The Trouble in Tamarack
Just a year ago I was writing about booming sales at the Tamarack Resort in Donnelly, Idaho. Now a Wall Street Journal article reports that the luxury ski resort is in big trouble now that financing for the project has dried up.
Tamarack was welcomed with acclaim when it was announced in 2003 and so far buyers have committed more than $500 million for condos, houses and building sites bringing a big rush of Aspen-style prosperity to the area. Tennis stars Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf were attached to building a luxury hotel complex, the Fairmont Tamarack Local stores and restaurants flourished, jobs abounded and rents rose. But last winter the building slowed. The ski town's lifts still ran but tourism fell and unemployment rose.
Things started to go south around a year ago when the investor who had already put up money for the Fairmont Tamarack decided not to put up any more money for the project. This led the developers to slow construction. Combine this with the nationwide real estate droop and you have a recipe for a boom town gone bust. Tamarack went into default on its loan payments to the Credit Suisse bank and business entities involved in the project have filed for bankruptcy. Credit Suisse then followed with a foreclosure suit and is now looking to take over Tamarack's majority-ownership stake. The town, which was once a timber town and was hoping for an economic resurgence is now grappling with seeing tourism cut in half and the eyesore of an unfinished base village for the ski resort. The resort still expects to run lifts over the winter but the dream of a new prosperous winter resort town in Idaho is dead for the moment.