GREER — Something very big is happening in Greer, Arizona!
An investment trio is nearing the completion of their two-year-long project named “Lost Resorts” in Greer.
Note that the name has an S on the end of it because there is more than one resort planned.
Mike Harvey, Nathan Lawson and Jeff Saffer have transformed the former location of the Historic Greer Lodge into their unique resort. The historic lodge burned in the early morning hours of Tuesday, May 10, 2011, and was owned by Doug Sandahl at the time. It was built in 1948.
Saffer, a Tucson-based attorney who owns other properties in Greer, purchased the site shortly after the fire. Just 11 years later, that prized piece of land is being transformed into a place that will likely become a destination for travelers and locals alike.
The crown jewel of the resort is a 200-year-old barn the investors located in Maine and purchased on eBay. The barn was in rough condition and was disassembled and moved to Greer piece by piece, like “Lincoln Logs.”
The barn was put back together by Lawson and his talented construction team.
The reassembly was very difficult, according to Lawson, but the final result is stunning.
“Okay, so the barn comes from Bath, Maine,” said Lawson. “And it’s all mortise and tenon with wooden pegs. It all fits together and is 200 years old. We try to use as much reclaimed material as we can. We went ahead and used reclaimed roofing from Montana.”
The floor of the large barn is white cedar that was cut at Glacier National Park in Montana.
“As a matter of fact, we got a really cool video of our guy cutting it. He has 500 acres right there at Glacier. A lot of the exterior siding we did source locally, but besides that, it’s hard to find mortise and tenon barns in Arizona. It just didn’t happen,” Lawson said.
The very large barn was transformed into a wide-open space with a tall ceiling, huge chandlers overhead and five large garage-type doors on one side. The big doors open to allow fresh air into the barn. Even when the mostly glass doors are closed the view of the beautiful Greer Valley can still be seen from anywhere in the barn.
Harvey called the view from the barn the resort’s “money view” and it is spectacular.
“This will be our dining area with a 40-foot-long table that’s coming in that we went and had custom built in Montana. We went and picked up the slabs and so we’re going to have a big long 40-foot table. Each one of these pods (on the side of the long table) is going to be filled with furniture, like couches, chairs, little love seats and different lounging areas,” said Harvey.
The view is something that convinced the three partners to pursue this project.
“So over here obviously is our ‘money view’ and this is where it all happens. We obviously put these garage doors in so, when it gets a little chilly, we can just drop those down. If the wind’s blowing, we can just drop them and we have heaters and all that stuff piped in,” said Harvey.
He said the space would be great for weddings and music festivals.
As the barn is 200 years old, in contrast the kitchen area has been added seamlessly to the side of the barn and built inside several shipping containers. While the idea of shipping containers might sound unpleasant, the construction team has transformed them into an eye-pleasing and functional work area. It is something that must be examined to be believed.
“On the back area here, we made it out of shipping containers. Our whole design initially was that we were going to do shipping container units (like cabins) down there. And then the county and Greer said no. Nathan (Lawson) is a general contractor, but he is just amazing when putting all this metal work together,” Harvey said. “I’m liking the way it is. Yeah, it looks really nice. I love those big metal doors.”
Activities planned next season at the resort include hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, fishing guides, horse guides, live music festivals, food, desserts, lots of activities for children and good old-fashioned relaxation.
The property will no doubt become a “destination wedding” location.
With the old lodge burnt, accommodations were needed for people to stay in. There are 11 cabins under construction in the lower area of the property, just below the barn. The cabins are nestled next to several of the best trout fishing ponds in the Greer area. One of the cabins even has a babbling creek running under it.
“We have 11 units going up this season and they will be ready to open next season. Then we have another seven or eight going up next year,” said Harvey.
In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic a lot of service industry businesses are struggling to survive.
Ironically, the pandemic was one of the leading reasons the partners put this project together. It’s the reason that the entire resort is open and airy.
“No, I think COVID opened the opportunity for a venue like this, really,” said Harvey. “People are looking to get outdoors and experience the outdoors during COVID. That’s what we’re creating here. It is an outdoor paradise.”
With the activities mostly based outdoors (like fishing, hiking and biking), Harvey said, “Glamping became a very popular trend in COVID, and this is a very upscale version of the glamping experience.”
To kick off the construction of Lost Resorts, a special music festival is planned for Saturday, Oct. 23. The all-day Fall Festival will feature a herd of area musicians performing all day long.
Some of those scheduled to appear include Jacqui Forman, Ryan David Orr and Cheyenne Steele. Performances are planned to start at 10 a.m. and last until 10 p.m.
While it might become rather chilly in Greer in late-October, festival goers are encouraged to bring a warm coat and a portable lawn chair.
Early bird tickets are $10 while admission is $15 at the door. Food, beer and wine will be available to purchase at the festival.