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Tamarack Aside, Idaho’s Builders See Signs of an Upswing

The dust has settled after the news broke in mid-February about the surprising bankruptcies of two of Tamarack Resort’s majority owners. Still, important questions remain: if Idaho’s most prominent resort has such difficulties, what will follow? What does it all mean?

Not much, really. Idaho construction insiders insist, despite the financial problems at its most prominent resort, that the overall economy of the state has a decent shine to it, and may even be improving.

(Tamarack CEO Jean-Pierre Boespflug said the bankruptcy will have no impact on the resort’s day-to-day operation. “You can continue to do business with Tamarack Resort in a complete and normal way,” he said at the time of the filing.)

“Residential building has hit bottom, and we’re on the ascent,” said Steve Martinez, president of the Idaho Building Contractors Association. “Permits are going back up, the phone is ringing again. For months, it’s been remodel orders, but now we are seeing clients. It’s a little slower than the usual early-spring rush, but not much.”

If Martinez is right, the uptick couldn’t come at a better time. Idaho’s state economist reported at 79 percent drop in state tax revenue, “largely due to Idaho’s housing industry.”

Hitting bottom seems about right. Over the 15 months starting in January, 2006, residential construction dropped by $1.4 billion in Idaho. Commercial construction increased by only $27 million over the same time period, according to the Idaho Department of Labor. Federal statistics show an overall 3.9 percent decline in all construction in Idaho.

Some trends appear to be somewhat promising, though. The state’s population continues to grow. Idaho’s unemployment rate in 2007 was just 2.6 percent, and job growth ranked sixth in the nation.

Cash for builders remains a sticking point, said Clayn Sonderegger, president of commercial builder Benchmark Construction in southwest Idaho, although none of his clients have backed out of projects because of financing difficulties.

Even high-end, complicated projects are moving forward. Grant Allan, CEO of Idaho Studios at Bryans Run, is building a 150-acre, $125 million mixed-use development including film studios, a performing arts center, housing, a hotel and a vineyard. He said his financing is solid, with both local and national investors who see Idaho as a rare, steady market.

Sonderegger agreed. A shortage of building materials – including metals prices – is a bigger issue than either the market or the availability of capital, he said.

Mark Kreizenbeck, president of 25-year-old Kreizenbeck Constructors in Boise, said 2008 looks good. Kreizenbeck says he will build two hotels this year and has enough business in the wings to remain busy.

About Jill Kuraitis

Jill Kuraitis is an award-winning journalist who specializes in news of Idaho and the Rocky Mountain West. Her B.A. in theatre management is from UC Santa Barbara, and she went on to work in theatre, film, and politics before writing became a career. Kuraitis has two excellent grown children and lives in Boise with her husband of 30 years, abundant backyard wildlife, and two huge hairy dogs.

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  1. Is there some reason why this story does not name the two majority stockholders who filed for bankruptcy , so strongly alluded to in the first sentence ? I thought bankruptcy filings were a matter of public record.

  2. From the Feb. 19 NewWest story which broke the bankruptcy news: “The two companies named in the filings are VPG Investments, Inc. and Cross Atlantic Real Estate, LLC, which own 27 and 48 percent of Tamarack Resort shares respectively. Boespflug owns Cross Atlantic Real Estate, and VPG is owned by Mexican businessman and resort co-founder Alfredo Miguel Afif.”

    Read Matthew Frank’s full story at

  3. Hey Dewey – you’re a bit of an idiot.

    You are correct that bankruptcy filings are a matter of public record, but believe it or not, this article is not the public record of the bankruptcy filings that it references.

    There is no law that mandates that every article written about a bankruptcy must include all information pertaining to that bankruptcy. If you want more info, it’s out there, but I am sorry to inform you that you have to try.

  4. This is the comment I find, um – unbelievable:

    (Tamarack CEO Jean-Pierre Boespflug said the bankruptcy will have no impact on the resort’s day-to-day operation. “You can continue to do business with Tamarack Resort in a complete and normal way,” he said at the time of the filing.)

    I worked for a Radiology group wherein the owner had built it from scratch; it made him a very wealthy man. He retired and sold his business to business men who knew nothing about running a medical practice. The company was in bankruptcy within a year – Chapter 11. “You can continue to do business with Tamarack Resort in a complete and normal way

    No, you can’t because notwithstanding Mr. Boespflug’s ridiculous comment, it’s about trustworthiness and Mr. B doesn’t have it.