BY DAN GALLAGHER for The Star-News
The new owners of most of Tamarack Resort will be spending some money this year to shine up the resort, a spokesman for the new owners said.
Planned work includes painting the chairlifts, staining buildings, fixing the snowmaking systems and other chores that could not be done while the resort was caught up in foreclosure proceedings, said David Papiez of New TR Acquisition Co., known as New TRAC.
“They are smaller projects that won’t necessarily be that obvious individually, but collectively will improve the guest experience,” said Papiez, who was the sole employee of Tamarack Resort LLC during the final years of foreclosure proceedings.
Papiez declined to reveal how much money would be spent on the improvements.
New TRAC was formed by Credit Suisse AG, which acquired most of the resort at a foreclosure sale on March 10.
Nothing has been ruled out by New TRAC, including long-term management and operation of the resort southwest of Donnelly, Papiez said.
“Evaluation of these options will take some time, but New TRAC is committed to charting a successful path for Tamarack,” he said.
The new company has hired Replay Resorts of Vancouver, B.C., to help run the day-to-day operations of the resort.
Back Into Real Estate
The new owners are also tip-toeing back into the real estate market. This summer, four cottages were placed on the market for sale, with the release of additional cottages and townhomes to follow, Papiez said.
Looking ahead, possible projects include completion of the 13,000 square-foot Mid-Mountain Lodge that sits empty at the top of the Tamarack Express chairift, he said.
“That’s one of those next-step items part of strategizing on where to take the resort,” Papiez said. “The Mid-Mountain Lodge is definitely one of those high on the list.”
Credit Suisse acquired the resort after Tamarack Resort LLC became insolvent in 2008 and defaulted on a $250 million loan from Credit Suisse to continue building the resort.
Not included in the acquisition was Village Plaza, the incomplete complex of condo and commercial space that has become the symbol of the resort’s woes.
Village Plaza was acquired last September by UWW, LLC, an entity formed by a group of contractors with liens on the property that is led by Banner Sabey, the Seattle construction company that was the general contractor on the project before work was halted in 2008.
Banner Sabey is watching what New TRAC does before restarting work at Village Plaza, said Michael Dunne, the principal officer in Banner Sabey.
“Really, the ball is in their court,” Dunne said. “That’s all I really know.”
New TRAC has no immediate plans to change the current arrangement with the Tamarack Municipal Association of homeowners that has been operating the ski mountain and Osprey Meadows Golf Course, Papiez said.
Although the steps are small, Papiez sees any movement as positive.
“For the first time in six years, Tamarack is under financially stable ownership. That is one of the big headlines right now,” he said.
After so many years of uncertainty, resolving Tamarack’s future is not like flipping a light switch, Papiez said.
“We want to make sure everything is handled in a very considerate fashion,” he said “so that at the end of the day, Tamarack will continue on as a going concern and as a significant contributor to the Valley County economy.”