Navajo Nation moves to purchase Gouldings

by David Boyle
News Director
The nearly 100-year-old iconic Goulding properties in Monument Valley are moving closer to changing ownership to the Navajo Nation.
Members of the Navajo Nation Council approved legislation on October 17 to approve the purchase of Goulding’s Monument Valley Lodge for $59.5 million.
The legislation was sponsored by Council Delegate Herman Daniels, Jr. Delegate Daniels represents Tsah Bii Kin, Navajo Mountain, Shonto, and Oljato chapters on the Navajo Nation Council.
“The purchase of Goulding’s is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Navajo Nation and has the backing of the Oljato Chapter who passed a resolution supporting the purchase,” said Daniels.
While the agreed purchase price for the property is $59.5 million, the Nation shares it is $13.9 million below the appraised value of the property. The property will be purchased using money from the Navajo Nation Land Acquisition Trust Fund.
A presentation given to the Navajo Nation Council in July estimated the Navajo Nation would generate an annual return of $7.4 million, a return of investment of 12.45 percent for the tribe.
The presentation in July was given by Stan Sapp of Monument Hospitality, based in Glendale, AZ. Sapp presented a report by HVS the report gave 
The Navajo Nation Return on Investment includes $3.5 million annually in profit-sharing income, $1,468,000 in expansion sinking fund, the required fund’s purpose is for the expansion of the asset including used to build new facilities, and the tax benefit of $2,443,960 annually. 
Sapp said, “These (tax) benefits would be available if the tax authority is changed from the State of Utah to the Navajo Nation or if the land is put in trust.”
Included with the purchase of the property are assets that include 670 acres of land, a Monument Valley Tour business, an RV campground with rental cabins, the gas station and convenience store, grocery store, the airstrip, and all existing utilities. 
Among concerns that kept the legislation from reaching the two-thirds majority threshold in a July vote are environmental concerns, including the status of underground structures and fuel tanks on the property.
Navajo Nation Natural Resources Director Mike Halona said the concerns have been addressed and the sellers completed clean-up and removed underground tanks. These issues were cleared and comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.
Daniels noted that Goulding’s will celebrate its 100th year next year. He added the purchase positions the Navajo Nation to manage and develop a property that exists along a popular tourism corridor and expand its potential revenue generation in developing the local economy.
“If you look at the real estate, it’s amazing,” said Daniels. “This area draws many tourists from around the world and will generate revenue for the Nation. I’d like to thank my colleagues for voting in favor of this opportunity to expand economic development for the Navajo Nation and our people.” 
Speaking in session, Halona added the purchase will open a large opportunity for tourism on the Nation, especially the airfields connection to Las Vegas, and an opportunity to market other tourist attractions on Navajo.
“It would open up a bigger venue to bring people in. We have an airport there to connect them to the other parks. We could now take them from Gouldings to Canyon de Chelly and to Window Rock.”
The legislation was approved with a two-thirds vote, with 18 in favor and four opposed. The legislation had not yet arrived to Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren’s office for signing as of October 23. Once it does, the legislation will be reviewed by Nygren’s office. 
While that legislation has not arrived yet, President Nygren did offer strong support for the version of the legislation that failed in July.
Next up in the process will be a due-diligence time period including inspections.
The escrow will be required to close within the 90-days following the opening of escrow.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday