Failed Tamarack gets new suitors
Published: July 25,2011
A Swiss bank has ended exclusive talks with an Idaho investor over Tamarack Resort, but homeowners with property at the failed vacation getaway say they have been approached by new suitors.
The details were disclosed in an internal email by the Tamarack Municipal Association obtained July 22 by The Associated Press.
Credit Suisse Group is no longer talking exclusively with Green Valley Idaho, the investor group led by Matthew Hutcheson of Eagle, after weeks of discussions failed to reach a deal to buy control of a $250 million construction loan that’s in default.
The loan is a key piece for anybody looking to resurrect Tamarack’s ski and real-estate operation.
Now, newcomers with an eye on picking up Tamarack assets for pennies on the dollar, including its unfinished retail and condominium village and more than 2,000 vacation home sites, are jockeying for position as a foreclosure case advances through the courts.
“Green Valley remains in the hunt although not as Credit Suisse’s exclusive offer,” Tamarack Municipal Association attorney Steve Lord told homeowners in the note obtained by the AP. “Staff have been approached by several new, prospective buyers all of whom seem to be interested in finding a path to aggregation of all assets and getting the resort restarted.”
Lord told the AP that none of the prospective buyers had agreed to be disclosed publicly.
To win control of the resort before it goes to a foreclosure auction, prospective buyers like Hutcheson must come up with money to buy the loan but also convince roughly 40 members of the Credit Suisse-led lending consortium to all sign off on the final details, including a price destined to be a fraction of the original loan’s value.
Hutcheson originally offered $40 million.
Resolving those difficulties has complicated completion of a transaction for the property that’s still viewed by investors as extremely risky: The speculative vacation real-estate in isolated central Idaho with ski-and-recreation operations is unlikely to produce significant profits for years to come.
Hutcheson said July 22 he still wants to buy Tamarack, despite expiration of the exclusivity agreement on July 7.
“Credit Suisse has always been able to discuss this matter with others except for a one-week period earlier this month,” Hutcheson said. “We have seen interested parties come and go, and are not concerned about that either. We have, and always will be, committed to final acquisition of Tamarack.”
Credit Suisse declined to comment on discussions with any prospective buyers of the loan.
The future of the resort 90 miles north of Boise in the central Idaho mountains has been in doubt since 2008 when it defaulted on the Credit Suisse syndicate’s loan. Its French-born majority owner, Jean-Pierre Boespflug, remains on the lam after skipping a state court hearing in June. He is racking up court fines of up to $5,000 a day.
Meanwhile, Bank of America is still trying to tear out two ski lifts it owns but hasn’t been paid for.
Earlier this week, the bank’s leasing division won permission from a planning commission in Valley County to remove the lifts without going through hearings to get special permits, though Bank of America first must fulfill 11 provisions designed to protect homeowners who desperately want those lifts to stay put.
The Tamarack homeowners could still appeal the commission’s decision, a move that could delay Bank of America from tearing out the lifts for weeks or even months. Lord said he was still weighing the options.
“In the meantime, several interested parties have approached (Bank of America) about buying and leaving the lifts in place as part of their efforts to acquire the entire resort,” according to his internal email to Tamarack Municipal Association members.
Brad Goergen, Bank of America’s lawyer in Seattle, didn’t return a phone call.
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