Metro district begins talks with group that wants to manage Granby Ranch |

Metro district begins talks with group that wants to manage Granby Ranch

Skiers and riders enjoy fresh powder at Granby Ranch on Friday, Feb. 7.
Eli Pace /

With the lender filing for foreclosure against Granby Ranch, discussions have begun with the management group interested in taking over the resort’s operations.

The situation at Granby Ranch, like at all ski resorts, has changed drastically within the last month, but the executive group interested in managing Granby Ranch is still perusing the arrangement.

The meeting between Ridgeline Executive Group and Headwaters Metropolitan District was delayed by a week due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but stakeholders met via conference call Wednesday.

Also this week, lender Granby Prentice submitted multiple non-judicial foreclosures through the Grand County Public Trustee’s office against various entities affiliated with Granby Ranch for $47.6 million outstanding. While the foreclosure is on the property side of Granby Ranch, Granby Prentice is also working to take on operations.

Ridgeline Executive Group is working as an agent for an affiliate group of Granby Prentice. Ridgeline is in talks with Headwaters, the metro district that contracts out the management of Granby Ranch ski and golf operations.

Ridgeline partners, Andy and Jace Wirth, have submitted a proposal to Headwaters Metropolitan District for the management of the amenities at Granby Ranch. The proposal submitted by the father-son duo came to Headwaters before the COVID-19 outbreak became so severe, but even then it described the situation at Granby Ranch as “relatively tumultuous.”

“Those words ‘tumultuous’ are amplified by a magnitude I don’t think any of us could have contemplated,” Andy Wirth said at Wednesday’s meeting.

The Wirths expressed their continued interest in managing operations and outlined their experiences in the industry to the almost 40 meeting participants. Combined, Andy and Jace Wirth possess over 40 years of experience in the ski industry, and they are bringing in a golf professional who has spent 10 years in the business.

While Granby Ranch’s financial troubles are not helped by the COVID-19 closure — all resort employees were laid off last week — the executive group made it clear they feel well prepared for the role. Beyond their extensive experience, the Wirths seem confident they have the money for the project.

“Our fiscal means and capital structure are, frankly, more than sufficient to take this asset on in a management role,” Andy Wirth said. “We have the means and the wherewithal financially to take this asset on.”

He also touched on the arrangements Ridgeline has made with contacts and attorneys over the past three to five months to ensure a smooth transition on critical licenses and permits.

While Headwaters took no action on the proposal, President Lance Badger scheduled up to four work sessions over the coming weeks to continue working on the transition. Marise Cipriani of Granby Realty Holdings, the entity facing foreclosure, attended the meeting and agreed to assist in the transitional period.

During the meeting, the metro district appointed a third board member, Christopher Harff, who was designated vice president of the board. He has experience in accountancy, asset management and receivership.

Also, Granby Ranch Amenities requested a delay of its yearly rental payment, equal to about $18,000, due to present circumstances. Headwaters agreed to give the current management a 90-day grace period.

Headwaters’ has a work session scheduled for next week to continue discussion, but no official actions will be taken. The metro district’s next scheduled meeting is May 20.

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