TRAVERSE CITY – The long-awaited demolition of the former first-class Sugar Loaf Ski Resort is nearing completion and speculation on what will replace it is ongoing.
But the new owners, known only as SPV 45 LLC, are silent on the subject. The same goes for Leland’s real estate advisor Ross Satterwhite, whose firm Iron Bridge Capital represented SPV 45 LLC in the purchase of the decaying property.
Satterwhite said the new owner planned to demolish the complex and, true to his word, the walls began to crumble in early November.
“Whatever it is, God bless it,” said Tony Mattar, co-manager of Sugar Loaf Townhouses LLC. “He did what he said he was going to do and he demolished it.”
Mattar said townhouse owners rejoiced when heavy equipment began rolling over the property, which adjoins the townhouses. The demolition is being carried out by Taplin Enterprises, which has offices in Kalkaska.
“I’ve been fighting for this for 21 years,” said Mattar, who is also the chairman of the townhouse association’s board of directors. Townhouses, sold to private owners years ago, are no longer part of the property.
The complex was due to reopen or be demolished, he said.
“Over time it became clear that it was never going to be reopened again because decay was setting in and the buildings were collapsing,” Mattar said.
Pain de Sucre opened in 1947 and by the mid-1970s attracted between 3,000 and 4,000 skiers per day. It was the largest employer in Leelanau County, and the hotel, lodge, and townhouses were often filled to capacity.
It also drew tennis players to its indoor facility, the Sugar Barn, which had fallen into disrepair and was demolished in 2015 after the roof collapsed.
In 2000, the resort closed after a few winters with not enough snow and a series of homeowners with high interest mortgages couldn’t get by.
Since then, empty buildings that still contained dining tables, beds, and old TVs have attracted vandals and revelers, with shattered glass doors and collapsed roofs leaving once-chic rooms open to the elements and the curious. Township and county officials feared someone might be injured.
A 2014 inspection by Leelanau County building officials found more than 20 code violations. Former owner Remo Polselli has also been cited for violating a Cleveland Township plague ordinance.
The property was purchased in 2016 by real estate developer Jeff Katofsky of Sweet Bread LLC, who visited the county in 2017 and told a crowd of hundreds of people he planned to invest $ 134 million to bring back the Bread. de Sucre as a four-star resort that creates 250 jobs a year. The demolition which he said would start in June 2020 never took place.
Tired of the increasingly dangerous empty buildings, Cleveland Township officials cited Katofsky for violating a plague ordinance enacted more than a year ago.
Mattar said that shortly after it became clear that the buildings would indeed be demolished by the new owner, property values began to rise. Several townhouses were listed and sold within a day, he said.