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December 2, 2013
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New owner of Mountain House Lodge

The holder of a loan note on Mountain House Lodge has taken possession of the Aspen bed and breakfast.

MarMax HayTel LLC announced Monday that it’s the new owner of the financially saddled lodge, which had gone through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, receivership and foreclosure proceedings.

MarMax is aligned with HayMax Capital LLC, which is controlled by Michael and Aaron Brown, who own the Hotel Aspen and Molly Gibson Lodge.

A statement issued by the new owners said that staff at the Hotel Aspen and Molly Gibson will assist in the operations of Mountain House Lodge this ski season. A representative for the new owners said that no existing employees at Mountain House Lodge will lose their jobs.

In a prepared statement, Michael Brown said that the lodge is being considered for redevelopment, but that hinges on the city of Aspen’s code revisions being considered for lodge redevelopment.

“If the code is written in a way that is compelling for redevelopment, we will consider that possibility, but the direction currently being deliberated does not meet that standard,” Brown said. “If the community really wants existing lodges to redevelop their properties, I believe that the city needs to be a lot bolder, both through intelligent, commercial incentives and by simplifying the confusing application process.”

The 26-bedroom Mountain House Lodge has stayed open during the bankruptcy and was operated by All Seasons Resorts Lodging and owned by Utah-based Mountain House Partners LLC.

The deal, which closed Wednesday, comes after the bed and breakfast was on the verge of being sold at a foreclosure auction in March. That same month, the Aspen City Council had even considered buying the lodge, located at 905 E. Hopkins Ave., after its fiscal woes surfaced.

But on March 26, Mountain House Partners LLC avoided foreclosure by filing for bankruptcy protection in Denver, listing $4.16 million in assets and $7.9 million in liabilities. The biggest creditor was the Aspen branch of Community Banks of Colorado, which was owed $5.92 million at the time, the bankruptcy says. Of that amount, $1.9 million was unsecured, the petition says.

Meanwhile, MarMax took possession of the note, and terms of the deal are detailed in bankruptcy papers filed Nov. 7. In a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy, Mountain House Partners says that it planned to convey the property to MarMax in lieu of foreclosure. MarMax also agreed to waive off any debts owed on the loan note, along with paying $150,000 to Mountain House Lodge and another $25,000 for unsecured claims.

“MarMax is (Mountain House’s) largest creditor,” the motion says. “Pursuant the settlement, all other creditors will be paid in full.”

That includes $52,755 Mountain House had owed to the Pitkin County treasurer in unpaid property taxes. MarMax paid off that debt on Oct. 15, according to bankruptcy papers.

The bankruptcy was dismissed Nov. 22.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Dec 2, 2013 10:00PM Published Dec 4, 2013 11:17AM Copyright 2013 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.