TED STANTON Special to the Democrat
November 13, 2013
The state Land Board is likely tomorrow to tackle the issue of the problem-plagued Pointe Vista Resort development project. The contractual deadline for work to be “substantially completed” on a proposed luxury hotel at the north end of Lake Texoma is in May 2014, but no significant work on it has been done in months.
The board in June hired an outside attorney “to protect state interests in the stalled project.” The agenda for tomorrow’s meeting in Oklahoma City of the Commissioners of the Land Office, the board’s formal name, lists three Pointe Vista items for discussion in executive session. The agenda says the session that, by law, is closed to public and press, “may be convened to discuss, evaluate and take possible action” on these items:
—to allow confidential communications between the commission and its attorney on pending investigations, claims or actions;
—to discuss the purchase or appraisal of real property regarding the development;
—to confer on economic development and the transfer of property, and to attract business. No details are given because, the agenda says, public disclosure would interfere with development discussions. The agenda also includes “Recommendation of Lisa Blodgett, general counsel” for the board.
The proposed resort would be in Lake Texoma State Park near where the old, highly popular Lake Texoma resort hotel had attracted vacationers for half a century. Pointe Vista Development, the company that won the contract for the new resort, bull-dozed the old hotel and many surrounding cabins soon after winning the bidding in 2008, but has done little since on roads, water lines, other infrastructure or much else on what it has billed as a $500 million development.
Gary Jones, Oklahoma state Auditor, and state Agriculture Commissioner Jim Reese, both members of the Land board, had pushed last summer for the board to begin considering its options if Pointe Vista Development failed to meet its contractual performance obligations. One option they suggested was seeking another developer to take over the project.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Jones again mentioned such a step as a strong possibility. Neither favored a lengthy extension of next spring’s deadline. Has the attorney met with board members? Jones said he knew of no such meetings. State Sen. Josh Brecheen has twice called public meetings on the project and brought board members to the area to see the loss of tourism and business that the area has sustained since the closing of the park facilities.
In a long letter to the editor of the Durant Daily Democrat in September, he outlined what he considers the three likely options: Take the development company to court for what would probably be a protracted battle to get the company to complete the project; give the company an extension of that May 2014 deadline; ask the developers to step aside, relinquish title to the land and let the board find another investor to complete the project. The best one, he added, is finding a new developer.
While the company recently hasn’t spoken publicly about progress, or lack of it, on the development, the Pointe Vista Website now says that the “initial development covers two phases of residential lots” — 160 homes each. Company officials weren’t available for comment yesterday on whether that phrase signals a change in the company’s timetable, putting up homes before the big hotel.