Breakthrough for Tupper resort as developers buy 5,800 acres

Also pay more than $100,000 in back taxes

Forested land the Adirondack Club and Resort developers bought from the Oval Wood Dish Corporation Liquidating Trust is seen from Big Tupper Ski Area on Mount Morris, with the village of Tupper Lake in the background. (Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)

TUPPER LAKE — The giant wheels of the Adirondack Club and Resort can finally begin to turn.

Thirteen years after entering into an agreement with the Oval Wood Dish Corporation Liquidating Trust back in 2004 to purchase approximately 5,800 acres of land, Preserve Associates, the group behind the ACR, has finally sealed the deal.

Preserve Associates bought the land for $5.2 million, according to documents recorded with the Franklin County clerk on Tuesday.

“They closed last Friday with Oval Wood Dish Liquidating Trust on 5,800 acres, which is the bulk of the Adirondack Club and Resort site, to add it to the ski area, the marina and Cranberry Pond,” Attorney for Preserve Associates, Robert Sweeney confirmed Wednesday. “They own the whole site now.”

Sweeney also confirmed that Preserve Associates has paid more than $100,000 in back property taxes that it owed to Franklin County.

A diorama shows development plans for the Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake. (Enterprise photo — Adam St. Pierre)

After surviving a years-long, on-and-off state Adirondack Park Agency review and a lawsuit by environmentalists, this acquisition is one of the last major hurdles for Preserve Associates in its effort to begin selling home-building lots to prospective buyers.

“In the first phase of the project, there are 18 great camp lots, and several of those are under contract and proceeding toward sale on those,” Sweeney said. The ACR uses the term “great camp” to describe the high-end estates its customers would build.

“Like any other process, we have several things to do, but we’re moving in that direction,” Sweeney said.

Eight of those first-phase great camp lots are classified as “large” and 10 as “small.” They vary from around 30 acres to more than 700 acres. Many of the lots border Lake Simond.

“Five people have options on the five biggest lots,” said village Mayor Paul Maroun, who said he’s excited by the news. “I heard an estimate for those five big lots is in the 15 to 16 million range — not each one, in aggregate.”

At a meeting in April when the town-village Joint Planning Board approved a map outlining the boundaries of the salable lots, conditions to their sale were also established. As part of these provisions, 7.5 percent of the gross sale price of each of the 18 great camp lots will be used for operation and maintenance of, and capital improvements to, the Big Tupper Ski Area, around which the resort has been planned. Closed since 1999, Big Tupper was reopened by volunteers in late 2009 and run sporadically since then, although not in the last two winters.

With lands purchased and potential buyers in the offing, Preserve Associates is looking toward immediate development.

“That’s the hope and objective,” Sweeney said. “Closing on the lots and beginning construction of the roads to access the lots as soon as possible.”

Tom Lawson and Michael Foxman, the principals involved in Preserve Associates, could not be reached for comment, but Sweeney communicated their feelings.

“The reaction from my client is that they’re absolutely thrilled with the acquisition of the property, and the project now becoming a reality.”

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