News & EventsMountain real estate sales fully recovered? Opinions seem to vary
Published Friday, September 26, 2014 Updated on Friday, September 26, 2014

Mountain real estate sales fully recovered? Opinions seem to vary

Is the recession completely over for mountain resort real estate sales?

The Telluride Watch cites two projects within Mountain Village, a project called the Villas at Cortina and a high-end hotel called Madeline, as evidence in the affirmative.

The villas are located below the gondola, and the recession hit as they were being built. The project was literally wrapped in white plastic until it was acquired by a Dallas-based investment group called Eastern Partners 2.5 years ago and construction resumed on the 12 units. Sales are now occurring.

The other evidence comes at the Hotel Madeline, which has 100 hotel rooms and 60 condos and the pampering service of a very, very high-end hotel. But it opened at the worst possible time and soon went into foreclosure.

The hotel has now been acquired by the Northview Hotel Group from the bank that has operated it since it went into foreclosure. This is the eighth acquisition by Northview in the last two years.

Upgrades, notes the Watch, will include improving the quality and marketability of the hotel's 50 residences, many of which currently sit empty.

"The Great Recession, which saw huge projects fail and employment plummet in the region, may finally be over," the Watch proclaims, perhaps with a touch of hope.

Intrawest, owner of the Steamboat ski area and other resorts, has recovered from several years ago, when it was staggering under a heavy debt load when it was sold at a price that assumed continued boisterous real estate sales. It survived after spinning off a few assets and this year issued an IPO. Now, it's back in the buying mode.

Steamboat Today reports that it plans to aquire the remaining 50 percent interest in Blue Mountain Resort in Ontario for $58 million Canadian dollars ($52 million U.S.). The resort is 90 miles from Toronto and despite its 360 acres size, is the thrid busiest ski area in Canada. Bill Jensen, chief executive of Intrawest, was quoted in a news release as saying that the purchase will allow for immediate cross-marketing with other Intrawest resorts.

The newspaper says Jensen was asked on a conference call with analysts about real estate development at its resorts. "Obviously, the majority of our land value sits at Tremblant and Steamboat, which is where we're focused," Jensen said. We're looking at different opportunities and possibilities."

He went on to say the company was seeing a gradual recovery of the real-estate market, but not the appropriate margins it needs to resume building.

"We're hoping to see that recovery continue over the next year or so, and if it does, I think it will help us move closer to some development opportunities on those real estate parcels," Jensen said.

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