MARCH DEVELOPMENT UPDATES - March 19th, 2007
West of Steamboat - Brown Property
The 540 acre Brown property (which was owned by longtime local residents Steve and Mary Brown) was sold on March 19th to Steamboat 700 LLC, for $24.6 million. This property has long been seen as the catalyst for the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan. Steamboat 700 LLC project manager Danny Mulcahy said that the new owners will work with the community to provide a neighborhood development that will include rental, attainable and market rate housing. He also thought that it would be at least two years before any housing is built. When fully completed, the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan envisions between 1,100 and 2,600 homes.
Wildhorse Meadows- Trailhead Lodge
On March 20th, the Steamboat Springs City Council approved a 86 unit condominium building in the master planned Wildhorse Meadows project on the mountain. Construction will begin on the 173,000 square foot building this summer.
Trappeur’s Crossing- Phase 6
On March 20, the Steamboat Springs City Council approved the final phase planned for the Trappeur’s Crossing development. Phase 6 will be a 34 unit condominium building on the mountain. This 88,000 square foot building will include four affordable on-site deed restricted units.
Steamboat Ski Area is SOLD - March 2nd, 2007
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. employees went to work this morning for a new owner — one that has the deep pockets never possessed by American Skiing Co.
Intrawest finalized its $265 million purchase of the Steamboat Ski Area on Thursday, and Ski Corp. President Chris Diamond was quick to note what his new bosses bring to the table.
“I think it will be the same kind of operations,” Diamond said. “That’s the good news, but the added good news is we’re going to have more resources across the board, and one of those resources is financial.”
Fortress Investments acquired Intrawest last year for $2.8 billion, giving Intrawest access to a new source of capital. Many look at what Intrawest has done at its other resorts and see it as a sign that the company will invest significantly in both the ski area and the base area, something ASC was unable to do because of its crippling debt.
Diamond, mentioned some of the improvements that already are part of the ski area’s master plan, including re-grading of the beginner terrain at the base of the mountain and building a six-passenger lift from the base area to Thunderhead.
Intrawest has “been around a long time, we’ve been successful a long time, and none of us got here by being either cavalier or frivolous with the kind of investments we are going to make,” Barry said. “You will see that we will be very careful, and one of my personal concerns is managing the level of expectation from within the community because there are probably some people in Steamboat that are expecting the Wells Fargo truck to pull up with the bags and bags of money, but it’s important to make the right decision at the right time for the future of the resort.”
Barry said one of the most valuable assets Intrawest has purchased is the existing Ski Corp. management team and staff.
“We think the way Doug Allen and his team maintain lifts here is probably the best in the world,” Barry said. “The air program is unique and extremely successful.”
Barry also reiterated a point made by previous Intrawest officials — that they did not purchase Steamboat Ski Area for the redevelopment opportunities. Intrawest, Barry said, is interested in Steamboat’s ski business.
Thursday’s deal between Intrawest and American Skiing Co. brings an end to ASC’s 10-year run as the resort’s owner. Included in the sale are the resort and all resort-owned operations, all of Steamboat’s resort-owned real estate assets, the commercial core of the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel and the company’s interest in the Walton Pond Apartments complex.
With the Steamboat purchase, Intrawest now has interests in 11 North American ski resorts. It owns Copper Mountain and manages Winter Park, which is owned by the city and county of Denver. Barry, who started working for Intrawest in 1991 as director of marketing and sales for Tremblant, oversees the U.S. operations.
Fortress Investments became a publicly traded company Feb. 9. It was the first U.S. hedge fund and private equity firm to go public. The price of the stock doubled on the day of the initial public offering, going from $18.50 to $35 a share. The IPO on the New York Stock Exchange raised about $635 million and gave stockholders an 8.6 percent stake in the company. Fortress is a profitable company, collecting about $255 million in management fees in 2006. In total, the company manages about $30 billion in investments. Shares of Fortress (FIG) were down 3.65 percent Thursday, closing at $29.07.