Jiminy Peak land assets back in operators' hands

Jiminy Peak

This story has been corrected to reflect a deed transfer at the Northern Berkshire Registry of Deeds in Adams.

HANCOCK The operators of Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort have purchased the assets of the business after selling them nine years ago.

Brian Fairbank and Joseph O'Donnell, who have run Jiminy Peak since the 1980s, have repurchased the resort's assets from CLP Jiminy Peak of New York City, a real estate investment trust, for $18 million, according to documents filed at the Northern Berkshire Registry of Deeds in Adams.

The transaction involves six separate parcels, five in Lanesborough and one in Hancock, according to registry documents. The assets include the resort's land, buildings, equipment and other infrastructure.

The resort's new ownership entity is Belmont JP Ski LLC of Cambridge, according to papers filed with the Secretary of State's office. CLP Jiminy Peak is associated with Oz Real Estate. Oz is the parent company of Ski Resort Holdings LLC, which bought 14 major ski resorts from CNL Lifestyle Properties in 2016, including Jiminy Peak and four other New England ski areas.

The change in ownership of the resort's assets will have no effect on the operation of the ski area, according to Tyler Fairbank, CEO of the Fairbank Group, which operates Jiminy Peak. Tyler is the son of Brian Fairbank.

"This is really just a refinancing measure," he said. "The operations of Jiminy and its management and staff will remain identical to the way it has been in the past. We're basically just sending a rent check to a different mailbox, that's all."

Brian Fairbank and O'Donnell, who have been business partners for almost 40 years, sold the resort's assets for $27 million in January 2010 to CNL Lifestyle Properties Inc. As part of that transaction, the two signed a lease that allowed them to operate Jiminy Peak for 40 years, according to newenglandskihistory.com. That deal also allowed the partners to retire a sizable amount of debt. Brian Fairbank has been the manager of Jiminy Peak since 1969.

Real estate investment trusts, or REITs, are investment vehicles through which members invest in different commercial properties, such as ski resorts, shopping centers and health care facilities. REITs are beginning to divest themselves of ski resorts, according to Tyler Fairbank.

With the 40-year operating lease still in place, Brian Fairbank and O'Donnell believed this would be a good time to repurchase Jiminy's assets.

"When they sold it, it was really kind of the right thing to do," Tyler Fairbank said. "It made the most sense from a planning perspective for Joe and Brian. But as time went on, they thought that maybe, you know, we're better off having control of the asset.

"Assets depreciate over time, and they bought it back for fair market value. Now, it's in their hands once again."

The Fairbank Group also manages Cranmore Mountain Resort in New Hampshire, Bromley Mountain Ski Resort in Vermont, EOS Ventures and other investments. All of the Fairbank Group's properties are run in the same manner, with one entity controlling the assets and the other managing the property, Tyler Fairbank said.

Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6224.