Will Alpine Meadows be sold to Squaw Valley / KSL Capital Partners by JMA Ventures to fund major Homewood Mountain expansion?
Will Squaw Valley then lease/acquire White Wolf from Troy Caldwell to interconnect to Alpine Meadows?
What rumors have you/your friends heard about these potential deals? Any other analysis as to why these deals may or may not be imminent?
These long rumored potential deals seems to make more sense financially now for both new owners JMA Ventures (Alpine Meadows - 2007, Homewood Mountain - 2006) and KSL Capital Partners (Squaw Valley - 2010).
The rumor mill heated up with blog posts like:
"TOP SECRET: No One is Supposed to Know About Squaw’s Offer to Buy its Neighbor" 2/18/11 by Talebearing Squawdog http://granitechief.com/blog/?p=2260
..."I was out practicing writing my name in the snow when I noticed a corporate helicopter making laps between Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley.
...My boys went to work cruising around the mountain, siding up to anyone not wearing 20 year old skiwear, those Colorado and San Francisco boys are easy to spot. Skin tight ski pants, fur and fedoras, there they were in a group talking smack; “my mountain is bigger than yours”, “mine has a higher base elevation.” Things started getting pretty heated when one of them blurted out, “I could buy your mountain and then I’ll have the biggest mountain with the highest base elevation!”
...Then the other guys, the JMA guys, (Jamaican Medical Association), retorted, “Why don’t you just do that and I’ll still have Homewood Ski Resort with lakefront skiing.” If my sources are right, that’s how the whole thing went down….Squaw made an offer to buy Alpine Meadows. And why not, it’s everything we north shore skiers have dreamed about for years, the biggest, baddest ski area in the world right here in our own backyard.
...I love these guys, it makes perfect sense…the big mountain gets bigger and the San Francisco boys build a boutique bon ton dining and shopping village at the base of Homewood."
Of course, the standard denials were issued on 3/3/11.
..."Another persistent rumor that emerged this week relating to Squaw Valley claimed the resort was in the process of buying Alpine Meadows from JMA Ventures — a San Francisco-based real estate company that owns the mountain along with Homewood Ski Resort on Lake Tahoe's West Shore.
“Is the word around town true KSL is buying Alpine Meadows?” was a question asked by someone using Kara Steinmeyer's account on Squaw's Facebook page.
The answer is no, Amelie Richmond said Thursday, adding the rumor has been around for a long time, likely due to the proximity of the two resorts.
Rachael Woods, spokeswoman for Alpine Meadows, said she heard the rumor “about a million times in the past two days,” but said no sale of Alpine Meadows is imminent.
“I asked around and that is not the case,” Woods said Thursday"
KSL Capital Partners (Denver, CO private equity firm invested in travel & leisure businesses; Michael Shannon and Eric Resnick - managing directors; Squaw Valley CEO - Andy Wirth), a former KKR affiliate, probably has plenty of capital to invest with KSL Capital Partners II fund (raised $1 billion in September 2006) and KSL Capital Partners III fund (targeting $1.5 billion in capital commitments with final closing expected in 2011 - Form D filed 11/1/10 - already raised $100 million as of 2/17/11). Squaw Valley is planning to invest $50 million in upgrades over the next 3-5 years as it targets the family destination skier.
"Catching up: Nancy Cushing, past Squaw Valley CEO" by Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle 3/3/11
Q: How are plans coming to connect Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows?
A: It would be a wonderful thing for our area and for Lake Tahoe as a whole. KSL has a lot of economic power and they can get things done.
Q: How things are going for Squaw Valley?
A: The company and the area are undergoing a wonderful transformation because KSL is going to spend $50 million in the next year or two. They're working on plans to create more intermediate skiing on the mountain and add lodging to the village.
JMA Ventures (San Francisco, CA real estate investment firm, Art Chapman - president) is probably looking to fund its major Homewood Mountain expansion http://www.skihomewood.com/masterplan/ with the draft environmental impact report (EIR) 1/21/11 (http://www.placer.ca.gov/Departments/CommunityDevelopment/EnvCoordSvcs/EIR/Homewood/drafteir.aspx) filed with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) and final action possibly expected by the end of 2011 (http://www.tahoebonanza.com/article/20110225/NEWS/110229943)
Some highlights from the EIR (preferred alternative 1) & news articles about the Homewood Mountain expansion plans to become an upscale boutique resort.
* 8 passenger high speed gondola, high speed quad & new beginner mid mountain ski lift
* resort lodge/5 star boutique style hotel with 75 rooms & 70 condo units at North Base area
* mid mountain day lodge & outdoor swimming pool
* village center/ice skating rink at North Base area
* 36 condos/16 townhouses at North Base area
* 99 unit condo complex at South Base area
* 25,000 square feet retail space at North Base area
* 4 level parking garage for 272 cars at North Base area
* total of 17 new buildings at North and South Base areas (155 tourist accommodation units, 181 residential units and 13 workforce/employee housing units) to be built on 23 acre development using LEED gold standard
* Homewood needs to increase nonholiday midweek skier visits/day from 300 (past historical average) to 700 to generate sustainable revenues
White Wolf is the 460 acre property (about 60% skiable acres) between Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley off KT22 owned by Troy Caldwell who purchased it in 1989 for $350,00 from Southern Pacific Land Company. The Five Lakes trail leads to the top of White Wolf from Alpine Meadows road. White Wolf actually owns the top of KT22 and has been leasing the 75 acres that fall within Squaw Valley boundaries (top third of KT-22 & entire length of Olympic Lady) to Squaw since 1990 for an estimated $15,000/year as of 2007 with the current lease to expire in 2014. In 2004 White Wolf installed the 17 handbuilt towers for the planned triple chairlift behind the West Gully ridge with a vertical rise of 1,123 feet with its top lift terminal at 8,000 feet close to KT-22's top terminal. Troy Caldwell was sponsored by Alpine Meadows when he was on the U.S. Freestyle Team for 5 years in the 1970s and then Troy later worked for Alpine Meadows. Also his wife Sue Caldwell worked at Alpine Meadows for nearly 30 years as special tickets manager. White Wolf was named after a big white wolf that Caldwell had rescued after it had fallen off a ledge and was stranded on the mountain.
..."If my dream were totally brought to fruition, White Wolf Mountain would become an inter-connect between Alpine and Squaw. A skier could ski from the Squaw side all the way to the Alpine Meadows ski area." Troy Caldwell (owner of White Wolf) quote in a 3/9/08 San Francisco Chronicle article http://articles.sfgate.com/2008-03-09/living/17167839_1_ski-area-chairlift-ski-seasons
Edited by SkierScott - 3/18/11 at 10:51am