Early interest in Sunlight sale strong
Developers from New York and Texas plan to visit Sunlight Mountain Resort in coming days with an eye toward possibly buying the facility.Since the resort announced it was for sale in mid-October, the agent handling the sale has sent out more than 85 packets of information to interested parties, he said Friday.”Every day we’re sending out four or five packets,” said Jerry Jones, who owns an Avon real estate business.”I would say that the interest is extremely high,” Jones said. “I don’t think it’s surprising since it’s the only ski area in the state that’s for sale.”The two groups scheduled to make visits within the next 10 days don’t have ski industry backgrounds, as far as Jones knows.He said a couple of ski companies also have requested information, as have individuals who have been ski executives. He declined to comment on whether the ski companies are from Colorado.Both the Aspen Skiing Co. and Vail Resorts have indicated they don’t plan to pursue buying Sunlight. Jones wouldn’t say if either has requested information.Jones said he’s received a referral from a potential buyer from Powderhorn, a resort near Grand Junction. Jones had thought Powderhorn was for sale, but it turned out it wasn’t. He said interest is coming from “substantial and large companies that can come in and take the project to the next level.”Sunlight is asking $50 million. Jones said that’s based largely on its 400 acres of private property and their potential for development into a base village.He said he’s heard only one complaint about the asking price. But he thinks the sale and eventual selling price are contingent on whether Garfield County approves a base village plan of a size similar to what Sunlight has had in mind for years, with some 700 homes.He said Sunlight’s availability is attracting media attention, including within the ski industry, and he is lining up visits with other prospective buyers. “Some of them are very anxious,” he said.”We couldn’t ask for a better response from the (sale) announcement. We’re very confident that we’re going to be able to put together a deal with someone, and with the initial interest, I think sooner than later.”Jones said a developer without ski industry experience wouldn’t necessarily be at a disadvantage because Sunlight already has a management team and development plan in place.”I don’t think anybody can operate Sunlight better than the guys that operate it right now,” he said. “They’ve been limited because they haven’t had the resources to do what they want to do.”A former ski area executive himself, Jones said he also is available to advise a buyer.
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Former Rifle Bears standout turned starting running back for Western Colorado University Ty Leyba remembers it like it was yesterday.