Orvis-Shorefox: new owner, new plan, new name
November 5, 2010
Although plans are still up in the air for the 1,553 acres of property at the intersection of U.S. Highways 34 and 40, formerly the Horn Ranch, one thing is for certain: “Shorefox, in the name, no longer exists. The project will not be called Shorefox. And Orvis is no longer involved,” said Gavin Malia of Resort Ventures West in Steamboat Springs.
The stalled development’s new owner, CNL Lifestyle Property, a real estate investment trust based out of Orlando, Fl, has contracted Resort Ventures West to manage the project.
CNL foreclosed on the previous developer, Shorefox LLC, for defaulting on payments of a $40 million loan to the project made in March of 2006. CNL, as a lender, wasn’t “really managing the project with intimate knowledge of day-to-day activities,” Malia said.
Now with the change of ownership, “we’re evaluating the property from scratch,” Malia said. Original Shorefox developers are no longer involved with the project.
The Ventures West company has contracted the planning firm Nuszer-Kopatz of Denver to assist in land planning and THK Associates of Aurora to compile a market study on the project area.
The development, which once promised a high-end resort community anchored by an Orvis retail outlet as part of 50,000 square feet of commercial, was abandoned with “a fair amount” of infrastructure and a partially completed golf course.
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“As far as the golf course, I don’t know what the status of that will be,” Malia said.
The Town of Granby has given CNL one year to re-evaluate the property and present a new land plan. The annexation agreement with the town could be amended as a result of the new plan.
Town Manager Wally Baird questions whether a new development could even sustain another golf course. “I’d prefer to see them work with the existing golf facilities (in the county) and utilize what those already have,” he said.
“It’s fair to say the original plan was fairly ambitious,” Malia said. “There is some question as to whether Granby was the appropriate market for such a plan. But what has happened, has happened.”
Malia projects any new development would be carefully introduced in “stages and phases.”
“It’s fairly exciting to look at a property of this size and think of the numerous possibilities,” he said. “The process is just getting started. We’ve really tried not to have any pre-conceived notions of what the product is going to look like. We hope for a project that wins for the community and the development.”
Resort Venture West also oversees a 47-acre master-planned community called Wild Horse Meadows at the base of the Steamboat Springs ski resort.
When CNL took over the property, one of its first projects was to restore a section of the Colorado River that was damaged by a gravel pit breach on the Horn property. The breach sent heavy sediment down the river. An entire hillside had failed.
CNL moved material, re-established the hillside and original stream, replanted native vegetation on shores and re-established the river bank; the project cost about $600,000, according to Malia.
“The repaired damage was acceptable to us, to the state and to the Army Corps of Engineers,” Granby Manager Baird said.
And, in response to complaints from the town concerning weed growth on the deserted greens of the golf course, a Granby landscaping firm was hired to spray weeds and monitor the land, Malia said.
Local engineering and land surveying firms also have been hired to assist in evaluating the development.
Meanwhile, CNL is involved in five Colorado River Basin water rights cases in Division 5 Water Court, all cases of rights associated with the Horn Ranch.
The cases were submitted back to the water referee on Sept. 2, according to Malia. “Those are all proceeding well,” he said. “It looks positive.” The court proceedings are “not unusual,” he continued, but a process of evaluating that objectors’ rights are not being affected. Proposed use of all of CNL’s water would be in Grand County, staying with the CNL property.
Finally, prior to the foreclosure on the property, contractor liens against the former Shorefox project were estimated to total around $7 million. “Through the foreclosure process, all the liens were settled,” Malia said. “There are no outstanding liens left.”