Meet the companies vying for control of Vail Lake Resort – Press Enterprise

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Three companies are vying to take over the management of Vail Lake Resort, a campground east of Temecula that was known as Butterfield Country in the 1970s.

The list includes the Chula Vista-based campground operator KOA, which would rename the property to KOA, and Paydar Properties, which manages the Sunland RV sites.

Slide presentation from Sunland RV, one of the companies seeking to take over the management of Vail Lake Resort property.

The third claimant is The California Parks Co., which has managed the RV parking lots and recreation rooms since the campground and thousands of acres around the lake were purchased by the Rancho California Water District for $ 50 million in bankruptcy proceedings in 2014.

The candidates were unveiled on Thursday July 27 at a Rancho Water committee meeting. The full board is due to meet on August 10 to pick one of the companies and start negotiating a lease, which could be a point of contention for the board.

“As I explained in the meeting, these guys come in offering a few hundred thousand dollars a year, I think it should be three or four times that,” said Danny Martin, board member , who openly asked how the board works. find a suitor for the property.

Instead of opening an exclusive negotiation with one of the three companies, Martin said in a telephone interview that the district should bid them up in an auction for the rights to take back the complex. He also said the district must ensure that any lease has a series of escalators that will ensure taxpayers and bondholders are compensated if water costs rise or the property begins to generate significant income. larger than expected.

“I think we have the ability to find a supplier who can turn it into something spectacular,” he said.

The three companies submitted detailed proposals that included financial breakdowns, laundry lists of equipment on offer, letters of reference and potential charges, down to the cost of camping with a pet.

All plan to improve the existing campground buildings and infrastructure on the property, which fell into disuse about a decade ago when the property was run as a members-only resort. And they all think the property could once again become a destination for tourists and locals.

Render of a Lake View Cabin Resort provided by The California Parks Co. for Vail Lake.
Render of a Lake View Cabin Resort provided by The California Parks Co. for Vail Lake.

Some of the ideas are ambitious – like the new Lake View Cabin Resorts that have been sketched out by California Parks and the “glamping” areas offered by other companies – but the focus has also been on restoring the rustic charms of the former property of Butterfield Country. , which was frequented by families from Southern California and other parts of the country.

In the various articles, we talk about hot dogs and hamburgers at the camp café, pillow fight nights and s’mores by the fireside, for example.

Rancho Water spokeswoman Meggan Valencia said Thursday’s discussion was “super preliminary,” a chance for the board to hear the results of the district’s recent qualifying request, which saw the three nominees and a separate pitch from a private nonprofit, based at Riverside Rivers and Lands Conservancy, that wants to help the district preserve some of the land around the lake as protected open space.

“The meeting that will actually go through all the information is the board meeting on August 10,” Valencia said in an email.

Board member Ben Drake said he expected all three companies and the RLC to make presentations at this meeting and that he and his colleagues will talk to them about their ability to revive ownership or, in the case of RLC, generate income for the district by selling open space credits.

“I’m looking for someone to take over the complex as soon as possible, take the next year and design a master plan that will span 30 years and look at the stages of improving the RV fleet and how other plans and amenities will be added, ”he said.

What he is not looking for at this point, he said, is how much money the district is going to receive.

These kinds of details will be clarified later in the process, when the district decides what type of RV park and recreational activities it wants.

“Do we want premium tents or coaches or a combination? Zip lines? ” he said. “We have to stop this negative cash flow that’s happening. The millions of dollars we’ve already spent there… it’s hard to see where they’ve gone.

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