Checking in with Sugar Loaf Owner Jeff Katofsky

The Glen Arbor Sun has a solid recap of Sugar Loaf owner Jeff Katofsksy’s recent call regarding the long-shuttered resort with County Administrator Chet Janik and other county & township officials. He postponed a public open house in Leelanau until “sometime in late spring or early summer” and said that a planned public session won’t happen until Katofsky has resolved key questions such as whether Sugar Loaf will ever host downhill skiing again:

“It’s not a question of if he’s coming, but when,” said Janik. “He doesn’t want to come here and just give general terms or say something that he’s not able to make happen.”

…Janik said that Katofsky has talked with both the Marriott and Hilton hotel chains about Sugar Loaf carrying their name. Janik and Soutas-Little told the Glen Arbor Sun they believe that Katofsky has financing in place for developing Sugar Loaf, but they don’t know who those financiers are, nor have they asked.

Once the project breaks ground, Janik expects the resort’s development to take two years.

Katofsky hopes to employ more than 300 workers at Sugar Loaf and include workforce housing.

He released the following statement through the Leelanau County officials:

“For the past six months, our team has been working on concepts, mapping, feasibility, government programs, utility plans, financing, and other things needed to move forward. It is a very complicated project and we are, at least internally, taking an aggressive approach. The following are some highlights that I am willing to disclose publicly at this point. As a reminder, I do not intend to release information until I am absolutely sure we can completely accomplish what we say.”

“Skiing: still on the table.It is not financially feasible with five lifts. We are looking at smaller skiing alternatives in order to try to keep some form of skiing on site. No promises either way.”

Janik and Soutas-Little said that Katofsky may consider downhill skiing with fewer than five chairlifts. “He’s open to a mini version,” said Janik. “But it’s not gonna be what it was.”

“He was kind of not gonna do this,” added Soutas-Little. “But everybody’s been talking to him (about skiing). He’s exploring what’s feasible for him to do. That might be cross-country, it might be rope tows, it might be a lift …”

Katofsky has also spoken to local entrepreneurs of other sports such as Bike Leelanau cofounder Cody Sprattmoran, who pitched him the idea of a “Sugar Loaf Mountain Bike Park”.

Read on at the Sun for lots more including what he envisions happening to existing structures and news that he’s clearing land to plant wine grapes in association with Harbor Hill Fruit Farms, vineyards for Good Harbor Vineyards and Aurora Cellars.