Bear Valley back on market

By Mike Morris, The Union Democrat

A prospective buyer of Bear Valley Mountain Resort has backed out of the deal, but Bear is still expected to open for the season, the resort announced Wednesday afternoon.

The purchase contract, signed by the unnamed company in June, was terminated this week.

"The interested group had been working through due diligence for several months and, although it remains interested, concluded there is insufficient time now to complete the process and then take the reigns this close to the start of ski season," read a statement released by Bear Valley.

The resort, off Highway 4 in eastern Alpine County, plans to open for the 2013-14 ski season. Bear Valley aims to hire more than 200 additional staff members for the upcoming ski season, and a job fair is slated for next month in Arnold.

"Given the fact that it is September and there are many moving parts of this transaction, it is not feasible for a team to take ownership of the resort now and effectively prepare for the 2013-14 winter season," said Greg Finch, managing partner of Bear Valley Resorts. "As we worked through the contract process, it turned out that the ski area was the easy part and the village land assets provided the complications. We believed we had effectively dealt with the issues, but we just ran out of time."

Bear Valley spokeswoman Rosie Sundell explained that managing Bear Valley Village can be complex because it includes Forest Service, county and private land.

The resort is now owned by partners Dundee, San Jose-based developer Toeniskoetter, Breeding & Halgrimson and Palo Alto-based Radar Partners, a venture capital firm.

The 1,700-acre ski resort went on the market last year. Included in the offering are slopes leased from the U.S. Forest Service, the 53-room Bear Valley Lodge, restaurants and retails shops in Bear Valley Village, a 9,000-square-foot employee housing complex and 11 acres identified for condominium development.

After about seven years of planning and environmental review, Alpine County approved a development plan in December 2012 that will permit construction of more than 300 condominiums, a new lodge, a chair lift from the village to the mountaintop and an outdoor amphitheater.

Bear Valley owners have previously stated an infusion of millions of dollars in capital through either a sale or investment partnership will be necessary to advance the plans.

The Union Democrat
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