Cockaigne Ski Resort Officially Sold To New Ownership
Cockaigne Ski Resort officially has new ownership.
Andy Goodell, state assemblyman for Jamestown and lawyer who represents the former owners of Cockaigne, said the final documents have been completed. Adam Pirtz and Isaac Gratto of Cockaigne Development, LLC are now the owners of the Cherry Creek ski area.
Pirtz issued a statement on Facebook announcing the sale.
“Everyone, I am so proud to say that the American Dream is still very much alive and well,” he said. “With persistence, (patience) and drive, anything is possible. The dream of becoming a ski resort owner has finally become true. I cannot wait to start this incredible journey with my family, friends and new partners.”
Goodell said the plan is to rebuild the lodge and have the ski resort open for the 2018 season.
“This is great news for our county,” Goodell said.
Goodell said in the past, the ski resort employed anywhere from 150-200 seasonal employees. The re-opening of the ski facility could bring that employment back to Chautauqua County.
“That employment in Chautauqua County is very important because it dovetails with the summer employment,” he said.
Goodell said in this way, people can work seasonal summer jobs and also find gainful employment during the winter. He said it also adds opportunities for young adults who are just getting into the workforce.
“That’s very valuable,” Goodell said.
Efforts have been made to sell the facility since 2011. After a fire in January of that year that destroyed the Austrian Pavilion lodge, the ski resort opened 10 days later to finish the season but did not reopen thereafter. It had previously been open for 45 years.
Goodell said there had been talks with dozens of possible buyers from Ohio, Maine, Virginia, Michigan and other areas.
“This is the best group that came forward, in my opinion,” he said.
Goodell said Pirtz and Gratto have hands-on experience in the field and have a passion for the industry.
The pair were recently approved by the IDA for a $500,000 Al Tech loan for 20 years at 4 percent.
The property was originally 1,500 acres, but only a portion – between 250-300 acres – was sold. The Grainery restaurant was included in the deal.
At one time, Goodell said he was also a ski instructor at Cockaigne. He said the public should look forward to the re-opening of the ski facility.
“Everyone should be looking forward with great anticipation,” he said.
Goodell said there were a variety individuals and groups working behind the scenes to make the sale a success, such as the Cherry Creek Town Board, the Chautauqua Abstract Company, the Price Abstract Company, the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency and the former owners. Goodell said the buyers were represented by John Gullo.
Goodell said Steuben Electric also helped out by replacing electrical equipment in a timely fashion at no cost.