Two of Provo's main entertainment attractions have gone through the ownership gamut the past year, but both are up and running for another summer season.
Seven Peaks Golf Course is now owned by a group of Provo investors who next year likely will replace a good portion of the course with a housing project. For this year, however, the golf course and driving range will remain open to the public every day except Sundays."We're not sure what we're going to do yet," said golf course owner Scott McQuarrie. "But I don't think you'll see any serious development here until next spring."
Meanwhile, Seven Peaks Water Park remains under the ownership of the Utah Department of Insurance while U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Glen Clark decides which bid for purchasing the park to accept. Currently the park is being managed by Paul Mix, who has operated the park since it was constructed in 1988.
"A lot of people get the wrong impression when they hear the word bankruptcy, but I can assure you this park is being run top notch," Mix said. "I built this baby, and I take a lot of pride in it."
State insurance officials obtained ownership of the water park and golf course last year when they seized the assets of Southern American Insurance. Insurance officials said Victor Borcherds, owner of Southern American, used the company's funds to purchase Seven Peaks Hotel and to build the golf course and water park. Borcherds failed to clear the loans, so insurance officials are liquidating the assets to repay more than $1 billion in claims.
Clark approved the sale of the hotel to Kahler Corporation out of Minnesota and BMT Investments of Orem for $6.1 million. The hotel is now operated as the Provo Park Hotel. The 82-acre golf course was sold to McQuarrie and his partners for $2.1 million.
Initially, Clark approved an offer from a group of NuSkin International executives to purchase the 23-acre water park for $1.95 million. In February, however, he decided to accept a higher offer of $2.6 million from Golfland Entertainment Center Inc. from Arizona.
A few weeks later Clark's decision was appealed by another bidder, Peak Investments, led by former Brigham Young University football star Jason Buck. Buck's group said the terms of the sale to Golfland were not consistent with the offer approved by Clark. Arguments on Buck's appeal where heard last week and Clark ruled Monday that the sale of the water park is still pending.
"Until we read the court transcript and have an opportunity to meet and discuss it we don't really know what his ruling means," Stillman said.
Stillman said the ruling likely means the Insurance Department can submit to Clark for approval the terms of the sale to Golfland, or it can reopen the bidding process. Insurance officials might allow Golfland and Peak to negotiate between themselves. Peak attorneys said in court Monday that they are willing to pay a higher price for the park than Golfland's bid.
The Insurance Department might choose to operate the park through this summer and try to resolve the dispute during the winter.
"The water park will be sold, but it might not be this year," Stillman said.
If Golfland purchases the park, it likely will construct a miniature golf course on the softball diamonds located west of the water slides, Mix said.
"Miniature golf is their specialty, so I'd be surprised if they didn't build one here," he said.
If the golf business is lucrative, McQuarrie said Seven Peaks Golf Course might remain open past next year. Right now, however, investors are hoping for a zone change where they can construct single-family homes and townhouses on the property.
If the housing project goes through, developers plan to preserve three to six holes of the 18-hole course for private use by the residents.
"We'll try to keep nine open, but we don't know if that is possible," McQuarrie said.