While with The Estes Co., Kim Richards, along with members of his senior management team, developed the award-winning Loews Ventana Canyon Resort nestled in the Santa Catalina foothills of Tucson, Arizona. The property opened in December 1984.
Inspired by the architectural principles of Frank Lloyd Wright and the grand resorts of the 1930s, this 398-room destination resort is the keystone element of the 1,042-acre Ventana Canyon master-planned resort and residential community, which also includes a retail center, garden office, high-end residential, two 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed championship golf courses, meeting, banquet and exhibition space, fine dining, hiking and bike trails, a luxury spa, a health and fitness center, three swimming pools and 10 tennis courts.
The design of the resort reflects the richly varied Sonoran Desert landscape and incorporates the unique natural attributes of the Arizona desert. The hotel's ribbed façade of exposed aggregate block and vertical towers reflect the indigenous geological formations of the surrounding Saguaro cactus forests.
In 1987, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort received the ULI Award for Excellence. This award, given annually by the Urban Land Institute, recognizes development projects that exemplify superior design, relevance to contemporary issues and needs, resourceful utilization of the land while improving the quality of the living environment and economic success. The ULI award states that the "Loews Ventana Canyon Resort represents a first-class design solution in an environmentally sensitive area. The project reflects the preservation and enhancement of the desert landscape. Loews Ventana Canyon Resort has been a major force in changing, upgrading and establishing Tucson as a destination resort area."