Lakota golf course

A photo of the Lakota Canyon Golf Club, which sold recently in bankruptcy for $1.5 million to The Romero Group.

The Lakota Canyon Golf Club and a significant amount of developable land in New Castle were acquired recently by Basalt-based The Romero Group for $1.5 million. Principal Dwayne Romero confirmed Friday their ace in the hole in acquiring the golf club and 122 acres of developable land was patience in waiting out the details of bankruptcy court.

Romero announced the purchase of the 18-hole championship course that was designed by Jim Engh, who also oversaw the redo of the Snowmass Club’s course and designed Redlands Mesa in Grand Junction and Golden’s Fossil Trace, to his employees on Friday. Lakota Ranch first opened for play in May 2004.

Based in Basalt, The Romero Group owns a majority of the Snowmass Village Mall — which it bought in June 2018 from Related Colorado for $28.5 million — and handles property management contracts including Aspen Highlands.

Romero said Friday in an interview that the purchase fits well with Romero Group Realty’s portfolio.

“This acquisition leverages our core expertise in residential sales and commercial leasing activities, grown by many years of relationship building through the greater valley area,” he said.

In Romero’s letter to his employees, he wrote, “This officially removes the cloud of bankruptcy tied to the previous ownership, paving the way for a new and exciting restart of golf and improvements at Lakota Canyon.”

In March 2019. Warrior Acquisitions LLC, the golf course’s then owner, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after failing to make a semi-annual, $500,000 interest payment on a promissory note that month, according to a story in the March 29, 2019 Post Independent. It said Warrior Custom Golf, the company’s golf course arm, operated 18 courses across the country.

A nationwide downturn was blamed for the company’s loss of $680,000 in 2018 on annual revenue of $13 million,” the paper quoted a Warrior Golf spokesperson as saying.

Romero said of the process: “[A] bankruptcy and public auction sale process can be very difficult and drawn out and is often filled with a good amount of uncertainty along the way. We were patient with it.”

Staff positioned for downvalley expansion

The acquisition involves a large amount of future “community building opportunities,” Dwane Romero said Friday, “as well as the chance to own and operate recreational amenities.”

“We see golf, mountain biking, hiking and robust seasonal special events that add real depth and improve the quality of life for all neighbors,” he added.

Many of the company’s employees already live down valley, he said, “allowing for a natural extension of our footprint.”

“We know and understand the long-term need for attainable housing and the supporting neighborhood commercial services, situated in vibrant communities. Combined, Lakota Canyon and New Castle offer great potential in this regard.”

The developable land in the Lakota Canyon Ranch PUD could be eyed for future residential and mixed-use neighborhoods, Romero said.

Madeleine Osberger is a Contributing Editor for Aspen Daily News. She can be reached at madski@aspendailynews.com or on Twitter @Madski99