Developers look for financial partner
Though the financing details are confidential, Duryea said a lot is going on. But, she said, it may be mid-December before developer Dyer Mountain Associates makes an announcement about a new major investor in the resort.
All overtures since mid-August were contingent on the Board of Supervisors approval of the resort EIR and tentative parcel map on Sept. 25, Duryea said. The list of potential investors has grown from six three weeks ago to a dozen, according to Grant Sedgewick, one of DMA’s three managers and the acting company president.
Though no precise schedule is yet in place, Sedgewick said once a major investor is on board, DMA will start the detailed engineering and planning of roads, utilities, and infrastructure, including the facilities necessary to build ski hills.
DMA plans for the engineering to take nine-12 months, Sedgewick said. DMA must then bring each individual subdivision plan back to the county, as required in the development agreement for the resort.
“We might have the first one engineered and approved within 2008,” Sedgewick said. “That’s our plan.”
DMA may not further subdivide the land until the county approves a first-phase subdivision map. DMA faces further environmental assessment, but the county will decide whether it must complete a focused environmental impact report or if a negative declaration, stating the environmental impacts have been mitigated, will suffice.
Sedgewick said DMA will evaluate any “new findings or impacts uncovered — things that need special focus as part of the first phase of construction.”
He said the major environmental issues been addressed in the EIR the board approved last moth.
Once the county approves the initial map, DMA may subdivide lots and home sites. The developer may then sell lots and possible onsite construction may start before the end of 2008, Sedgewick said.
DMA proposes constructing 4,104 residential units, more than 600,000 square feet of commercial, retail, support and common uses, three golf courses on 300 acres and a 600-acre ski area. The tentative parcel map divides roughly 7,000 acres into 13 parcels ranging in size from 40 to 2,995 acres, located south of Clear Creek, southwest of Westwood and ranging from the west shore of Mountain Meadows Reservoir to the top of Dyer Mountain.
Even after DMA attracts a major investor, Duryea said, she and her partner will continue their investment.
“My partner and myself … have almost $7 million in the project,” she said. “We wouldn’t have committed these kinds of funds unless we were completely committed to the underlying ethos of the project.”
She promised the board she will not withdraw her investment as a guarantee of DMA’s commitment to ensuring an environmentally sensitive resort.
Duryea said the principals are putting resources forward continuously “to make sure that the joint venture partner, co-development partner — all of these are proposed to combine both equity and debt — will be a partnership that is respectful of what we feel is the heritage of the land, and those, through all these generations, who have brought forth the ideal of its use compatible with bringing both active forestry and recreation to the site.”
Dyer Mountain will bring many people throughout the nation to Lassen County, she said, to see what a master-planned community can be like when it is respectful of the environment. She added Dyer will be the only master-planned community in the Sierra.
“We get to see what’s happened in Tahoe and learn from the mistakes of others,” she said at the board’s Oct. 9 meeting. “We are firm when we make the joint venture relationship, which involves dilution of our equity interest, but continued participation, because we know that that way we will shepherd the commitment to these values which we believe are part of this community.”
The board passed, on second reading, the ordinance approving the development agreement with Dyer Mountain Associates. Planning and submission a parcel map for phase one of the project is contingent on recapitalization funding from the new investor, according to Nick Ceaglio, DMA’s director of community relations.
Sedgewick said former DMA president Doug Clyde is currently working on a project in Utah, but is still a consultant on the Dyer Mountain project and may rejoin the DMA management team at some point in the future.
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