By Jann Wiswall

It took all of 30 minutes for 14 prime lots at HoliMont’s new Westmont Ridge development to sell during the Saturday, Feb. 23 auction at HoliMont, and three additional lots were sold just after the bidding ended.

The first three lots were claimed by one bidder for $200,000 each. The next round of bidding yielded another buyer of two lots for $195,000 each. The next lot went for $170,000. Then seven more bidders purchased eight lots for $130,000 each. Including the three that sold for $130,000 each after the official auction ended, total sales were $2,590,000.

The 31 lots that were up for bid range in size from one-third to one-half acre and, when finished, will feature ski-in, ski-out terrain adjacent to the Sunset area of the resort. The sale of the lots represents Phase 1 of a two-phase plan.

Funding for Phase 2, which involves building new slopes in the Sunset area, a new lodge, a multi-unit condominium, “Park & Pipe” terrain, a new beginner ski area, high-speed detachable lift, a Nordic Center, parking and more, is dependent on the funds generated from Phase 1.

After the auction ended, HoliMont board members and staff expressed cautious optimism. Board chair Al Mahar said that, from his perspective, the auction had gone “really well. We got the average cost per lot we wanted to achieve and we’re close to the number we need in order for the project to go ahead.” He also noted the auction represented an “amazing statement of strength of the real estate market in Western New York.”

Auctioneer Cash Cunningham agreed, and said that “any time we sell over $2 million worth of land in Western New York, we’re happy.”

Next Steps

Even though the auction was deemed a success, the HoliMont Board of Directors still needs to decide if the full Westmont Ridge project can go ahead. On Sunday, Feb. 24, the board’s real estate committee met to go over all details, and Mahar said he expects the committee to present a recommendation to go forward. The board also has sent out bid packages to get firm estimates on infrastructure costs. Once all information is in hand, the full board will meet on March 15 to make a final “go” or “no-go” decision.

In the meantime, inquiries about the remaining 14 lots continue to come in.

“They are on the market, but we haven’t yet assigned prices for the lots,” said Mahar, who notes that HoliMont Realty will be handling sales once pricing is determined.

If the project is approved, HoliMont will start the infrastructure (road, sewer, water) this spring and close on the lots by the end of 2013 after the infrastructure is complete.

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