One of the most important dates in the 47-year history of Peek'n Peak Resort & Spa arrives on Aug. 25.
A bankruptcy judge in Cleveland on that date is scheduled to approve the sale of the 1,150-acre ski and golf complex, near Findley Lake, N.Y.
How that sale will occur remains undecided.
The Peak's main creditor and bankruptcy trustee could pick the buyer, based on a review of bids, on Aug. 22.
Or the trustee and the creditor, Huntington National Bank, could arrange to sell the Peak at an auction on Aug. 24.
Either way, the sale will not become final until a judge in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Cleveland approves it on Aug. 25.
The court has set no minimum bid, though Huntington National Bank is owed $17 million, including fees and costs.
The Peak is not expected to fetch that high of an offer. Huntington agreed it would receive no more than $13.1 million from the sale, indicating the bank already expects to lose millions of dollars on its investment, according to court records.
The sale will bring a sense of certainty to the Peak, whose owner, Kiebler Recreation LLC, of Chardon, Ohio, outside Cleveland, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2010.
Kiebler's owner, real estate developer Paul E. Kiebler IV, failed to come up with a reorganization plan, which would have let his company pay its debts and retain ownership.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Randolph Baxter in June appointed a trustee to run the Peak and prepare it for a sale. Baxter on Thursday approved the bidding procedures.
The Peak remains in business, with about 300 employees during golf season and about 1,000 during ski season. The new owner is not obligated to keep those employees, according to the proposed sale agreement, though the agreement also states that the "buyer intends to hire many of the affected employees as new hires."
The Peak's trustee, David O. Simon, a veteran bankruptcy lawyer in Cleveland, said he expects the Peak to draw a large number of prospective buyers, who have until Aug. 12 to submit sealed bids to him.
"We've had a tremendous amount of activity from prospective serious buyers," Simon said on Monday.
The new owner will inherit a regional attraction that, according to court records, can be profitable if it is not carrying large debts. Kiebler Recreation's debts became unmanageable as it borrowed to pay for the purchase and to expand the resort's condominiums.
Kiebler Recreation bought the Peak in January 2006 from the Cross family, of Waterford. Brothers Eugene and Norbert Cross, both now deceased, bought the Peak in 1988.
Kiebler Recreation owes the Crosses $8.4 million, and the family is likely to recover only a fraction of that amount, if anything, however the Peak is sold, according to court records.
ED PALATTELLA can be reached at 870-1813 or by e-mail.
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