New Hope For Tamarack Resort?
In May 2009, Tamarack Resort in Donnelly, Idaho officially closed but now there is potential hope for a new buyer. A Salt Lake City real estate investment company, Pelorus Group, has expressed interest in buying the resort which was closed mid-construction amid massive debt. The resort has remained in bankruptcy court and the current owners still owe $300 million to a syndicate of lenders led by Credit Suisse Group, as well as facing unpaid bills from builders, contractors and suppliers who worked on the project.
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 around the time of the start of the global recession in 2008 building slowed and eventually 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.
The loan syndicate led by Credit Suisse could accept the offer, take another one, or choose to hold on to the resort in the hopes that it will be worth more down the road. But for every season that the project remains fallow the odds of it springing back to life seem longer. Earlier this month homeowners at the resort asked the state to bring back ski lift operations next winter. The Tamarack Municipal Association wants to initiate a four-day, Thursday-through-Sunday ski season starting in December. The ski lifts stopped running in March 2009 and the resort failed to pay its $250,000 annual lease for state land where most ski runs are located.
Bramlette and others at Pelorus are named in a lawsuit filed in 2008 in federal court over the Teton Springs Golf & Casting Club, a development in Victor in eastern Idaho. Plaintiffs say that the company misrepresented the value of property. A trial for that case in U.S. District Court is scheduled for October 13. In the AP article Bramlette says that those investors lost money because of the slumping real estate market and are just trying to "recoup their money any way they can."