"There would need to be an amenity plan, too...
another step is to consider what we need to offer guests," Selbo
noted. He envisions a sports center with spa, pool, et-cetera in
the vicinity of the golf course clubhouse. And perhaps a waterpark
or some other amenity on another parcel.
Editor's note: This is Part 5 in a series that brings an
historical perspective on Killington Village up to date.
While Les Otten had made progress in the late 1990s with: an Act
250 permit for a conceptual master plan for a base village for
Killington; a "growth center" designation that paved the way for
development; and the hotel and conference center, a problem was
looming which would stall fulfillment of well-intended plans.
In 1997 Otten had thrown his innate good sense to the wind and
listened to the siren song of go west young man and go public. He
had also formed ASC Resort Properties (ASCRP), a real estate arm
that could borrow huge sums by using its considerable land
holdings as asset collateral for developing hotels
(quartershare condos) at five resorts. With ASCRP in default, a
$150 million investment in stock by Oak Hill Capital Partners was
seen as a way to stabilize the company. When further planning and
spending didn't resolve debt problems to Oak Hill's satisfaction,
ASC began to divest properties and Killington was sold, setting in
motion yet another village plan, the fifth since 1967.
Back to the Future
No stranger to a cold climate, SP Land President Steve Selbo was
born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, the fifth of five
Used to being asked "Fargo, as in the movie," he readily volunteers
that one of his childhood babysitters played the role of the wife
who gets murdered in the movie.
Like his siblings, Selbo went to Southern Methodist University in
Dallas, Texas, where for a time he was on the swim team. He
received a degree in Business Administration in 1981.
In his first job, he worked in commercial real estate lending at BA
Mortgage of Texas, a division of Bank of America. Later, he worked
in "loan workout," handling non-performing loans, a challenge that
requires ingenuity, patience, and perseverance - good practice for
future work in Killington!
Selbo moved to Atlanta to work with BankBoston's National Real
Estate Division in September 1990. BankBoston eventually merged
into Fleet Bank. During his time in BankBoston/Fleet, he had gotten
involved with the banking side of residential and resort real
estate development and worked with several of the nation's
top-twenty home developers.
In February 2002, he was asked to work on the ASCRP loan, a
challenging case which had eluded resolution and required a fresh
perspective. Selbo became familiar with ASCRP's capital structure,
including the ASCRP subordinated debt, a majority of which was held
by Ski Partners 2000, a group of Dallas based investors managed by
Eiger, Inc. Both the ASCRP senior and subordinated debt had been in
and out of default for some time prior to Selbo's
Teaming up with one of the founding partners of Eiger, Paul Rowsey,
Selbo began working with executives from ASC to resolve ASCRP's
debt issues. This work included partial land collateral releases
for cash at Heavenly Valley and Steamboat and the Canyons
collateral swap for the land at Killington Resort. As part of the
debt restructure, ASCRP deeded the reconfigured land collateral
(469 acres) at Killington Resort to SP Land Company, majority owned
by Ski Partners.
In May of 2004, Selbo was approached by Rowsey, who was also
chairman of Ski Partners, to head up SP Land Company as its
president and to develop a village plan for Killington. Selbo moved
to the area in August 2004 with his wife Stacy and their three
sons, eventually settling in Bridgewater.
Having looked over the original ASC Master Plan and a Marriott
Vacation Club proposal, Selbo began work with Hart Howerton, a
resort architectural and land-planning firm. However, that was put
on hold when builder Centex Destination Properties (CDP) approached
SP Land about a phased buy-out of SP Land's holdings at Killington
Resort. CDP was developing real estate projects at Loon Mountain
Resort (NH) and throughout the U.S. as a division of Centex Homes,
a national top-five homebuilder.
Selbo stayed on to look after SP Land interests as this was a
phased project. During this time, CDP started talks with the resort
to obtain the Ramshead parking lot, which it felt was needed to
provide a better base village. But in June 2006, CDP, having
foreseen the coming housing issues, decided to end its ski-resort
development work and withdrew from the Killington project. (CDP was
dissolved and Centex, which had overextended with land purchases,
was eventually bought out.)
Re-engaging Hart Howerton, Selbo resumed work on the village
planning. ASC's new CEO William J. Fair who had been 'righting the
ASC ship' under Oak Hill's by-now majority ownership of the
company, had preliminarily agreed to review the sale of the
Ramshead lot to SP Land. But the next call SP Land received
concerned a different offer.
ASC was divesting its properties and was offering to sell its
Killington assets to SP Land. Since SP Land was not in the ski area
business, it began to look for someone who was. While many
operators, including Intrawest, "kicked the tires," Powdr Corp, a
privately held ski company based in Utah, showed real
interest in the resort. (Powdr CEO John Cumming said in a 2008
interview that he had always been interested in Killington.)
While facilitating the transition of mountain assets ownership from
ASC (2006-07), Selbo worked with Powdr Corp and Hart Howerton to
modify the skier access plan for the village to one preferred by
Powdr. This included a ski bridge (over the road) and Ski Beach
concept and shifted the village to the north. Because Powdr wanted
to retain the Upper Snowshed parking lot, SP Land ended up as owner
of the Vale lot.
He also arranged for SP Land to own the Ramshead Lot and other
parcels of land which brought land for the village core to 303
acres. The overall resort acquisition increased SP Land holdings to
1310 acres in and around Killington Resort and Pico Mountain.
With the original ASC Conceptual Master Plan not being renewed,
Selbo next began the Conceptual Master Plan (PUD) permit process
with the Town of Killington. He encountered a waiting period as a
review of the plan by LandWorks had been ordered by the selectmen.
That report was eventually declared null and void by the town, and
in fall of 2008, Selbo proceeded to workshops for input as to the
conceptual plan. Gaining a positive reception/comments, he filed
the Village PUD with the town in 2009 and Golf Course PUD in 2010.
Gaining those new master plan approvals, he set about raising money
from investors to fund the Act 250 effort of Phase I of the
Killington Village Master Plan.
During this time new town zoning regulations had to be written, and
Selbo participated on the committee to review and recommend new
guidelines to be consistent with the Environmental Court's rulings
of September 2010. During the last five years, he has also been to
the Environmental Court twice, the Vermont Supreme Court once
(regarding the Act 250 subdivision of property as granted to ASC),
and the Vermont Federal District Court (on the ski pass
Selbo turned his attention to Phase I design in 2011, working with
25 consulting firms to finalize the plan, including Act 250
consultant Stephanie Hainley who coordinated the drafting and
presentation of the Act 250 application. SP Land presented an Act
250 application for permits for the Master Plan and Phase I
construction permits (for 193 village residential units, a skier
services building, 30,000 square feet of commercial space in the
village, and 32 home lots at Ramshead) on February 28, 2012. With
the hearings held recently, he is now working on responding to
Recess Order requests for more information.
If Act 250 permits are granted for Phase I, infrastructure
construction - roads, water, sewer - would not start before 2014 as
there is much work to be done (marketing, financing, finalizing
construction-level documents, hiring contractors, et-cetera).
He also said that while the conceptual master plan calls for 2,300
units, it would likely take "25 to 30 years of sustained
development," given economy swings and new products and trends that
would be utilized to keep things fresh.
"There would need to be an amenity plan, too," Selbo noted, saying
"another step is to consider what we need to offer guests." He
envisions a sports center with spa, pool, et-cetera in the vicinity
of the golf course clubhouse. And perhaps a waterpark or some other
amenity on another parcel.
Asked about his patience with so many changes in direction to his
job of planning a village, Selbo says, it's definitely been an
"interesting nine years" while acknowledging that he never
envisioned it taking this long to get to the permit process and
admitting to some frustrations.
But he also believes the goal is a good one, saying, "The
foundation Pres Smith put together of a tremendous ski experience
deserves an accompanying residential experience for guests. The way
to do that is to get a meaningful development process moving. I
believe it will extend the lifeblood of the resort another fifty