Ownership of Tahoe Biltmore property may be up for grabs
CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. andamp;#8212; A key loan financing the multi-million dollar renovation of the Tahoe Biltmore property showed up on regional real estate listings last week, spurring questions about the Boulder Bay project.How did the $33.75 million land acquisition note for the redevelopment end up for sale? In this case, it was the lender, not the borrower, who failed, said Boulder Bay Project Manager Brian Helm.andamp;#8220;Normally when a bank sells a loan they are just trying to clear it off their balance sheets so they can go out and make new loans, but this was a little different,andamp;#8221; he said.After the 2008 economic meltdown, the bank that issued the original loan was overtaken by the FDIC, Helm said, and the loan for the project was transferred to another bank, which was not interested in doing business with Boulder Bay.andamp;#8220;Financial institutions don’t share their internals with us, but by and large, banks across the country have been trying to limit their exposure to real estate investments,andamp;#8221; Helm said. andamp;#8220;They said to us, andamp;#8216;why don’t you go your way and we’ll go ours.'”In response, Boulder Bay started looking for an exit strategy, and in 2010 its executives found an investor interested in taking over the note.Helm would not say which bank now holds the note, who the interested investor is or what he or she offered to pay, but he did say the bank wants to guarantee it is getting a fair market price for the asset.To do so, the bank listed the note on the market without an asking price. The commercial real estate brokerage firm Cushman andamp; Wakefield will call for bids, Helm said, after the item has been listed for three to four weeks.
andamp;#8220;It’s not a process we have control over,andamp;#8221; Helm said, andamp;#8220;and there is uncertainty associated with any process.andamp;#8221;Though a Cushman andamp; Wakefield flier listing the project says the buyer may choose what to do with the property andamp;#8212; including a possible option to do nothing and forego the already-approved Tahoe Biltmore redevelopment andamp;#8212; Helm said the statement should be taken lightly.andamp;#8220;It’s a boiler plate statement, kind of like a real estate agent saying you can knock this wall down and make the bedroom bigger,andamp;#8221; he said.He said the buyer will probably take a look at the highest and best use of the property. And he points out, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency permits issued for the remodel of the property are good until 2014.andamp;#8220;Are we worried? Yes, we have been since Lehman Brothers collapsed,andamp;#8221; he said. andamp;#8220;But we are working toward finding a responsible and creative solution to the problem.andamp;#8221;