Club President Jonathan Harding provided SherpaReport with an update on the change of direction at Ciel.
According to Jonathan the club is making adjustments that will be more attractive to its prospect base. This basically means that Ciel is moving into large land tract development, with a few homes but the bulk of the land put into open space conservancy.
Ciel will then become more of a vehicle for conservancy, and so will appeal to people who want to have the use of homes and the use of the tracts of land.
2008 will be a building year. Ciel will sell its Europoean properties (in Cannes and London) and keep the others, so that its focus is on the US and Canada. Later in the year it will go back to the market and prospective members with its new structure. Prospective members are people who don't want a traditional destination club experience, they want something different and can afford it.
Member prospects had been asking what the club was doing for philanthropy, what it was doing from a green point of view and what tax benefits could be passed along to members.
The club is talking to all the current members individually and if they decide not to participate in the new structure "Ciel will make them whole".
Under the planned new structure, member trustees can use the properties, and the conservancy can pass along the tax benefits and estate benefits. So overall the club is not going away, but is readjusting to better fit the founding Rickets family and a few other ultra high net worth families.
The newly structured club will acquire land and set aside 80-90% of the land for future generations. This will help the Rickets family meet their conservancy objectives. For example the family is working to preserve the Yellowstone ecosystem from Oil and Gas drilling. Ciel is also looking at land in the Appalachians, the Rockies and the Pacific Northwest.