Alan Scott, Tom Olson
Douglas Wilson Companies
9411 Hillside Drive, Soda Springs, Calif.
Total consideration: $11.25 million
About the property:
After negotiating twists and turns not unlike the cross country ski trails along Donner Summit, the Douglas Wilson Companies has completed the $11.25 million receivership sale of 3,240 acres of Sierra Nevada land rich in history and biodiversity to two conservancy groups.
The Truckee Donner Land Trust and the Trust for Public Land, working together as part of the Northern Sierra Partnership, acquired the property off Interstate 80 near Lake Tahoe — an area that Perry Norris of the Truckee Donner group called "arguably one of the most important conservation victories for the Sierra in a decade."
Included in the sale are: The Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort with its 3,000-plus acres of trail systems, the Summit Station day lodge, the surrounding watershed area of Serene Lakes, the area around Lake Van Norden, and 350 acres of pristine land in Negro Canyon.
Closing the deal:
The property's lender, Armed Forces Bank, sought the appointment of a receiver in 2011 after the partnership of Kirk Syme and Mark and Todd Foster defaulted on a $16.7 million loan. They had proposed the development of a 950-unit recreation-centered conservation community, including trailside cabins, condominiums, single family homesites, new ski areas and lodging, using sustainable and low-impact design in and around what is known as America's largest cross country ski resort.
Planning constraints related to availability of public services such as water, sewer and access, a concerted community effort to "Save Donner Summit" and the real estate crunch were too much for them to overcome.
The sale was handled by Tom Olson and Alan Scott, who lead the Douglas Wilson Companies' brokerage division.
"In my 30 years in this business, this is one of the most challenging, and yet rewarding, transactions I've been involved with," Wilson said.
A sample of the complexities unraveled by the DWC team include:
• Royal Gorge assets were comingled with other assets owned by the defaulting entities;
• Documents and contracts were in the wrong names;
• Agreements for trail rights and liquor licenses were unclear;
• State requirements for upgrades on the Lake Van Norden dam were in dispute;
• Conflicting claims for water rights.
"History will reflect that this is one of the most impactful acquisitions in the region in terms of its size, location and history of the property," Wilson said.