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CNL reaches agreement to sell ski resorts, includes CBMR

No changes in resort management

By Alissa Johnson

CNL Lifestyle Properties announced last week that it reached an agreement to sell its 36 remaining ski and attractions properties, including Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR).

The sale is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2017, but no noticeable changes will take place on the mountain or with resort operations.

CNL, a real estate investment trust, has owned CBMR since 2008. CNL also owns Mount Sunapee Mountain Resort and Okemo Mountain Resort, and leases all three to the Mueller family, which manages the resorts through Triple Peaks, LLC.

Michelle Rash, a CNL spokesperson, confirmed the agreement via email, writing, “CNL Lifestyle Properties has reached an agreement to sell Crested Butte to Och-Ziff,” a New York hedge fund manager and real estate investment trust.

CBMR is one of 14 ski and mountain lifestyle resorts that will be acquired by Och-Ziff, including Mount Sunapee and Okemo. The remaining CNL properties will be acquired by EPR Properties, which is also providing Och-Ziff with five-year financing for 65 percent of its purchase.

According to an article by the Associated Press, CNL would receive about $830 million in cash and stock through the purchase, and long-term leases with the properties will remain in place. “If it closes, it would be the largest single ski resort transaction in the history of the sport,” according to the article.

And according to reporting from BusinessDen, Och-Ziff already has a foothold in the ski town of Aspen. “CEO Daniel Och owns a $16 million property in the ski town and three Ziff brothers that initially funded the hedge fund … owned a portfolio of Aspen properties worth $44 million as of 2014.”

The sale will not change how CBMR operates. Vice president of marketing and sales Scott Clarkson likened any such sale to the transfer of a home mortgage or paying rent to a different landlord. “There is no change for us. It’s basically like having a mortgage sold between two lending institutions and you’re still sending payments in.”

This latest agreement comes after CNL had already sold 120 other properties in its portfolio. According to a statement provided by Rash, CNL’s board of directors has also approved a plan to liquidate and dissolve the company. Both the sale and the liquidity and dissolution will need be approved by stockholders.

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