Andy Wirth has assembled a team to help manage Granby Ranch ski and golf operations. (Courtesy Photo)

Andy Wirth, a former executive at Steamboat Springs, Intrawest and Squaw/Alpine Meadows, has put together a team and developed a new LLC, Ridgeline Executive Group (REG), to help manage Granby Ranch ski and golf operations.

Last year, Marise Cipriani decided to walk away from the Granby Ranch property she spent more than 25 years developing, saying, “I am proud of what we have done but saddened to let it go. I want to spend more time with my family and have done all I can do.” 

Over the years, the Ciprianis worked through a series of economical swings that created some financial challenges. When Marise Cipriani presented the deed to lenders, they were not satisfied with the deed-in-lieu of the foreclosure and instead moved to foreclose on Cipriani in an effort to recover $63 million in debt.  

The California-based lender, Granby Prentice, is foreclosing on a series of loans provided to Cipriani totaling more than $47 million and nearly $15 million in interest and fees. The lawsuit filed in January asked a Grand County judge to approve a receiver to guide the foreclosure process. Granby Prentice is foreclosing on the real estate owned by Cipriani though her Granby Realty Holdings and not the ski area or golf operations. 

Granby Prentice created a management company last month to lead the amenities operation through the foreclosure. GP Granby Amenities Holdings, LLC invited Wirth and his team from the newly formed Ridgeline Executive Group to potentially lead the resort operations.

Ridgeline Executive Group (REG) was formed by Andy Wirth and his son Jace. Wirth’s son has spent the last few years in Beijing, China developing Genting Resort Secret Garden, which will play host to the 2022 Winter Olympics. REG, a Boulder based LLC, was incorporated February 19, 2020, and they put together a protective order to review documents from Granby Ranch Amenities in order to develop a management proposal that would make sense for REG and Granby Prentice.

“The circumstance of Granby Ranch is relatively tumultuous. The current situation does not deter us at all,” Wirth stated in a proposal submitted last week. Wirth and the REG team toured Granby Ranch over the President’s Day weekend and feel like it is a good fit for their company’s goals and expertise. The team is also well aware of the challenges of the aging resort and concerns of the homeowners in the district.

The Granby Ranch community is controlled by the Headwaters Metro District, which leases the ski resort and golf course property from Cipriani’s Granby Realty Holdings in a deal that has Granby Amenities managing the ski and golf resort facilities. The long-term lease established by the Headwaters Metro District ‘should’ eventually transfer the ski area and golf course to the homeowners.

The layers of real estate and operational companies associated with Granby Ranch are confusing at best. Granby Prentice is navigating a complex real estate foreclosure and once you factor in 10 different metro districts associated with Granby Ranch and new layers to oversee the operations, you quickly realize it will take some time to sort out 25 years of development woes.

The Town of Granby has stopped issuing building permits until Cipriani pays to repair a list of failing roadways. The estimate for repairs is more than $3 million and Cipriani only has about $1.7 million in bonds to cover the repairs. Who will pick up that funding shortfall? 

Many Granby Ranch homeowners are hopeful that Wirth and REG can help lead their amenities through this process, but are still worried about what the next phase of litigation may leave on their doorstep.