Competitor may buy Sno Mountain
Camelback Mountain is the only suitor that has made public its purchase intentions.
February 05. 2013 11:38AM
Snö Mountain, the financially strapped ski resort and water park on Montage Mountain, may soon have a new owner, and among the potential suitors is one of its closest competitors. Arthur B. Berry III, president and principal owner of Camelback Mountain Resort in Tannersville, Monroe County, said officials from his resort will be at Snö Mountain this week doing an “inspection tour and walk-through” and trying to assess what the facility and property are worth. “We'll be coming up with what we believe is a true, honest valuation so we can make an appropriate offer,” Berry said. He said that value also will take into account what repairs are necessary. While Snö Mountain has operated in the red year after year, Berry sees potential in the property and believes the Scranton market is underutilized and would support the mountain and water park if it's operated and marketed properly. Camelback is not likely to be the only bidder for the property, which filed for bankruptcy reorganization in October, but to date it's the only one that has publicly announced its intentions. Snö Mountain's General Manager Mark Verrastro declined comment Monday and referred inquiries to Gary F. Seitz, a Philadelphia attorney whom the court appointed as trustee to oversee the ski mountain and water park. Seitz could not comment specifically on Camelback or any other potential suitor but said that to date a dozen potential bidders have signed non-disclosure agreements to access financial documents and property details through a “due-diligence room,” a secure website operated by SSG Advisors. That West Conshohocken investment-banking firm was hired to market Snö Mountain's sale, and Terry Kohler, a company director, said he has been pleased with the response and the varied sectors the bidders come from. Seitz said the timetable approved Jan. 24 by Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Jean FitzSimon set a bid deadline of Feb. 25 for interested parties looking to acquire the 440-acre property and its assets. Seitz said the bids will be reviewed, and the ability to close on the property will be a deciding factor as to whether those entities will be invited to a private auction of the complex that will take place three days later. At that event, the highest bid from the sealed bids will be revealed and other bidders will have a chance to increase their bids in an auction-style sale. Then the new high bid will go back before FitzSimon for approval or denial on March 6. Seitz said a closing date on the end of March will be the goal. In its bankruptcy filings last year, Snö Mountain listed debts exceeding $24.2 million. A 2010 appraisal estimated the potential 2012 value of Snö Mountain at more than $27 million. The largest secured creditor, National Penn Bank, could decide the bids aren't what it expected and could take over the property and sell it on its own. To date, only three interested buyers have asked to formally tour the grounds and sit down with Verrastro to ask questions and get a feel for the property's potential and issues, Seitz said, adding that number was actually lower than he anticipated.