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Event Heaven: Deluxe DeJoria Center Regales Mountain Visitors

DeJoria Center Great Lawn fire pit and Dance Barn

High Star Ranch in Kamas, Utah, didn’t start out to be the home of a high-end event space that houses everything from weddings to Sundance Film Festival showings.

The original plan in 2005, by primary investor John Paul DeJoria and his real estate partners Tom Grimmett and Mark Fischer, was a luxury equestrian residential development tucked into a mountain hideaway. And then the recession hit.

“We found that, during the recession we had a lot of interest from people that wanted to rent a barn on the property for weddings,” Mark says. “That led to the idea of an events center.”

ADAPTING TO GREATNESS

DeJoria Center Arena Concert Setup

The original plan for the DeJoria Center at High Star Ranch called for a $3 million renovation of the existing barn. The team brought in Rick Brighton with Brighton Architectural Group to develop the plan for the remodel. Rick had worked with Mark in the past on cabin properties and was excited for the evolutionary project.

“Superintendent Fred Lucas never said, ‘No.’ He said that if we wanted something, he would figure out how to do it.”
Mark Fischer
Partner with Tri Star, LLC – High Star Ranch

“It was a legacy project for me,” he says. “There was a lot of discussion that led to it being the size and scope that it is and it was an enjoyable challenge.”

What originally started as a plan to add some bathrooms and renovate the exterior turned into a $14 million masterpiece where every detail adds to the experience of guests.

“Whether it was the acoustics, the lighting, the stage or the kitchen, we paid for the best money could buy,” Mark says. “Don’t get me wrong. We did our research and made sure it was the best, but the long-term functionality was never compromised.”

RENEWING THE OLD

DeJoria Center Josephines Room

Not only did the building have to be adjusted for functionality — going from an equestrian holding facility to a lounge for Hollywood elites — but it had to be improved from an engineering standpoint. To accomplish this, Rick and his team developed an idea to support the walls of the existing barn with new construction, improving seismic strength and adding aesthetic beauty.

There was also the modern, technical version of a barn raising when Layton suggested adding more headroom for guests by bringing the roof to the maximum allowed height. “That was an idea suggested by Layton and it had significant architectural consequences,” Rick says. “It gives a better experience to everyone that walks in. It was a great design build job where we were able to work closely together with the owners and Layton to get the best results.”

FUNDING THE OPERATION