Steamboat Springs The long-vacant Ski Town Inn and Suites on U.S. 40 could have a new owner by the end of the month.
A spokesman for Vectra Bank Denver, owner of the hotel, confirmed Thursday that the 68-suite hotel is under contract, and scheduled to close very soon. Dave Pellegrino, a special assets manager for Vectra Bank declined to name the buyer or whether the buyer intends to reopen the hotel for the summer resort season.
"We have gone to great lengths to do something that was appropriate" for the community of Steamboat Springs, Pellegrino said.
Vectra Bank emerged as the owner of the hotel after a trustees sale conducted by Routt County Treasurer Jeanne Whiddon in August 2000. Ski Town Inn was completed in 1997 after a two-year construction process and largely has been vacant for the past three years.
The hotel was operated under the ownership of Richcam Ventures from Dec. 24, 1997, until April 15, 1998, when it closed. Since then, it has had small commercial tenants, but has not operated as a hotel. Court records show that Richcam defaulted on the initial payment of a Department of Agriculture loan arranged by Vectra Bank Denver (The Steamboat branch of Vectra did not exist at that time, and local bank officials were not involved in the loan).
Ski Town Inn was developed by a local couple, Stephen Campbell and Patricia Strandberg, with a partner, Richard Porreco. Campbell, a former member of Steamboat Springs Planning Commission, and Strandberg, owned a travel agency that specialized in bringing Australian tour groups here for extended ski vacations. Their business plan for the new hotel was to fill it with tour groups they had booked. They never got that far, and Campbell and Strandberg have since left Steamboat.
According to documents on file in district court here, the original lender on hotel construction was Mountain Parks State Bank, which provided financing of $4.3 million. That money was used up before the hotel was completed. Vectra Bank began the process of providing a permanent loan to Richcam after telling the partners in August 1997 they were prequalified for a $5 million, USDA-guaranteed loan. Even as Vectra was processing the permanent loan, Richcam approached Vectra in September 1997 for an additional construction loan of $1 million.
The hotel sat empty for about two years under the care of a court-appointed receiver.
District Court Judge Richard Doucette ruled in late May 2000 that the principles in Richcam were obligated to pay Vectra Bank $6.3 million in their loans. His ruling cleared creditors to file for foreclosure proceedings.
Another Richcam creditor, Phoenix Leasing, initiated foreclosure proceedings against the hotel in district court, leading to the trustees sale. Although RFC Property, Inc., an assignee of Phoenix, cast the successful bid of $1.5 million at the sale, it was understood that Vectra, as the biggest creditor, would subsequently settle RFC's interest and acquire the hotel.
The bank had listed the hotel for sale before the deal with RFC was actually consummated. The hotel was originally listed for sale for $4.6 million.