Little Sympathy For Tamarack Demise

Growthophobia is likely to break out in the wake of recent events surrounding a failing resort in Valley County.

Small businesses, bankers, and contractors are suffering as a result of the “troubled Tamarack Resort.” The “trouble” is they don’t pay their bills or live up to promises made.

The latest hit is the closure of the Boise office and a batch of contractors who are trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip with claims of close to $13 million in unpaid work at the development.

Despite all the excuses and explanations, it all boils down to one thing–GREED. Developers come in–be it Valley County or a city–with exotic color drawings of their dream project and generate enthusiasm amongst local politicos.

People move into the area like the 49ers hit California during the Gold Rush…all seeking a piece of the action.

The politicos see $$ in future tax revenues.
The local businessman sees $$ in the form of increased sales.
Realtors see $$ in commissions.
Some locals see $$ with promises of new jobs.
Bankers see $$ as interest on loans for home sales.

The wrinkle comes when the house of cards collapses. We slowly learn that a development is subject to all kinds of financing schemes, concessions on the part of local government etc.

The answer is to go slow, think small, and offer no concessions. If a business can’t succeed without tax breaks, use of government land, and huge loans, we probably don’t need it here.

Now there are so many on the hook that innocent parties get harmed. We are curious to see if Valley County’s assessor will LOWER the valuation on all the property that got jacked up in the wake of the Tamarack hype and Presidential visit.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Guardian, you forgot one important part of the equation. That state sponsored, taxpayer funded, bailout that is hovering just over the horizon!

  2. Tamarack has the fatal flaw of no good road to get to the place. Add to that gasoline that will probabaly hit at or near the $4/gallon figure and it spells disaster for the project.

    I just drove home from Southern California on what is spring break week in that area. Guess what? No traffic anywhere, very few cars and trucks until you hit I-15 and Hwy. 395. Gas is $3.91/gallon all over the area and diesel was a high of $4.55/gallon in the Owens Valley.

    Like it or not, a place like Tamarack depends on the local descretionary recreation dollar for income. It just isn’t going to happen with all the venues available in this valley.

  3. This was so predictable. How many ways has Jean Pierre presented the idea of a resort in that valley to Valley County and for how many years? At least twenty-five years.

    Just like the slump in housing across the country, that little village of over-priced homes will most likely be stagnant for quite some time.

    Like the people here in Eagle who purchased their McMansions when credit was easy, now many will suffer financially.

  4. Dave, I think a bit more research on your part is in order here before you jump to too many conclusions. While I don’t think the management of Tamarack is blameless, I do think that a very large share of the circumstances here were completely out of their hands. Their financing was “called” not because the resort was failing, but because the bank that had put the instrument together was failing due to a rogue trader that caused Billions in damage to the bank. If this hadn’t happened, it is very likely that Tamarack would be humming along nicely right now and would likely survive the credit crisis.

    As it stands now, I can only hope that a reputable resort management company is able to pick up these assets and finish this property the way it deserves to be finished. Otherwise we are going to have a nasty, rotting eyesore for years to come.

  5. Amen!! You get it right again Dave!!

  6. Did we learn NOTHING from “The Music Man”??

  7. As a 40 year plus skier, I tried Tamarack twice and could never find the appeal. It has lousy terrain and the bottom of the hill melts fast in early spring. They should have put the short lift at the bottom and the long lift at the top. Bad designers. Still would not change the funky staircase like terrain. The whole thing was a huge hype machine that all the chamber cheer leaders bought into. Personally, I think it is probably one of the biggest single money laundering operations ever in Idaho. Idaho crime investigators are too stupid to bust money laundering crimes because it’s so easy to bust pot smoking kids on the greenbelt. Or they’ve been told by their minders to look the other way.

    My bet is Tamarack will get a massive taxpayer bailout, and become a “private members” only ski area with some land swap deal made in a Idaho Dept.of Lands / US Forest Service back room deal. The rich guys will make a killing with huge property tax breaks and insider deals and the locals and two bit investors will get hosed. Then the R politicians who look the otherway will get re-elected for saving Valley County.

  8. John Mitchell
    Apr 17, 2008, 3:45 pm

    Avimor will be next on the bankruptcy line….Work is at a standstill up there and I doubt if they will put in the required ITD overpass—-

  9. We often hear large companies scream about too much government regulation and how such regulation deters solid economic growth, yet when these businesses screw up in the free market they run to government for bail outs, handouts and help.

    I say let’s stay the course, less government regulation but no government welfare for busineeses either.

  10. The few will get rich, or have already, and the rest of us will pay. Follow the money and you will find the greedy rich folk.

  11. “We are curious to see if Valley County’s assessor will LOWER the valuation on all the property that got jacked up in the wake of the Tamarack hype and Presidential visit.”

    Guardian, do you hide out each holiday to see if the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and The Great Pumpkin appear?

  12. Heard rumblings of this from businesses in the Tamarack area nearly two years ago — the boo-boo at the bank was just the final nail. Not that someone won’t pick up the whole thing at fire sale prices and hum right along destroying the area in future years.

    In 1970, on a Forest Service tour to the Warm Lake area, there was discussion of a possible ski resort on that mountain Tamarack has developed. The consensus was that the snow quality was unpredictable and the slopes less than ideal. So, I never did understand the determination to bulldoze the project through.

    Speaking of Avimor, did they ever obtain a consistent source of water?

  13. I hate to ruin your fun by injecting some accuarate facts into all of the misinformation, but I can give you a little insight into the Avimor project. There has been no agreement or requirement yet from ITD regarding an overpass on Hwy 55, and an assured water source apporoved by the PUC from United Water is operational to the site. Sorry…back to Tamarack bashing you go.

  14. “antiphobe?” Just one more example of exactly what is destroying Idaho. Sounds like something someone picked up in SEA, SWA or Mexico. It is so sad that they seem to be epidemic here anymore. Where is the DDT, Penicillin or Imodium when Idaho needs thousands of curative doses to rid ourselves of them?
    Hope that bootplug (sp?) saves enough money for a ticket home to France.

  15. John Mitchell
    Apr 21, 2008, 8:17 am

    Antiphobe–thanks for the Avimor update–I drive by there every week and haven’t seen much activity. Would LOVE to see ITD stand up to their committment for an overpass. A turnout lane would be an absolute disaster for weekenders going to McCall or HBend. By the way, internal sources tell me that Avimor will be trucking their solid waste to Idaho Waste Systems on Simco Rd (Elmore County).

  16. Have you seen all the plans for huge developments SE of Boise? One scheme proposes a whole new town called Mayfield Springs halfway to Mountain Home at the Stage Stop – right where the pronghorn and elk winter. There won’t be any work there after construction ends so the residents will all have to drive 20-30 miles to Boise and Meridian – that’ll improve air quality and reduce road congestion!

    And there’s not enough ground water for tens of thousands of homes, but the developers claim they can bring water 30 miles from the Snake – that’ll be cheap! I wonder if the residents will mind sharing with the nuclear power station planned for Bruneau?

    Here’s what I don’t understand: If people want to move to Idaho and live in a city, there are plenty to choose from, why do we need another one? Mountain Home would love the new developments and expanded business, and already has some core infrastructure. Why the urgent need to destroy wildlife habitat and open space so far from any employment? Greed. The developers bought the land cheap, and stand to make a huge profit . . . especially because it is so easy to manipulate our politicians and planners.

    I hope they lose everything in the real estate crunch.

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