A story the members of BoiseDev got first.
A proposal by Trident Holdings to buy timberland in northern Idaho and exchange it for hundreds of acres of land controlled by the state of Idaho was rejected.
“IDL is denying your request for a land swap,” said Bill Haagenson, deputy director of the Idaho Lands Department, in a letter to Trident sent today.
Trident hoped to acquire approximately 26 square miles of land from the Idaho Land Endowment in McCall and surrounding areas. The land includes the wooded areas that frame Payette Lake, several islands within the lake itself, a few plots at Pilgrim Cove, and a large plot near Deinhard Ln. in McCall.
The letter to Trident, obtained by BoiseDev in a public registration request, details the reasons for the denial.
Led by Alec Williams, the Boise-based company sought to use a provision in Idaho law that allowed the state to consider land swaps that swapped two sets of land of equal value. Trident said it would buy 32.52 square miles of forest land from private owners in the northern part of the state and then trade it in for the Idaho Land Endowment in exchange for land in the McCall area.[Nw group forms to find ‘solutions’ to land at center of Trident McCall-area land swap proposal]
IDL: values do not match
The Lands Department said Trident significantly undervalued land in the Payette Lakes region. The department performed a value estimate on both the forested land in northern Idaho and on the soil in the Payette Lakes region. He revealed that McCall’s land was valued at $ 366,344,100, while the northern Idaho land was valued at $ 74,343,500. That’s a difference of just over $ 292 million.
IDL stated that it had not carried out a formal assessment, but that the methods “used to arrive at the estimated values were conservative in appraising the (McCall area land) and generous in appraising the land. (land that Trident offered to buy and trade) “. He said he was giving an “average cut” of 25% to endowment land to allow developers to make a profit – while adding $ 35 million to the woodlot, based on comparable sales. IDL staff noted that they actually rated the forest almost twice as much as Trident did in their proposal.[A postcard sent around Valley Co. suggests tax increases are coming. Officials say it’s not true]
“If the potential trade were to continue, IDL wouldn’t expect this to be the end value of (the forest), according to the analysis. “IDL has used this generous approach to evaluation to ensure that Trident’s candidacy is given due consideration. “
The Lands Ministry said it had worked with an outside adviser to “verify (the ministry’s) approach to establishing large-scale land values.”
The lands in the Payette area are currently owned by the state of Idaho, but are not typical public lands as you might think in a state park or national forest. When Idaho officially became a state in 1890, it was granted and endowed with over 5,600 square miles of land, or about 6.7% of the state’s total land. These lands are mandated by Idaho’s constitution to produce a return – primarily for schools.
Trident hoped to show the state that swapping forest land for land in the Payette area would respect the constitutional mandate that land produces income – and show that forest lands in N. Idaho produced more than income. current land in the Payette Lakes region.
But the IDL’s analysis indicated that because of the rapid increase in land values in the McCall area, keeping the land would produce more income over time.[Project Tracker: Trident Holdings Payette region proposal]
On an annual basis, IDL’s estimate showed that land in the Payette Lakes region produces approximately $ 779,419 in revenue. Land in northern Idaho is reportedly producing $ 2.17 million in revenue per year from the sale of timber.
But the department notes that with the rise in land prices around McCall, looking beyond a single year provides a different calculation. He said the land near the lake was increasing by 24% to 28% per year. Valley County as a whole has seen land values increase by 11-13%.
But the department constructed two scenarios that used more conservative numbers – 6% and 11%.
The IDL said it would incur a net loss of $ 162 million for the endowment if the swap was completed under the six percent model. At the 11% level, the state would lose $ 398 million.
Trident “disappointed” repels IDL
Trident Holdings provided BoiseDev with a statement about the IDL letter. He used his brand name, Preserve McCall, in the statement.
“Throughout the application process, Preserve McCall has stated and maintained that the assessment of Payette Endowment Land and Forest Land offered in exchange should be performed by an experienced third party,” Trident said in the statement. “In March, IDL estimated the value of this land at around $ 40 million (as reported in the Payette Endowment Land Strategy aka PELS). Now, with no new corroborating data, IDL values the same land at $ 366 million. That’s a staggering 915% appreciation in five months.[State auctioned ag land, hoping for $6 million. It got way more from a homebuilder]
Trident also pushed back the analysis of IDL’s commercial real estate.
“Idahoians who love this area should be wary of this assessment,” the statement said. “If this IDL recommendation is followed, it guarantees segmented private ownership of the entire shoreline and remaining hillsides to the highest bidder.”
Trident said it offered “analysis, land data and access to IDL experts, but our offers to provide information were repeatedly rejected.” He said he hoped to work in conjunction with IDL.
The bottom line, according to Trident: disappointment.
“Any professional appraiser can see that this was not an accurate valuation of endowment land and we are disappointed.”
Third parties, Govt. Little weight
The State obtained two second opinions on its analysis and its decision to reject the request. The two also recommended denying the deal.
Timberland advisor Mason Bruce and Girard did an assessment.
“In my opinion, there are better strategies for resolving the issues with the Payette Lake endowment lands that would provide a significantly greater net benefit to the endowment than the proposed exchange,” wrote Roger Lord of MB&G.
He said the land was “less desirable and potentially worth less than the endowment land,” and that the swap would end any future rental opportunities and fragment the endowment land.[McLean: Boise ending Murgoitio land swap discussion]
CenturyPacific LLP, which provides advice on commercial real estate, also reviewed the case. An adviser to the company said it “does not support the continuation of the proposed exchange.” CenturyPacific said Trident had not provided evidence it could acquire N. Idaho land and echoed the departments’ analysis showing the values did not match, among other factors.
Governor Brad Little chairs the Idaho Land Board, which has the final say on endowment lands.
“The Idaho Lands Department has an internal process to review requests such as the one submitted by Trident,” spokeswoman Marissa Morrison Hyer told BoiseDev. “In this case, IDL determined that the proposal was not in the best interests of the endowment recipients and denied the request.”
What Trident hoped to do
Trident said he would add conservation easements to parts of the land in the Payette area that he hoped to acquire. Williams described it as an extension of Ponderosa State Park. Other parts of the land would be developed for hospitality sites, Williams told BoiseDev. The proposal did not specify precisely where and what types of trade development would take place. Williams also said he hopes to develop affordable housing for the community.
“We have development zones… we want the county and the city to have a prominent voice to tell us where. You have a lot of flexibility as to where it goes and what it looks like. (But) you have to provide an economic engine that pays for this park. There has to be some kind of economic engine for that.[‘Thought the idea was neat:’ Trident tried, failed to buy Brundage, build one of America’s largest resorts]
Trident filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last fall to raise $ 60 million. Williams has categorically refused to identify other investors in the project. A spokesperson told BoiseDev last month that Williams was the majority owner.
“We didn’t want to list a bunch of Idaho families,” Williams said last summer. “It’s kind of my job to be the public face of this. There is a bit of mistrust and fear. It’s not for me to put those names on Don Day so people can park in front of their homes and tell them if they’ve made a good decision or not. It is not for me to tell them how they should be involved.