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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Peek'n Peak will be sold to Ohio developer

Resort includes two golf coursesBy DAVID ROBINSON News Business Reporter1/25/2006

Ohio real estate developer Paul Kiebler has agreed to buy the Peek'n Peak golf and ski resort and is promising to make "significant" investments in Chautauqua County facility.
Kiebler, through an entity called Kiebler Recreation LLC, has signed an agreement to buy the resort and conference center in Findley Lake from Eugene and Norbert Cross, who have owned the facility since 1988, Peek'n Peak officials said Tuesday.
The resort, which has been for sale for more than a year, includes a pair of 18-hole golf courses, 27 ski slopes, 140 condominiums and a conference center on 1,100 acres.
A Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites that opened in July 2001 will continue to be owned by the Cross family, said Tina Dzuricky, Peek'n Peak's sales and marketing director.
"We plan to maintain the resort's current management team and staff," Kiebler said in a statement. "Our plan is to build on the outstanding foundation provided by the Cross brothers and further the development of Peek'n Peak as a premier destination through significant future investments."
Kiebler, who could not be reached to comment on Tuesday but plans to hold a news conference today at the resort, said he and his family had been to Peek'n Peak "many times" before signing the agreement to buy the facility.
Kiebler's main business is Kiebler Properties, a real estate development and management company in Chardon, Ohio, about 25 miles northeast of Cleveland. Kiebler Properties has developed more than 2,000 multifamily residential units from Cranberry Township, Pa., to Clearwater, Fla.
R. Gordon Mathews, a Pittsburgh real estate developer who has built more than 11,000 apartments and other commercial projects throughout the country, will be a minority investor in Kiebler Recreation based on his development experience, Kiebler said.
Peek'n Peak, about 20 miles east of Erie, Pa., opened in 1964 with six trails and added a nine-hole golf course almost 10 years later. The resort then had severe financial problems and fell into receivership in 1975 until 1985, when the Cross brothers paid off the debt.
The Cross brothers, who now are in their late 60s, took the company private in 1988. The Cross brothers have invested millions in the resort, turning Peek'n Peak into a four-season facility with improved golf courses that now host stops on the Nationwide Tour, which, to use a baseball analogy, essentially is the Triple A version of the PGA Tour.
"It was important to us that we pass our legacy on to someone who will mirror our vision and is equally committed to the continued growth of the resort," Norbert Cross, Peek'n Peek's president, said in a statement.

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