Acreage at Canyons up for auction
Following a $54.5M judgment against Wolf Mountain in May, more than a thousand acres of land sitting underneath the Canyons Resort ski lifts will be sold in an auction next week. The auction includes 53 parcels of land, more than 1,000 acres, stretching from Canyons Drive to the very top of Canyons Resort land currently owned by Wolf Mountain Resort.
Representatives from Talisker, the privately owned company that operates Canyons, are expected to be at the auction, potentially bidding on property for sale and adding to what the company already owns, more than 13,000 acres throughout Summit County.
"There will be someone there for Talisker," said American Ski Company Utah lawyer, Kara Pettit. "I cannot say more as the case is still under litigation."
The sale is the result of a lawsuit between Wolf Mountain, the resort’s previous owner, and the ASC, Utah, Inc, the company running Canyons Resort and a subsidiary of Talisker Corp. Disputes arose over plans to develop a golf course. ASC, Utah filed a lawsuit claiming that was preventing previously-agreed development rights of the leased land and that Wolf Mountain was blocking the resort from building the golf course.
After years of court hearings and debate, a judge ruled in favor of ASC, Utah and awarded $54.5M in damages for possible lost profit. Despite a recent appeal made by Wolf Mountain regarding the case, the sale is scheduled to go forward on Tuesday.
The 53 parcels are scheduled to be sold as one package, and bidders must have money in hand. Revenues generated by the sale will be used to pay the judgment Wolf Mountain owes to ASC, Utah. The Sheriff’s Department issued a Writ of Execution, levying the property from Wolf Mountain in May.
"This is a unique case in that it’s one of the largest sales in Utah’s history," said Summit Count Deputy Sheriff Andrew Wright. "In part of the execution of levy, the state requires the Sheriff’s Office to post each parcel that’s for sale, and in this case there were 53 parcels that we were required to put notice of levy on."
Parcels of land range in size from less than five acres to more than 300 acres, even spilling into Salt Lake County.
Signs announcing the levy were posted on the properties last spring.
"All the state requires is that notice touches the land," Wright said. "There’s no exception."
Because last winter season saw such heavy snowfall, even in May many portions of the mountain were steeped with snow, but the levy notice had to touch the ground. With no hiking options available, the Sheriff’s Department used GPS mapping and a helicopter to post the levy.
That was the first of three postings on each parcel for sale. The department released the levies last fall and reposted a Writ of Execution after a new court order was issued. Each posting required a helicopter and postings were dropped onto the parcels below.
"We were literally dropping notices on the ski runs," Wright said, "then some of the tennis courts in Red Pine condos, some of it the yard area of some other condos on north side of Canyon Drive, where half a club house is all very useful land."
Because portions of land fall into Salt Lake County, the auction will be conducted via teleconference in both counties, allowing bids to be filed at either court house.
Talisker is expected to be at the auction and potentially make a bid, but issues could arise if a third party not involved in the lawsuit is interested in the land, Wright said.
"If someone from Dubai came with suitcase full of $100 million and they were willing to outbid everyone, that person would become the new owner of the property," he added.
Any bid would go toward paying ASC, Utah the $54.5M judgment and any remainder would belong to Wolf Mountain.
"There is a redemption period of 6 months where the owner of property can buy the land back from whoever purchased it," Wright said. "Once that period expires, the Sheriff himself has to sign a Sheriff’s Deed that releases the levy and gives the buyer ownership of property."
The sale will be held Tuesday, March 27 at noon at the 6300 North Silver Creek Drive, Park City, UT. For more information call (435) 615-3501.
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