Balsams still plans Oct. Construction start


Balsams
developers file four site plans, construction start slated for fall

 

By JOHN KOZIOL

Union Leader Correspondent

August
04. 2017 12:43AM






DIXVILLE — With
construction expected to start in October, the group behind the proposed
rehabilitation and expansion of The Balsams resort has filed four site plans
with the Coos County Planning Board in connection with the $165 million Phase I
of the project.



Dixville Capital LLC, which is led by former
ski-industry executive Les Otten, on Wednesday also asked the Planning Board to
expedite consideration of the applications.



Phase I includes more than 450 rooms, 250
through the renovation of the Dix and Hampshire houses, and the rest through
construction of the Lake Gloriette House.



A spa and market are also part of Phase I, as is
an expansion of the former Wilderness Ski Area and the construction of a
gondola lift that would take guests there from the main campus.



While Otten’s embrace of Eversource’s proposed
Northern Pass electrical transmission line and his acceptance of $2 million
from an Eversource economic development fund has raised a number of eyebrows,
that negative view is offset by broad support in upper Coos County and among
state lawmakers for a revived Balsams.



“Countless members of the North Country
community have told us many times how anxious they are for the Balsams’ rebirth
to begin,” Otten wrote in a letter to John Scarinza, the chairman of the Coos
County Planning Board.



“We are looking forward to that day as much as
anyone, and finally, it is in clear view,” said Otten, adding that it has taken
several years of “challenging work and more than $8 million of investment…” to
get to this point.



Otten said his team’s collaboration with the
Planning Board “will allow us to meet critical project timelines,” and he
requested that the board consider its applications for completeness on Aug. 23,
with a public hearing on them a week or so later. Final consideration and a
vote would take place in early September.



Otten said Dixville Capital has taken 5 percent
reservation deposits on “nearly $25 million worth of real estate,” and that
“our financing efforts are proceeding well and we have the opportunity to close
on all funds needed to start construction in 60 days.”



Part of that financing includes loans from
Northern Bank and a $28 million loan guarantee from the New Hampshire Business
Finance Authority.



"We’re finalizing our 'capital
stacks'" so that the bank can file the BFA application, Scott
Tranchemontagne, a spokesman for Dixville Capital, said on Thursday.



The loan guarantee application is "going to
happen and it has to happen before we close," Tranchemontagne said, adding
that Dixville Capital is also working on the Panorama Golf Course.



The course is being maintained, but could be
made playable in advance of the grand reopening of The Balsams — expected late
next year — if Dixville Capital can coordinate with the state Department of
Transportation, which will make improvements to the Golf Links Road only after
Phase I financing is finalized.



"We’d love to do it if we can," said
Tranchemontagne.

Comments

  • Thanks for the update.
    Always a good time of year to begin construction in the Great Notth
    Woods
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • Hey that's good news, I think?  Not sure about that Northern Pass thing.  We just had a similar project completed across northern New Jersey and those monster towers look like something from a 1950s sci-fi movie

  • Financing delays redevelopment of Balsams resort

    Associated Press

    DIXVILLE, N.H. – An ongoing resort redevelopment project in the New Hampshire town of Dixville has been delayed because of changes in financing.

    The Caledonian-Record reports The Balsams Grand Resort project spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne says delays have been caused by updates on an appraisal. Northern Bank and Trust, the project’s chief lender, still has to submit a loan application to the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority.

    The BFA will review the appraisal before it is approved. The process could take up to two months.

    Tranchemontagne says the project lost about a month due to appraisal changes. Tranchemontagne says he’s hopeful construction by late this fall.

    The Balsams renovation project includes an expansion of the Wilderness Ski Area. Officials hope to open part of the project by the start of the 2018 ski season.

    The Balsams closed in 2010. Maine ski resort developer Les Otten’s plan would renovate existing buildings and build a 400-room hotel, conference center, spa and retreat.

  • This wouldn't be another Q Burke ?⛷
  • No. O Balsams
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  •  

     

    Balsams developers target April construction start

     

    By JOHN
    KOZIOL

    Sunday News Correspondent

    January 27. 2018 6:01PM





    DIXVILLE
    - As the New Hampshire
    Business Finance Authority considers its lead lender's application for a $28
    million loan guarantee, Dixville Capital LLC is poised to begin renovation and
    construction at The Balsams resort in April, weather-permitting.



    In December, Service
    Credit Union asked the BFA to guarantee that amount for Phase 1 of the Balsams
    project on behalf of Dixville Capital. The guarantee would be subject to final
    approval by the Governor and Executive Council.



    The first phase
    includes renovation of the Hampshire and Hale houses; reconstruction of the Dix
    House; and construction of a 400-room Lake Gloriette House Hotel and Conference
    Center, Nordic baths and spa, and a marketplace and an expansion of the former
    Wilderness ski area.



    Dixville Capital has
    said that SCU's $28 million loan, and the state's guarantee of it, were
    important elements of the $170 million Phase I financing, which also includes
    developer equity, preferred equity, construction debt, an EB-5 investment as
    well as equipment lease financing for the ski expansion.



    Led by Les Otten, the
    former CEO of the American Skiing Company who at one time also was a minority
    owner of the Boston Red Sox, Dixville Capital was formed as a partnership among
    Otten, Dan Hebert and Dan Dagesse.



    Natives of nearby
    Colebrook, Hebert and Dagesse purchased The Balsams, which closed in September
    2010, from the Tillotson Corporation for $2.3 million in December 2011.



    After attempting to
    bring back the resort by themselves, Hebert and Dagesse in 2013 reached out to
    Otten. Otten proposes to make the ski area, which would quadruple in size,
    accessible from the Balsams village via a gondola that would cross Route 26.



    Since then, Dixville
    Capital has worked to obtain the required local, state and federal permits that
    are required for Phase 1 and also sought to nail down the financing.



    Back in 2016, the
    would-be lead lender for Phase 1 was Northern Bank and Trust (NBT) of Woburn,
    Mass., but now Portsmouth-based SCU is "a better fit," said Scott
    Tranchemontagne, a spokesman for Dixville Capital.



    SCU has specific
    experience with resorts in New Hampshire's North Country, Tranchemontagne said,
    including the RiverWalk at Loon in Lincoln.



    "We feel
    optimistic that if the BFA process goes smoothly and we can close up the final
    elements of our financial plan we can begin construction and renovation in
    April," said Tranchemontagne, stressing that Dixville Capital is asking
    for a loan guarantee from the state, not a loan.



    On Jan. 24, James
    Key-Wallace, the executive director of the BFA, told the Union Leader that the
    BFA staff reviewed the initial application, "And as is very typical, we
    had some follow-up questions." SCU is addressing those questions, he said,
    and once that information is submitted, "we'll be able to proceed with our
    own analysis."



    Wallace wasn't sure
    when the SCU application would be considered by the BFA, or, assuming approval
    there, when it might get to the governor and council.



    In support of its BFA
    application, SCU provided a work force study commissioned by PolEcon Research
    and an appraisal feasibility study by CBRE Hotels pointing to a market for an
    upscale, four-season resort at The Balsams and projecting that The Balsams will
    increase the size of the workforce in Coos County.



    http://www.unionleader.com/article/20180128/NEWS02/180129381

  • I'll believe it in October! How many years has this been "on the verge"?
  • edited February 2
    To my knowledge, I don't think they were ever planning an real October construction start. That makes no sense with that climate. I always heard it as an October groundbreaking, you know, the ceremonies with big wigs shoveling sand as a photo op and media corrupted that into construction.

    That said, they now have something like 10-12 major permits already approved. IIRC the only thing their waiting on is the application for loan backing from the State, which is a formality since it was already approved by the legislature.  They have spent considerable costs on these permits are also are now well over their minimum sale requirements.  I know some people here are worried it's a dud but I think it's going forth. These kinds of things can take a long time to get all the ducks in a line.

    For example a very behind-the-scenes issue has been what to do with the old landfill on the land. Coos County has been pushing hard on that topic as if Balsams fails they don't want an orphaned old unlined landfill with who knows what.
  • Smoke and Mirrors to get more financial backers?????
    You ski because even if you don't do it well, it's still a blast....
  • Makes you wonder if Northern Pass gets to call in all of its slush fund loans if it closes up shop in NH and shifts focus to building the Springfield Monorail.  

    If so, after what happened yesterday, Les better get the checkbook out...  
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