Stanley Hotel in Estes Park — inspiration for ‘The Shining’ — is being sold to an Arizona nonprofit

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, July 21, 2021.

The iconic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park is about to get a new owner.

John Cullen, whose Grand Heritage Hotel Group has owned the property since buying it out of bankruptcy in the 1990s, told the Colorado Economic Development Commission that he is selling the hotel. The Stanley is best known as the inspiration for “The Shining,” Stephen King’s classic horror novel that was made into the film starring Jack Nicholson.

The financial details of the deal are murky. The buyer is Community Finance Corporation, an Arizona-based non-profit that works with governments to build and maintain real estate projects. The group intends to issue as much as $475 million in bonds to purchase the property, pay off existing debt, renovate the hotel, and build the long-awaited Stanley Film Center. The new owner plans to use the property’s revenues to pay off all that new debt.

The Stanley Film Center, envisioned as a film venue and museum with a focus on the horror genre, has been in the works for a while. The project was approved for state funding in 2015 under Colorado’s Regional Tourism Act, a state program created in 2009 to attract out-of-state visitors following the recession brought on by the housing crisis. To qualify, a project had to show it was likely to substantially increase visitation to the state. The owners of the Stanley received $12 million through the program, according to the developer’s website.  

The project has reportedly run into numerous delays and has struggled to raise cash from private investors.