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County’s IDA receives three offers for Oak

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - Updated: 6:30 AM

By PETE KLEIN

Express News Staff

LAKE PLEASANT - The Hamilton County Industrial Development Agency opened three widely divergent proposals from would-be purchasers of Oak Mountain Ski Center in Speculator when it met at the courthouse here Thursday, March 22.

The IDA acquired the two Oak Mt. parcels, including a communications tower, for $600,000 at a foreclosure auction in March 2009. The Village of Speculator ran the ski center for the last five winters, but voted earlier this month not to continue.

The ski center, at 141 Novosel Way, is assessed at $1,471,330. The tower parcel, at 135 Novosel Way, is assessed at $155,800.

PROPOSAL 1

The first proposal opened came from Grain Communications Group Inc., Sarasota, Fla., which flatly stated it has no interest in buying the ski area as a whole.

It is interested in “acquiring solely the communications tower and related assets (leases, land under the tower, etc.).”

Grain further states, “Based on the information in [the IDA’s] request for proposals, at this time we are able to offer a price of $602,000 for the communication site.”

PROPOSAL 2

The second proposal is from Independent Towers Holding LLC, Latham, offering a total cash purchase price of $651,000 broken down as follows: $601,000 cash to the IDA upon closing and $50,000 cash to an escrow account for continuing operations of the ski area.

Independent Towers is proposing to lease the entire ski area to a mountain manager for the sum of local taxes and $1 and “grant an exclusive right to the mountain manager to purchase the entire ski operations anytime during the ensuing five years.

“Such right would be limited to purchasing the ski operations for operations of a ski area only. Further, the purchase price would be no more than 50 percent of the appraised value.”

PROPOSAL 3

The third proposal is from Matt and Laura O’Brien, who managed the ski center from the fall of 2010 through the summer of 2011. They are interested only in purchasing the ski center.

The O’Briens offered to purchase the ski area, minus the cell tower parcel and two of the three roadside lots, paying $1 at closing and $50,000 on the third anniversary of the sale.

The O’Brien proposal includes an operating plan for the ski center. It estimates expenses of over $330,000 per year and calls for changing from a one-season operation to a three-season operation and from a business dependent on climate to one that is self-funded based on indoor activities along with winter and summer outdoor recreation.

There are more details to each of the three proposals, but the above are the basics. The IDA will consult with its attorney before making a decision.

The IDA will next meet Monday, April 2, at 11 a.m. in Lake Pleasant, at which time it may announce the winning bidder.

     

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