The concept - complete with waterfalls, a digital tunnel and mazes - was inspired by property owner Ken Hunter's trip to Canada's famed Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia, 40 years ago.
remembers the trip for "just the spectacular beauty," he
Hunter, a co-owner of Hunter Ranch Golf Course across the highway, said he purchased the land a few years ago for about $4 million in a foreclosure from local hotelier King Ventures.
It was then that he
decided to take the project in a slightly different direction and rebrand it as Entrada de Paso Robles - an entrance to the city.
"It's been 10 years, and previous owners have tried to attract a hotel developer unsuccessfully even before the recession in 2008," Hunter
"I thought that I needed a unique attraction to distinguish Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo County from other resorts people are used to going to."
has the OK to develop approximately 132 acres of the 386-acre property to phase in 200 hotel rooms, 80 detached casita bungalows, a 15,000-square-foot conference center and a cafe, a detached wine center and a three-hole executive golf training academy.
now needs the city Planning Commission to amend an existing permit to allow for the gardens, which fall in line with the parks, open space and agricultural uses the land is currently zoned for.
did not disclose how much the proposed project would cost.
"We knew that water was a priority and revising the project we had to do everything we possibly could to reduce usage," he
By replacing the golf course with the gardens, Hunter
will be able to reduce the site's approved water consumption by 58 percent, he
The indoor-outdoor attraction will have features inside with "mazes, optical illusions and things that are physical and not dependent on computers outdoors for a calmer and more intellectual experience," Hunter