Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bank the high bidder for Snö

March 02. 2013 12:38AM

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The future of Snö Mountain is in the hands of a Berks County bank, which had been the cash-strapped resort’s largest creditor. And though one of the resort’s main competitors was not the bigh bidder, it doesn’t mean it’s out of the picture.

During a four-hour auction Thursday in Philadelphia, three bids were made for the 30-year-old ski resort, the 440-acre property it sits on and all its assets including Snö Cove water park.

The runner-up bid was made by Montage Mountain Resort LP, which involves some of the mountain’s current owners and “some new money,” said Gary F. Seitz, a Philadelphia attorney whom the court appointed as trustee to oversee the ski mountain and water park.

Montage Mountain Resort LP offered $3.5 million to start and increased its bid to $4.5 million. It fell short of the winning bid made by DFM Realty, an affiliate of National Penn Bank, of Boyertown, which bid $4.6 million.

In an email, Catharine Bower, a spokeswoman for National Penn Bank, declined to comment on what the bank has planned for the property. It could cease operations, put it up for sale on its own or continue to operate the amenities.

Federal Judge Jean FitzSimon still needs to sign off on the auction result; a court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Philadelphia.

Seitz, who has been a court-appointed operator after Snö Mountain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October after piling up $24.2 million in debt, said that more than a dozen potential bidders were involved in the process but ultimately only three made bids.

The lowest bid came from CBH20, a group backed by Arthur Berry III, the owner of Camelback Mountain Resort in Tannersville, Monroe County.

Seitz said he was surprised that group opened with a $1 million bid and never raised it.

Once the dust settles, Camelback could reach out to the bank to once again express an interest in owning the property.

A message left with Berry was not returned Friday.

Seitz said he received approval from the bank on Thursday to keep the resort open through the current ski season, which typically concludes at the end of March. What will happen with Snö Cove this summer, however, isn’t as clear, Seitz added.

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