Hospitality financing on a majestic scale: Rush Creek Lodge

Ground-up hotel construction financed with SBA 504 loan

Like the glorious vistas that surround it, Lee Zimmerman, Brian Anderluh and partners had a grand vision for their latest venture.

“There hasn’t been a new resort in the Yosemite National Park area in 25 years,” Zimmerman said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create something special in such an amazing place.”

Lee Zimmerman and Brian Anderluh began with a mission to provide employment to underserved youth and wound up creating a business model that proudly serves many communities.

Lee Zimmerman and Brian Anderluh began with a mission to provide employment to underserved youth and wound up creating a business model that proudly serves many communities.

The “something special” is Rush Creek Lodge, a 143-room mountain resort on 20-wooded acres in Groveland, California, just half a mile from Yosemite’s northwest entrance on Highway 120. The $30+ million, ground-up construction project is TMC’s largest to date

Beyond the majesty, though, is the mission. “We’re a certified B Corporation, which means we use business as a vehicle for doing good,” Zimmerman says. “The idea of setting up an employment program for underserved youth led us to buying a lodge. Getting city kids out into a rural setting with access to the outdoor recreation opportunities that those of more privilege often get to enjoy can help expand their vision of life’s possibilities,” he said.

The partners purchased their first Yosemite property, the Evergreen Lodge, and had been expanding slowly for more than a decade when the 20-acre Rush Creek parcel came up for sale.

“There were so many reasons for the banks to say no,” Zimmerman said. “It’s non-flagged, ground-up construction in a remote area, needing all of its own infrastructure, following the economic recession and just after the Rim Fire. Without the SBA piece from TMC, we couldn’t have gotten this done,” he said.

“In the end,” Zimmerman continued, “we feel fortunate that our financing is nicely aligned with our values. Without the SBA, this would not likely have been possible.”