keeping people on trails, leaving no trash, picking up trash if they see it, not stepping on plants and protecting the wildlife.”
The current property has the lodge, trading post, gas station, an airplane landing strip, a post office, some residences and several historic structures.
Plans include enlarging the existing lodge, and adding additional lodging that include extended-stay and multi-family units, with new lodging units south of the highway. Lodging options would include 62 lodge units, 92 guest room units, 31 village units and six workforce apartments.
The facility will be designed to cater to those just passing through the area or as a destination travel location.
The developers are open to future expansion which could include more food and beverage options, retail shops and conference retreat facilities.
In addition to working with the Native American community, the developer plans to maintain relationships with entities such as Grand Canyon Conservancy, the Peregrine Fund and the Vermillion Cliffs community, in addition to local fishing, kayaking and river running companies.
“Our goal is to partner with them and have our guests have amazing experiences with locals who know this area and have been there for years,” Flatt said.
The developers have already begun working with the National Park Service, including Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, to create plans to protect the resources and assist with emergency services.
“This is a new opportunity for both us and the Foster family and really Marble Canyon,” Flatt said. “It’s an old facility with a lot of history.”