Following a successful summer season, development of the Andermatt resort in the heart of the Swiss Alps is continuing at a rapid pace.
In November, the resort - which is at the centre of the largest development project in the Alps - will begin the initial launch of the Gotthard Residences, a block of 90 luxury properties ranging from studios to three-bedroom and penthouse apartments and a four star 180-room Radisson Blu Hotel.
The Gotthard Residences were designed by renowned architects Burkhalter & Sumi and aim to provide owners and visitors with a hotel-style service, which includes a wellness centre, conference facilities, bars and restaurants.
In walking distance there is also a concert hall which, once open in spring 2019, will be one of Switzerland's leading music venues.
Apartments in the residences are still available to investors, although approximately 50% have already been sold. As well as being able to enjoy their apartments, buyers are invited to enter the optional rental programme.
Andermatt Swiss Alps is currently offering investors who enter the rental programme a guaranteed Return on Investment of 3% for the first three years after purchase.
The resort says that the majority of buyers are Swiss, but that the number of international purchasers is increasing as more British, German and Dutch discover the resort situated in the Ursern Valley.
Overseas investors purchasing in Andermatt benefit from an exemption to the ‘Lex Koller’ law – granted by the Uri Canton due to the size and unique nature of the project. This means that there are no limitations or special permits on international purchases and buyers are able to sell with no minimum holding period.
A seamless switch between skiing and summer
As well as providing state-of-the-art skiing facilities for visitors, Andermatt is becoming a popular summer location for tourists.
The resort's premier summer attraction is its 18-hole 72 par championship golf course - which was named Switzerland's best golf course in 2016 and 2017.
Summer visitors are also able to hike, mountain bike, climb, fish and paraglide while enjoying the picturesque Alps scenery and warm climate.
Meta Vonessen, who works at Andermatt in both the summer and winter seasons, said ease of access was one of the biggest advantages Andermatt had over other resorts in the Alps. "One of Andermatt’s biggest draws, aside from having some of the most highly recorded yearly snow averages, is that it is also one of the easiest resorts to access in the Alps from both Zurich and Milan airports, around 90 minutes to 2 hours from door to door."
She also added that visitors can expect a similarly good experience whether they visit in winter or summer. "In summer we have a fantastic championship golf course to play on. Further (to that) there is hiking, road and mountain biking, rock climbing and driving the three passes on Andermatt’s doorstep is also a highlight. In winter the ski area offers fantastic terrain for on and off piste skiing and snowboarding. The resort has also invested in an extensive network of snowmaking to make it a snow sure destination."
"Furthermore, the valley has wonderful cross country skiing tracks and winter walking tracks which are also used for Fat biking (a type of off-road cycling)," she continued. "The town itself is a quintessential Swiss Alpine village, offering a nice mix of restaurants and bars, so there is always plenty to do."
The resort has reported a busy summer 2018 season - thanks largely to prolonged good weather which allowed the golf course to remain open and be maintained to a high standard for the duration of the season.
The opening of the Gotthard Residences and Radisson Blu Hotel later this year, followed by the concert hall next spring, are expected to bolster visitor numbers ahead of the summer 2019 season.
"The Gotthard Residences and Radisson Blu hotel will open this winter, offering high-end serviced hotel and residential apartments," Russell Collins, sales director at Andermatt Swiss Alps, commented.
"The property will be completed with a full range of facilities and services, such as a luxurious spa centre, international restaurant and top of the range conference facilities. The 700 seated concert hall will open in March 2019."
He said that, owing to the upgraded skiing facilities in Andermatt, they are expecting a significant increase in occupancy over the winter season - with the addition of 180 rooms and 100 apartments helping to accommodate this uptick in the number of guests to the resort.
"Outside of the ski season, we expect the property will be a popular destination for conferences and corporate events, owing to the flexible in-house facilities," Collins added. "The new property will form the centre piece of the whole resort and be completed along with our new piazza, which will host a range of shops, restaurants, cafes and a bakery. This will inevitably form the hub of the resort and be a hive of activity around the year."
Due to proximity, Swiss and German tourists remain the most common in Andermatt. However, the resort says there is a growing number of Brits and Scandinavians visiting, while the number of Middle Eastern holidaymakers is also on the rise.
Demand for apartments has increased significantly in 2018, with sales volume in the first-half of the year already surpassing the total volume from 2017. "Upgraded year-round facilities are now in place and this has acted as a major catalyst for larger volumes of buyers to join our community of owners," Collins went on.
In his view, demand will continue to grow and he is fully optimistic that sales volume in 2019 will 'test our present inventory'.
"We are seeing growth in demand from international buyers and I suspect this will continue over the next year, as the appeal and awareness of the resort continues to improve, particularly as many of the key elements that make-up the wider project (the Ski Arena Andermatt-Sedrun and the link to Disentis, the concert hall in Andermatt, as well as various hotels) are completed."
Skiing to take centre stage once more in 2019
Costing around CHF 130 million, the region's ski facilities have also been undergoing huge improvement and redevelopment as part of the project, which is now estimated to have attracted a total investment of CHF 1.8 billion.
Once complete, Andermatt skiers will be able to benefit from over 120 kilometres of slopes, getting around using 24 lifts (14 of which are new, with the remaining seven replacements for existing lifts).
This last 18 months has seen the opening of several new ski lifts, including a gondola system which takes visitors up to the top of the Nätschen mountain, which means the link between the Andermatt and Sedrun ski areas is now operational.
The next stage – opening in the winter 2018/19 season – will see a gondola cableway connecting Oberalppass to the Schneehuenerstock.
A luxury resort with sustainable values
Alongside being a high quality and serene Alps retreat, the resort in Andermatt prides itself on having a sustainable focus.
All properties are built to meet the MINERGIE standard, a recognised Swiss building standard which promotes sustainable and ecologically-designed buildings offering reduced energy consumption.
Car parking is also limited to under the resort’s centre - which not only helps to reduce congestion, but limits pollution in key areas.
What's more, carbon-neutral wood pellets are used for heating the resort's properties and there is also extensive use of local hydroelectric power sources.
“Andermatt offers something quite unique," Collins concludes. "The opportunity to be part of a very exciting local growth story in one of the world’s most stable economies, Switzerland. This is a rare opportunity and ticks a lot of boxes for investors, who are generally seeking growth in capital values without taking disproportionate risks."
Andermatt Swiss Alps holds an exemption from the Lex Koller legislation, enabling overseas investors to buy, own, rent and even resell property in the development without any constraints.