This will be a first in Rob Olson’s lengthy career as an auctioneer — the sale of a resort that includes a ski area and a championship-caliber 18-hole golf course.
Wolf Creek Resort, whose owners once had ambitious plans to make it a recreational haven in the Ogden Valley, will be on the auction block June 1.
On the block
Information about Wolf Creek Resort, and the terms of its auction, are available at www.salesandauction.com
"The master plan is absolutely incredible," said Olson, the Salt Lake City auctioneer who will oversee the bankruptcy court-ordered bidding at 3926 N. Wolf Creek Drive in Eden. "When you look at the map and see what they’ve laid out, it’s impressive. But the economic downturn, the recession, hurt things."
It certainly hurt Wolf Creek Properties, which Steve Roberts and Steve Malachowski founded in 2000.
They took over a development that began with a golf course in the 1960s, then expanded considerably in the 1980s after wastewater and drinking water systems were installed, opening up residential construction.
The development peaked in 2005, when Wolf Creek staged the state amateur golf tournament and bought Nordic Valley Ski Area (renaming it Wolf Mountain).
The addition of that small, family-oriented ski area gave Wolf Creek’s owners the winter/summer mix they felt would enable the 3,070-acre resort to thrive in a post-Olympic environment — especially with its 33 acres of commercial property and potential for 2,500 residential units amid 1,700 acres of permanent open space.
But while golfers are still teeing up and the ski resort operated all winter, the recession broke the developers.
"They need a new group of investors to buy it and inject some capital," said Olson, whose résumé includes auctions of Ferraris and bars (downtown Salt Lake City’s Port O’Call).
Sara Toliver, president of the Weber/Ogden Chamber of Commerce, is disheartened to see the resort up for auction but hopes to welcome a well-financed buyer to the community. "Wolf Creek is such a beautiful asset to the Ogden Valley that we’re all anxious to see how it comes out," she said. "Change is always hard. We’ve had a great relationship with the team up there. But we could get some great new ownership, and it could do some wonderful things."
To do so will require big money upfront Just to participate, a bidder must provide a $100,000 deposit in the form of a cashier’s check payable to Erkelens & Olson Auctioneers. Only registered bidders will be admitted, Olson said.
"This is a specialty type of property. It takes a certain group to buy it," he said, speculating bidders could range from entrepreneurs to a real estate investment trust. "I don’t anticipate having 50 bidders. If we have five to eight interested parties, the results will be good."
Even a veteran like Olson can’t predict that answer.
"We’re always optimists in the auction business," he said. "We know we’re going to sell that property on June 1. We just can’t tell you what the selling price will be. The market will dictate that."
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