Texan Bryant Buys Wisconsin Jellystone Park for $14M
The Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Warrens, Wis., was purchased Friday (Oct. 30) by a Texas real estate investor who is a partner in corporations that own the adjacent Three Bears Hotel, which closed a year ago.
The $14 million sale of the 700-site campground to Warrens Lodging LLC – owned by Bruce Bryant of Friendswood, Texas – was authorized Wednesday by a Juneau County Circuit Court judge. The ruling came in a mortgage foreclosure lawsuit filed in September 2008 by the Bank of Mauston against developer Ed Van Der Molen of Wheaton, Ill., Bryant and the various corporations that owned the hotel resort and the campground, according to the La Crosse Tribune.
The hotel and its convention center and indoor water park closed in September 2008 and have not reopened. The campground operated this year under the oversight of a court-appointed receiver and closed for the season Oct. 17.
The campground will reopen about April 15 for the 2010 season, Bryant said Friday. He added he plans to remodel some cabins and build more cabins.
The court-appointed receiver has looked for buyers for both the hotel resort and the campground.
Monroe County Treasurer Annette Erickson said she received $282,321 in delinquent property taxes owed to the county Friday afternoon, because of its sale.
Erickson also said the county will begin tax lien foreclosure proceedings against the hotel resort next Sept. 1 unless the taxes owed on it are paid by then. Delinquent property taxes for the campground and the hotel resort together had totaled about $1.7 million, she said.
Bryant said he doesn't plan to try to buy the hotel and its conference center and indoor water park.
But he is optimistic someone will buy the hotel resort before the county can begin foreclosure proceedings next September. "It's a first-class property," he said. "There were some legal issues that were kind of clouding the title that have been cleared up in the last few weeks."
Bryant said he became an investor in the hotel resort in November 2007, after it already had opened, but was not an investor in the campground.
"I wasn't actively involved" in the hotel's operation, Bryant said. "I was pulled in as an investor and certainly it was a bad decision on my part." The hotel could not support the amount of debt it had, he said.
He said he bought the Warrens campground because "it just fits nicely into my portfolio of campgrounds. It's an absolute gem of a property." It is the largest campground in the national Jellystone Park franchised system and has such amenities as an outdoor water park and two mini-golf courses.
Bryant said he owns 13 other campgrounds nationwide. His campground in Waller, Texas, received this year's Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Jellystone Park franchise system for showing the strongest business growth over the previous year.