Skiers and riders heading for Okemo, Vt.; Sunapee, N.H.; or Crested Butte, Colo. won't detect much different in the three well-managed resorts, but if these are among your favorite places to play, you can count on a deep-pocketed new daddy.
Tim and Diane Mueller are selling the three mountain resorts to CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc. a Florida-based real estate investment trust (REIT). CNL, in turn, will lease back the resort to Triple Peaks, LLC (the Muellers) to manage.
The acquisition gives the Mueller group plenty of capital to build the Red Lady Lodge at Crested Butte and to move forward with construction of a conference center at Okemo. It is also expected to fund improvements at Sunapee.
"Our focus has been delivering outstanding service and a positive skier experience since we entered this industry with the purchase of Okemo in 1982," said Tim Mueller, president and co-owner of Triple Peaks, LLC. "We anticipate that this new relationship with CNL Lifestyle Properties will enable us to continue to do what we do best - create a unique and memorable experience at our mountains for our visitors. With the stable capital and long-term focus of this relationship, we are in a stronger position than ever to enhance our resort operations to ensure our long term popularity."
The purchase-leaseback arrangement has been extremely successful for CNL, the resorts it has purchased and, most importantly, for skiers and snowboarders.
CNL owns 21 ski and mountain lifestyle properties comprising 13 ski areas and eight village-centered retail developments, along with four additional loans for ski-related enhancements. Its ski and mountain lifestyle portfolio also includes Bretton Woods Mountain Resort (Bretton Woods, N.H.), Mountain High Resort (Wrightwood, Calif.), Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort (Lake Tahoe, Calif.) and Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.).