That’s a concern to Summit County Manager Robert Jasper, who is trying to figure out who is liable for fulfilling pledges to provide amenities, such as a golf course and affordable housing, in exchange for previous county approvals that helped turn Canyons into a major development, Utah’s largest ski area geographically.
"To us, what’s going on is, they’re [Talisker] no longer the master developer, so who do we hold accountable for what’s supposed to be done?" Jasper said Thursday, a day after he briefed Summit County Council members on the evolving management situation at Canyons Resort.
A statement released late Thursday by Flera said "it is business as usual at Canyons, and our goal is to make this transition as seamless and effective as possible for all of our guests, residents, employees and operators."
As Jasper understands the situation, when Canadian-based Talisker Corp. acquired Canyons from a dying American Skiing Co. in July 2008, the ski resort and about 4 million square feet of developable real estate were put under the control of Talisker Canyons Finance Co.
Through its subsidiary, Flera, Värde Partners now appears to be calling the shots for Talisker Canyons Finance Co. and has brought in Alvarez & Marsal, which describes itself as "a global professional services firm specializing in turnaround and interim management," to oversee Canyons’ development properties until a permanent property manager is selected.
"They call themselves the ‘interim manager,’ " Jasper said, noting that another Värde Partners subsidiary, Leaseco, oversaw the lease agreement that makes Vail Resorts Inc. the operator of Canyons for the next 300 years, starting at a fee of $25 million annually.
His concern is that, "as part of the approval for The Canyons going way back … we have requirements that they build a golf course, develop a transit plan to work with us to minimize traffic, build affordable housing and a conference center in return for the ability to develop lodging and hotels and all kinds of things."
None have been done, he said, although work has been started on 10 or 11 holes of the promised 18-hole golf course.
"We have a strong interest that that golf course is completed," Jasper added. "We have approvals. We can withdraw them if we believe the conditions [for those approvals] are not met. … We could be going backward. I don’t know yet."
The Flera statement provided assurances that the process is moving forward and that it is merely stepping to the forefront after being involved in the resort since 2010 and helping to finance $85 million in improvements.
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