PCMR/Talisker still at impasse over lease
March 23, 2012
According to Canyons Managing Director Mike Goar, Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, which operates Canyons resort and owns much of the land beneath Park City Mountain Resort’s ski lifts, was stunned by the announcement two weeks ago that Park City Mountain Resort had filed a lawsuit against them.
"We found out about it from the media," said Goar, who is acting as Talisker’s spokesman regarding the dispute over the lease that allows Park City Mountain Resort to operate many of its lifts on land owned by Talisker.
"That was shocking," Goar said, adding that his side believed negotiations over the lease agreement were ongoing. He reiterated this week that the offer to continue talks was still open, despite the lawsuit.
But that is not how Park City Mountain Resort sees it.
According to Park City Mountain Resort President and General Manager Jenni Smith, "We filed the lawsuit to protect ourselves because they (Talisker) had stopped responding. Our last offer they did not respond to. We had made numerous attempts to reach them and, when they stopped responding, we felt like we had no option. We had to protect ourselves and protect our employees and our business."
Still, she said, "We would welcome the opportunity to have a meaningful settlement discussion with Talisker. We would be happy to get back at the table. We are more than willing to talk with them."
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The negotiations over the renewal of PCMR’s lease to operate on ground formerly owned by United Park City Mines and now owned by Talisker broke down earlier this month. The previous 20-year lease expired nearly a year ago but apparently talks had been ongoing behind the scenes. Recently, though, Smith says that PCMR received a letter stating "we had to renegotiate a new lease by the end of April."
Talisker’s position is that PCMR’s lease expired, but that the company is willing to negotiate new terms. The existing lease payment, as noted in PCMR’s lawsuit, is $155,000 per year, and fluctuates based, in part, on the resort’s annual revenues.
Park City Mountain Resort claims it met all of the requirements to extend the existing lease another 20 years, and paid the rent. "I believe we have done everything we are required to do under our agreement. What it boils down to is whether we extended the lease or not. We say we did. They say we didn’t," said Smith.
Goar says, "Our opinion is, regardless of the lawsuit and the PR campaign of misinformation (by PCMR), we feel it is in the best interest of the community if we get back to the table."
In response to Smith’s assertion that Talisker cut off communications with PCMR, Goar is adamant that Talisker has extended an invitation to continue the talks. "I know with absolute certainty we made it and they received it. I can guarantee they heard from us before and after the lawsuit," he said.