Brower: Cipriani left a legacy of value at Granby Ranch
Yes, Marise Cipriani is walking away from her 22-year investment in Granby and Grand County.
Unwilling or unable to pay a call on a $1.7 million subdivision improvement bond last week, she threw in the towel and decided to let her first-in-line lender and a related LLC take ownership of Granby Ranch’s real estate assets.
The resort’s been for sale for well over a year and many people inquired, but the perfect offer never came in. And lenders rejected the most recent offer. Cipriani was stuck.
It’s easy to throw stones when such a prominent resort development ends like this, but the truth is that Cipriani and her commitment to Granby Ranch have actually done a lot of good things for Granby and Grand County.
Full disclosure here: Readers should know that Cipriani was instrumental in launching and inspiring the vision behind the Grand Enterprise Initiative, a nonprofit for which I work as a contractor. Her vision was to build strong communities by nurturing entrepreneurs, which is exactly what has happened through the initiative.
She invested considerably in its founding in 2012 and supported it through the years, although other funders stepped in to support the nonprofit that fostered her vision. In total, through our free and confidential business management coaching for anyone wanting to start or expand a business in Grand County, we have helped to create 104 new businesses, which helped to create 199 jobs and resulted in estimated new sales per year of roughly $9 million.
Granby and Grand County have also been critical in this important business management development approach, which has helped Grand County and Granby overall.
Cipriani has helped improve Granby and Grand County in other ways too. For starters, her approach of finishing her involvement here by going through a deed in lieu of foreclosure helped to save considerable resources for the continued operation of Granby Ranch that would otherwise probably have been spent on the legal wrangling that goes with a traditional foreclosure. In other words, she wasn’t inclined to over-litigate Granby Ranch’s financial plight and hurt the resort and the area in the process. Of course, there’s much, much more she’s done. For starters, she took an ailing ski resort running in receivership back in 1996 and turned it into a real resort with a real vision and real assets. I don’t think many people are aware of how close Granby and Grand County were to losing the asset of what was then SilverCreek to a previous lender who just wanted to liquidate the assets and let the land revert to cattle ranching.
A court fight against liquidation of the assets and then Marise’s purchase and future investment protected the community from losing a resort, a key local asset and higher property valuations. If it had been liquidated (that is, selling off the lifts, parceling up the land and the lodge and giving up key water rights) there probably wouldn’t be much of anything out there in Granby Ranch other than unused ski runs and perhaps an isolated subdivision or two.
More specifically, through fits and starts, Cipriani developed Granby Ranch into a unique Colorado resort with a ski area on private land that offered a golf course, trails, many other recreational amenities and a potential for future growth. That didn’t come easily or without risk on her part.
And many current locals invested right with her by buying homes and land in her resort, helping to make it a going concern. Many other locals have also worked there. Thanks to Cipriani, Granby Ranch is a resort too valuable to fade away.
Now it’s likely find a new path to sustainability, albeit under a new regime.
Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He offers free and confidential business management coaching to anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He can be reached by calling 970-531-0632 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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