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Sporting Club bought by Atlanta investors

Hard-luck development stalled in 2008, went into foreclosure in 2010.
Half-built homes like this one on Lodge Cottage Drive are scattered across the landscape at Snake River Sporting Club. PRICE CHAMBERS / NEWS&GUIDE
By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
February 27, 2013

After spending years in messy foreclosure proceedings, the Snake River Sporting Club property is in new hands.

A group of investors from Atlanta known as Cygnus closed a deal with Wells Fargo Bank on Friday to buy the 257 acres in the partly complete residential development and golf course, located about 15 miles south of Jackson in the Snake River Canyon.

“We’re really early in the process for looking at different options,” said Adam Goldstein, Cygnus’ investment manager for the project.

None of the parties involved in the deal would disclose the purchase price. The Teton County Assessor’s office valued the property last year at nearly $8.7 million.

The 5-year-old Atlanta investment company still is “evaluating all options for the former club assets,” Goldstein said in an email.

“Numerous entitlement and operational issues must be resolved, given the unfinished nature of the development,” he said.

Representatives from the company are expected to visit Jackson in coming weeks to meet with county planners and tour the property.

Wells Fargo and Henry S. Miller Brokerage executives referred questions about the sale to Cygnus.

The purchase marks the end of years of foreclosure proceedings and litigation over the failed development.

“It’s the end of our deal, our ordeal,” Wells Fargo Assistant Vice President Curtis Abernathy said Monday.

The Snake River Sporting Club was approved by county officials in 2003 as a planned residential development. Plans included a golf course, clubhouse and adjacent townhouses, and 68 residential lots.

The development stalled in 2008 when the real estate economy crashed. Sales at the property were slow and liens filed by contractors against the club’s owners soon began to pile up. Wells Fargo started foreclosure proceedings on the property in 2010.

Meanwhile, county officials foreclosed on more than $6 million in bonds on the property. Teton County used the money to complete infrastructure at the site, hiring contractors to pave roads into the property and install water and sewer lines that allowed people who had purchased lots in the development to get to and use their property. 

The troubled development went back on the market last fall after Wells Fargo took control of the deeds for the property. 

A brochure circulated last fall said the property has a “90 percent complete, 23,000-square-foot clubhouse” that “only requires minimal cosmetic and mechanical work to be fully functional.”

There’s also the 18-hole golf course that the brochure says has been maintained well enough over the past few years that it could quickly be restored.

The property was approved for 65 single-family homes. Forty-three of those lots have been sold, the brochure says. Additionally, there are three cabin sites with partly completed homes on them.

All of the utilities are in place for the property. About six miles of roads have been built within the development.

Anyone who buys a lot still will have to get building permits for individual residential projects, county planners said. The overall approval for the project possibly will remain in place, as construction at the property had long been under way, establishing a vested right in the plan.

Several people bought homes at the property and live there. Others watch over the property and maintain the site.

Cygnus took over a lot last year that used to be owned by former Atlanta Braves all-star pitcher John Smoltz, according to Teton County land records. Wells Fargo started foreclosure proceedings against the former MLB star in 2011, claiming he owed $1.6 million on the property.

Wells Fargo transferred a deed on the property to Cygnus last November.

Cygnus also is listed in county land records as the owner of a unit in the Lodges at Granite Ridge.

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