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SAM Magazine—McHenry, Md., Nov. 12, 2012—EPR Properties, the Kansas City-based REIT that owns most of the resorts managed and operated by Peak Resorts (and formerly known as Entertainment Properties Trust), has bid $20.5 million for Wisp Resort, kicking off what could become a competition to win the resort at a bankruptcy court hearing set for Dec. 4.

Unless topped by a better offer, the EPR bid "will bring the highest and best return to creditors and parties in interest over any other achievable alternative,” said Wisp owner D.C. Development in a statement. SAM has learned that another bidder or bidders could surface in the next two weeks, kicking off a competition for ownership of the resort.

In the meantime, Wisp is hiring seasonal staff and moving ahead with preparations to open on Nov. 24. "The goal is to have a seamless transition, with no interruptions or changes in guest services, season passes or other reservations and commitments," said Karen Myers of D.C. Development.

D.C. Development filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2011 after defaulting on nearly $30 million in real estate loans after a planned golf/vacation home development failed to get traction, as demand tanked after the recession.

EPR’S bid is for the ski area and related facilities, covering about 600 acres and long-term leases on another 250 acres. It does not include the stalled real-estate project.

Entertainment Properties or its subsidiaries own 11 Peak Resorts ski areas in Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Vermont. It also has investments in multiplex theaters, amusement parks and attractions, and wineries.