Steamboat Springs Fortress increased its stake in Steamboat Springs by $3 million this week and got a good deal on a golf course neighborhood where the first home has yet to be built.
A division of Fortress Investment Group, the owner of Steamboat Ski Area parent Intrawest, bought the 17-lot Graystone on the Green subdivision Tuesday from Vectra Bank, of Colorado, for $3 million.
The actual purchasing entity was Summitbridge Credit Investments, of New York. Gordon Runtee, an executive in the investor relations department at Fortress, declined Thursday to directly confirm that an arm of his company made the purchase.
“You should talk to someone at Intrawest; they control the resort there,” Runtee said. “Steamboat is a wholly owned company of Intrawest.”
However, when the paper trail pointing to Fortress was detailed, Runtee said “it’s a fair assumption” that one of his company’s credit funds had made the purchase.
Securities and Exchange Commission documents reflect that Summitbridge National Investments can be reached through Fortress at its address in Midtown Manhattan.
The price paid for the subdivision on a knoll above the Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club is $2.1 million less than the original developers, VGS Enterprises, paid to previous owners of the Sheraton Steamboat Hotel for the raw 11.3-acre site in summer 2007. Luxury-home builder Jerry Stanford, of Steamboat, is a partner with David Vandervelde in VGS. Stanford’s wife, Shelley, who listed the property for sale, said Vectra did not foreclose on the development — it was returned to the bank through a deed in lieu of foreclosure.
The developers built an access road to the site and to the separately owned golf course clubhouse, which required substantial boulder retaining walls. Internal subdivision roads are paved, and infrastructure is in place. But the lots were delivered in late summer 2008 with asking prices from $799,000 to $1 million, and the market already was fading.
A blog in the Wall Street Journal reported in October 2008 that Fortress had raised $3 billion for Fortress Credit Opportunities Fund with the intent of investing in distressed residential loans and nonperforming properties. However, Runtee said he had no way to determine whether a portion of those funds went to the Graystone purchase.
“We do literally thousands of investments through our credit groups,” he said.
Fortress Investment Group bought Intrawest in 2006 for $2.8 billion, and Intrawest bought Steamboat Ski Area in March 2007 for $265 million. Intrawest refinanced $1.7 billion in debt in October 2008.