Golf course receives extension
Summit County Manager Bob Jasper made a decision Friday, May 10 to grant Canyons one more year to complete construction of a long anticipated golf course.
"The way I look at it is, our goal is to get a golf course done, as well as some other amenities, and that’s Canyons’ goal too," Jasper said. "But we also want Canyons to prosper. It is a major employer and major part of the identity of the region. Do we really want to shut down all the Canyons’ operations or pull all their development permits? No. Do we want the golf course and do we want to make sure there is a mechanical and understandable timetable? Yes, so that’s the agreement we reached."
The county granted a construction extension until the end of September 2014, but with the stipulation that Canyons follow a series of benchmarks to "show they are making considerable progress," Jasper said.
He added that Canyons has made progress on the golf course, but was unable to complete it in time for the county’s September 2013 deadline.
"They have spent millions out there," he said. "It’s not like they haven’t spent money and worked on this. They just can’t get it done in time."
The county also stipulated that $12 million be set aside, from which Canyons can draw to complete the course.
"It is escrowed for construction of the Canyons golf course and we have to authorize the drawdown of that money," Jasper said.
Talisker Corp., which owns Canyons, recently approached Summit County for an extension of the September 2013 deadline.
"They came to us and said, one, we can’t get it done in time," Jasper explained. "Two, we would like to improve upon it by adding some holes and property that we own."
Talisker needed the additional time regardless of whether the additional property was added to the golf course, but according to a previous statement by Canyons Managing Director Mike Goar, the property would transform the golf course from a 6,200-yard resort course into a "dramatic 7,000-yard mountain golf course with spectacular views and very memorable holes."
The golf course was originally planned to be built in 2002, but according to Jasper, the resort’s previous owner, American Skiing Corporation Utah did not implement items agreed to, such as the golf course.
Part of the difficulty American Skiing Corporation Utah faced was a lawsuit with Wolf Mountain, which delayed construction for several years.
Talisker purchased the resort in 2008 and inherited those legal battles.
In 2009, Summit County found the resort in default for not completing the golf course.
"I finally brought all the parties to the table and said, basically you all agreed to do the following," Jasper said. "Either we sit down at the table and agree on who does what, or I’m lifting all your development rights and taking other actions that won’t do you very well. We finally reached an agreement with everybody, except for Wolf Mountain, which was finally settled with a lawsuit in which Talisker was awarded a $56 million judgement."
If Talisker does not complete the course by the new deadline, the county may declare it in default, which could result in a loss of density and the suspension of permit issuance.
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