Golf course still stalled at The Canyons
May 6, 2008
The Canyons is committed to completing its golf course, a spokesman for the resort said.
The operator of the largest ski resort in the state, American Skiing Company Utah was required to finish the course at The Canyons in 2002.
As developer of The Canyons, ASC Utah could now be in default on its agreement with Summit County, deputy Summit County attorney Jami Brackin explained, adding that a standstill agreement approved last week stopped the notice of default.
"The developer could be declared in default because the golf was not completed in 2002 as required," Brackin said in a telephone interview.
Should The Canyons default on its development agreement and a cure period expires, "all the vested development rights go away," Brackin said.
"Everybody starts from scratch in the planning process," she said, adding that The Canyons would have several weeks to fix any defaults that are declared.
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Millions of square-feet of commercial and residential development were approved when roughly 25 landowners formed The Canyons about a decade ago.
"The standstill agreement confirms in writing the commitment that ASC has made to construct the golf course at The Canyons," Canyons spokesman Tim Vetter said in an e-mail to The Park Record.
ASC has dissolved as a publicly traded corporation and earned money last year selling ski resorts it owned in Colorado and New England.
"We have agreements from ASC corporate guaranteeing $3 million, plus a $2 million letter of credit to be guaranteed for golf," Brackin said. "In exchange, we agreed to continue forbearing on our claim of default so that there is still value in The Canyons."
Brackin said she couldn’t say when construction of the golf course would begin.
"If it were up to me, [ground] would break tomorrow," Brackin said.
American Skiing Co. officials intend to sell The Canyons to Talisker Corp., which could close the deal this month.
Talisker would also be obligated to build the golf course if the developer takes control of The Canyons, Brackin said.
"In the event that the sale closes, there was a second agreement where Talisker guarantees the money they’re fusing into this to help guarantee golf goes forward," she said.
Wolf Mountain Resorts Managing Partner Kenny Griswold owns some land at The Canyons, which is leased to the resort.
County officials hoped declaring Wolf Mountain in default of its development agreement at The Canyons would help jumpstart construction of the golf course last year.
But declaring Wolf in default when American Skiing officials were required to complete the course in 2002 is unfair, Griswold has claimed.
Griswold blamed Summit County for not enforcing the development agreement and not penalizing ASC Utah for not completing the course on time in a 3rd District Court complaint filed Oct. 15.
The Summit County Commission then demanded Wolf turn over land at The Canyons so Willow Draw Road can be realigned and a path can be built for golf carts.
Chief among the amenities promised when The Canyons formed in 1999 was the golf course. But construction still hasn’t begun.
"We continue to be committed to do everything we can to move forward with the construction of the golf course and to finalize development of master plats, necessary easements and cost-sharing agreements that will enable The Canyons resort to realize the tremendous vision created when [it] was approved," Vetter said.