Tamarack Resort Shuts Down
Last July, we first heard about trouble at the Tamarack Resort in Donnelly, Idaho, now the luxury resort is officially closed. Tamarack was welcomed with acclaim when it was announced in 2003 and buyers 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. Former President George W. Bush visited the resort for a summer hike in 2005. But a year ago, building slowed, the ski town's lifts still ran but tourism fell and unemployment rose.
Things started to go south over 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. An AP report reveals that the resort has lost $2.8 million since October when a California-based receiver began running it. The receiver has told a state judge that his company will use $1.7 million in new funding "to mothball the place."
Tamarack has seven ski lifts but of 2,100 planned residences just 250 are completed and other structures including residences, a mountain lodge and a village plaza remain partly finished. A small group of homeowners at Tamarack is trying to find a way to keep at least part of the resort open such as the health club. The homeowners association will keep the area open for owners. Some are angry about buying into a development which is, for the foreseeable future, a bit of a ghost town. Others think its just a matter of time before the economy rebounds and a developer with money to spend gets excited about Tamarack and finishes the project.
Gallery: Towers in Trouble