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Southern Utah Town May Buy Ski Resort : Mayor to Urge Purchase of $12-Million Facility If Results of Feasibility Study Are Favorable

September 06, 1987|LOU DESSER | Lou Desser is news editor of the Times real estate section

BRIAN HEAD, Utah — The public will learn Tuesday if this boomtown in the mountains of southern Utah will become the new owner of Brian Head's $12-million ski resort.

Brian Head Enterprises Inc., headed by Burton K. Nichols of Cedar City, Utah, has reached an agreement to sell the facilities for an undisclosed price to Steve Gilbert of Brian Head, with escrow to close on or before Nov. 1, according to Nichols. Gilbert, a member of the town council, said he, in turn, would assign his position in the purchase agreement to the town, according to Mayor Michael G. Golden.

If the findings of an $8,500 feasibility study by Arthur Young & Co. of Salt Lake City are favorable, Golden said he will ask the council at Tuesday night's meeting to accept the purchase agreement. The ski resort property consists of seven chair lifts, buildings, equipment and a portion of the land under the lifts (the U.S. Forest Service owns about half of the land).

Gilbert is acting as middleman, so to speak, between Brian Head Enterprises and the town "to expedite the process in a legal manner without time-consuming preliminary hearings," Nichols said.

Mayor Golden said that if the sale goes through, a management board will be selected to run the ski area. Tax-exempt special revenue bonds would be issued to finance the purchase and taxpayers would not be obligated in any way, he said.

Nichols offered the town whatever assistance it may need in running the facilities."I'll be 100% cooperative with the town in the operation of the resort."

Nichols will retain commercial and residential property in the area, as well as more than 2,000 acres of undeveloped land northeast of the present ski area, where he expects to develop a new ski area within the next few years.

Last ski season was the best ever for Brian Head, according to Nichols. "Business increased 50%, although the snow depth was 40% below normal," he said. Whether or not the town takes over, the ski area will open as soon as the first snow falls, probably around Nov. 1, Nichols said.

Nichols, a former Hughes Aircraft engineer from Marina del Rey, opened the ski area in 1964. The town was largely developed by Southern Californians.

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