Grand units set for auction

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— The remaining condominium inventory at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel will go on the auction block March 18, when Grand Summit Resort Properties will attempt to complete an ongoing five-year sales effort.

A spokesperson for Grand Summit Resort Properties said Wednesday that 200 interval-ownership units and more than 30 whole-ownership condominiums -- representing the balance of the unsold units at the Steamboat Grand -- will be put on sale live in Steamboat at the same time they are offered on an Internet auction. A company news release stated that 100 intervals will be sold to the highest bidders regardless of price.

Textron Financial holds a large note stemming from the original construction loan for the Steamboat Grand. The majority of the revenue generated by a trickle of sales at the Grand during the past few years has been dedicated to retiring the debt. Textron also has bankrolled marketing efforts intended to improve the pace of sales. American Skiing Co. spokesman David Hirasawa confirmed Wednesday that the decision to auction the remaining units at the Grand was made in consultation with Textron.

Although the Grand is owned by a division of ASC that is separate from the company's resort side, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. personnel manage the hotel.

Steamboat Ski Area President Chris Diamond said the timing of the decision to auction the remaining units is made with an awareness that the inventory of condominiums for sale at the base of the ski area is low.

"You get to a point where you evaluate," Diamond said, "and we believe this winter is the right time for Steamboat" to clear up the outstanding inventory at the Grand.

GSRP originally sought to sell only quartershares at the Grand and reported in July 2001 that 51 percent of the inventory had sold.

The March sale won't be the first time GSRP has sought to sell the balance of condominiums in one of its properties via auction. GSRP sold all 167 outstanding intervals at a property in Attitash, N.H., in November 2001. More recently, GSRP auctioned remaining units at the Canyons Grand Summit at The Canyons ski area near Park City, Utah, in February 2004.

Keenan Auction Company, the same auctioneer that handled the Attitash auction, has been retained to manage the sales here. A news release from GSRP refers interested parties to a Web page for details about the auction. However, www.steamboatgrandauction.com was under construction Wednesday.

Diamond said minimum opening bids for the varying sizes of condos have not been set and probably won't be until closer to auction time.

"It's really up to the auctioneer," Diamond said. "It's a moving target. We're still making sales and closing sales."

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