Stenger Refutes Rumors of Demise, Says Q Burke Making Progress With Debts
Bill Stenger, general partner for Q Burke Mountain Resort, said Friday the hotel’s partners are working hard to pay the money still owed to the general contractor for the new $50 million hotel at the resort - which is completed, but not open because of the outstanding obligations.
Stenger said the hotel’s owners expect to have the general contractor paid in full by the end of April. He said it should take about 30 days after that to get the doors to the new hotel open.
In the past few weeks, Stenger said he has continued to raise financial commitments from international investors in the project, and had a successful fundraising trip to Vietnam recently. He said he is traveling to South Africa to raise capital, and that the hotel is being shown regularly to investors, including a group from India recently.
“There is a lot of activity at the hotel,” he said. “It’s just a beautiful facility.”
The hotel had been slated to open Dec. 11, 2015, and several hoped-for earlier opening dates have likewise since come and gone.
Investors who see the hotel “realize it’s going to be financially successful, because there’s no competition,” said Stenger on Friday. “We will get this hotel open soon. We are making progress on a weekly basis,” he said. “I have absolute confidence that we will have satisfied our obligations with the contractor by the end of April.”
Stenger insists there’s nothing to rumors of insolvency for the resort.
Jerry Davis, principal and president of PeakCM, the general contractor for the project, on Friday said he has not been paid any additional funds in what’s owed for the hotel.
Davis said settling the dispute with the state agencies over November requisitions “is paramount,” adding, “There has been no update in regards to the state.”
Davis said in a recent interview he was still owed in excess of $5 million for the hotel project, nearly a quarter of which are disputed between him and the State of Vermont’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD).
The agency, and the state’s Division of Financial Regulation are overseeing disbursement of escrow funds from the EB-5 immigrant investor program financing the new hotel.
PeakCM and the state disagree about whether some of the billings from the contractor are permitted under the agreement reached with the state and Q Burke.
Patricia Moulton, secretary of the ACCD, did not have anything to report about the situation with Q Burke on Friday.
Davis has made clear he will not release the certificates of occupancy for the new hotel - which he already has in hand - until the dispute over billings with the state is behind him. He said he would enter into an agreement with the partnership of Q Burke for the money owed outside of the EB-5 escrow funds, saying he has worked with the resorts partners at Jay Peak and Burke and they have always met their commitments.
Complicating things further has been poor weather.
“It’s been a terribly disappointing winter,” said Stenger. “The worst I can remember and the worst most people can remember.”
Despite the lack of snow, Jay Peak saw the season end just six percent down from last year’s revenues, Stenger said Friday.
“It’s a winter to get through, and hopefully never, ever repeat,” said Stenger.
The water park and other year-round amenities at Jay Peak continued to draw in visitors and helped buoy the winter, said Stenger. “You’re awfully glad you’ve got those alternatives,” in a winter like this, said Stenger. He said the resort was built “to not have to rely so heavily on winter.”
Stenger said it’s been difficult having to put off the start of work for so many people who had hoped to be working at Q Burke Hotel & Conference Center.
“There’s no question that this has been very, very challenging for us,” Stenger said.
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