Balsams Resort

2

Comments

  • newpylongnewpylong expert
    Posts: 501
    Trail layout looks nice, before he fills it in with the proposed ones in between.
  • mapnutmapnut expert
    Posts: 778

    http://www.newenglandskiindustry.com/viewstory.php?storyid=298 Here's the Phase 1 link for your convenience. It includes the Gondola to Nowhere (a growing trend in the industry) and 4 new trail pods, only one if which looks like prime terrain (the one furthest south). It's about 1/3 of the total proposed terrain.

     

    I hope they finish renovating the hotel first.

  • NELSBEERNELSBEER advanced
    Posts: 222
    Sounds like a whole lot of electricity.  Is the grid up to something that big that far up? Or will we be seeing Northern Pass suddenly gain approval? Could take a whole lot of political donations to make that fly...  
  • timberleaftimberleaf intermediate
    Posts: 37
    NELSBEER said:

    Sounds like a whole lot of electricity.  Is the grid up to something that big that far up? Or will we be seeing Northern Pass suddenly gain approval? Could take a whole lot of political donations to make that fly...  

    Northern Pass power - if it is ever built which is looking less likely by the day now - will stream right past the Balsams on its way to Deerfield, NH where it becomes part of the New England grid.  Eversource NH has agreed to buy 10% of that power from Hydro Quebec and that power will be reserved for Eversource NH customers throughout the state.

    As I understand it, the Balsams is currently a NHEC account - that will likely change if Northern Pass is built because part of the Northern Pass slush fund to buy off Coos County includes an upgrade to the Coos Loop.  The upgraded loop will allow for better power distribution in the region and will also allow Eversource to become the electricity supplier for the Balsams.

    Again, that's just my understanding through conversations with people involved.  I don't think there's anything official yet.

    And yes, technically the power is supposed to stream (DC) to Franklin where it converts to AC that energizes the line to Deerfield.  Again... assuming it is ever built.
  • newpylongnewpylong expert
    edited September 2015 Posts: 501
    The NP is looking more likely every day. They just agreed to bury x amount more transmission line and parties are much happier.

    Balsams doesn't need it to get underway though.
  • NELSBEERNELSBEER advanced
    Posts: 222
    Sooo... we can look forward to a bright glow on the northern horizon... maybe we could call them the Northern Lights?

    Northern Pass, I assume, is the only game in town for this big an electrical draw.  Could the Balsams project be waiting on a certain electricity source in addition to other requirements?
  • timberleaftimberleaf intermediate
    Posts: 37
    newpylong said:

    Don't you mean the NP is looking more likely every day? They just agreed to bury x amount more transmission line and parties are much happier.

    I meant what I said.  Chris Jensen does a good job describing the recent SEC hearing in Lincoln here.  The hearings in Laconia and Whitefield were similar although both Deerfield and Concord were less contentious.

    The problem with burying part of the line is you create "tower towns" and "non-tower towns" (as well as "both" towns such as Pittsburg, Clarksville, Bethlehem, and Bridgewater).  The tower towns - especially in Coos - are not taking the new plan well at all.  Understatement alert.

    IMO, if it is built it will have to be 100% buried.  The more they partially bury, the more unfair it looks to the remaining tower towns.

    What's interesting is that the Lincoln SEC hearing took place in the heart of the area that was just spared towers under the new plan.  Instead of laying down, the people there came out even more passionately against the project (if that's even possible).  Why?  IMO it's because they realize that it could just as easily have been them that were thrown under the bus in favor of burying it elsewhere.

    To be clear: Northern Pass will NOT be directly supplying the Balsams with power.  That power is headed for Southern New England. As a throw in to appease opposition in the North Country, Northern Pass will upgrade the Coos loop to allow the New England grid to supply the Balsams.  Supplying the Balsams can be done without Northern Pass - it's the Coos loop upgrade that they need and Northern Pass just happens to be offering to do that.  Do you believe in coincidences?  I don't.
  • obienickobienick expert
    edited September 2015 Posts: 853
    NELSBEER said:

    Sooo... we can look forward to a bright glow on the northern horizon... maybe we could call them the Northern Lights?

    Northern Pass, I assume, is the only game in town for this big an electrical draw.  Could the Balsams project be waiting on a certain electricity source in addition to other requirements?
    No.  The Northern Pass is a ±320 kV DC transmission line.  Direct from Hydro-Québec to PSNH in southern NH.  The infrastructure necessary to convert it back to AC and down to 480 V is astronomical.  The power is going directly to Franklin, where there will be "taps" to the 115 kV and 34.5 kV distribution lines and a conversion to 345 kV 3-phase AC for further transmission to Deerfield (Concord/Manchester area) with "taps" to the 115 kV and 34.5 kV distribution lines there.  No other connections.  Any necessary improvements to serve The Balsams will be on local distribution lines.

    This is why everyone in Coos County is against the project.  They get 0 benefit from it, and all the unsightly views.

    And it isn't guaranteed Northern Pass will be approved.  There is a lot of opposition.  The Northern Pass people have invested a lot of money into the project and are getting desperate with the lack of public approval (or should I say the amount of public disproval) and have finally agreed to burry 60 miles of the 158 mi HVDC line.  Where, who knows.  The public wants all 158 miles buried and the 345 kV AC line to be the normal 115 kV for lower towers.  Northern Pass claims it's too costly, but it's been done elsewhere as original proposals.
  • NELSBEERNELSBEER advanced
    Posts: 222
    For a reasonably priced power source it appears the Balsams ultimately depends on the Coos County loop upgrade which is tied in with Northern Pass' helping upgrade the NE grid. 

    With no NP there may be a line upgrade (more$$$) delivering more expensive power but it is really going to cost to power all those lifts, snowmaking and tourist infrastructure from other sources.

    Cutting electricity expenses hasn't been cheap at existing areas; Low-E snow guns & lighting have become economic priorities, especially when they are subsidized.  

    Alternatives like Wind, Solar, Killington's cow poop power or even a hydro dam might be feasible in the long run but would really drive up costs. Running a gas line up there to run their own generation plant is about as likely as building a small nuke plant. 

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out...


     
  • Bill29Bill29 advanced
    Posts: 235
    Maybe Les will generate power from steam produced by burning wood pellets.
  • mapnutmapnut expert
    Posts: 778
    There'll certainly be a lot of wood available after all those trails are cleared.
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,061
    this just appeared in Snocountry, some zoning changes that will grease the slide a bit

    Linky

    New Hampshire's Coos County Commission and Coos County Delegation have approved three zoning amendments that are essential to the Balsams Resort’s proposed redevelopment.

    Les Otten, who is leading the Balsams redevelopment team, said, “We are pleased the Commission and Delegation unanimously approved these critically important zoning amendments. We are very grateful for all of the time and effort these community leaders have put into the review thus far. This is a very significant milestone for the Balsams and another major step towards the rebirth of this majestic property.”

    The first approved zoning amendment creates a new Resort District in the area of the former Balsams Resort and surrounding recreation areas, and encourages further patterns of compatible development.

    The second removes “Planned Development” as a type of Subdistrict requiring County Commissioner and County Delegation approval for a zoning change, and creates instead a process whereby the Planning Board can issue a Conditional Use Permit for Planned Unit Developments.

    The third amendment contains numerous changes to clarify existing wording and requirements, to remove inconsistencies from the Ordinance, and to update the Ordinance relative to changes in state law. 

    Other project milestones thus far include receiving a Water Quality Certificate (WQC) under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act. The certificate grants The Balsams permission to withdraw water from the Androscoggin River for snowmaking at what could become the largest ski resort in the northeastern United States.

    In addition to receiving this critical permit, The Balsams recently surpassed more than 175 reservations from people wishing to purchase Balsams Century Club property when it becomes available.
  • obienickobienick expert
    Posts: 853
    Excelent news.
  • z1000307470z1000307470 intermediate
    Posts: 84
    obienick said:

    Excelent news.



    Come on - this is all crap that will lead nowhere. They can talk about zoning and water and electric and it is all meaningless. Canadian $ is worth $.75US.

    There. Is. No. Market.

  • Posts: 1,924
    Balsams Construction Postponed Again

    Fall construction start date now delayed until June.

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com

    For at least the third time in the past year, the proposed Balsams construction start date has been delayed. According to New Hampshire Public Radio, developers disclosed the June 1, 2016 start date in a Coos County Planning Board last night. Developers are still working through the initial permitting process.

    The project was originally slated to start on June 1, 2015, however developers cited the legislative process in obtaining state backed bonds as reason for delaying construction until late summer. The project was delayed again during the summer with a new groundbreaking date set for fall 2015.

    Provident Bank is reportedly lined up to provide the $28,000,000 million state-backed Business Finance Authority loan. Additional government funds are reportedly expected to be used for the project.

    The group is reportedly still hoping for a 2016-17 reopening. The resort has been closed since September 2011.

    Meanwhile, lead Balsams developer Les Otten is opening a new restaurant with Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer at Sunday River. Rockin’ & Roastin’ Café & Restaurant – At the Mountain is scheduled to open in December at the location of the former Phoenix House & Well. The new establishment will be a coffee house, restaurant, and bar.

    www.newenglandskiindustry.com/viewstory.php?storyid=344
    - Sam
  • obienickobienick expert
    Posts: 853
    Not surprising.  Shovels weren't going to touch the ground until all the ducks are in a row.  It took a lot longer than they expected to get their ZBA approval.
  • TomWhiteTomWhite advanced
    Posts: 426

    From the Union Leader:


    image
    The Coos County Planning Board will vote on the fate of the Balsams Resort on Dec. 2. (John Koziol)

    Planning Board green-lights Balsams development

    image

    The Coos County Planning Board met at the Colebrook Elementary School on Wednesday where members approved the planned-unit development application for The Balsams resort in Dixville. (John Koziol)

    COLEBROOK – By a unanimous voice vote, the Coos County Planning Board on Wednesday approved the planned-unit development application of Dixville Capital LLC.

    The approval provides a framework for the phased redevelopment and new construction at The Balsams Resort in Dixville, which has been closed since 2011.

    The resort includes the grand hotel, the Panorama golf course and The Wilderness ski area, all of which would be improved and/or expanded under a vision presented to the planning board back in July by Les Otten.

    A former ski industry executive, Otten has proposed making The Balsams a year-round, world-class resort that would be based around what he has called "the largest and most technically advanced ski resort on the East Coast."

    The ski area is part of the $145 million Phase 1 of the project which also calls for renovating the Dix, Hampshire, and Hale houses and the Panorama golf course and clubhouse; construction of a 500-room hotel, conference center, Nordic hot baths and spa, a performing arts center, and an open-air marketplace.

    As the market demands, future phases, which Otten has said could take decades to complete, would see the construction of up to 4,600 residential units.

    Because of the size and complexity of the Balsams project, both planning board members and Otten’s development team initially struggled on how best to present it for formal consideration. Several months into those discussions, the parties decided to use the county’s existing zoning regulations, and in particular the planned-unit development model.

    Although the board members all supported the rebirth of The Balsams – which also has the support of Gov. Maggie Hassan and elected and appointed officials throughout the North Country – they differed on how quickly to proceed with the review process.

    The matter was nearly brought to a showdown vote on Nov. 11 when it appeared that half the members wanted immediate action on the PUD application. Eventually, however, after consulting with the applicant, the planning board held two work sessions prior to Wednesday’s meeting during which it hammered out the conditions of the PUD approval.

    On Wednesday, both planning board members and the applicant received copies of the conditions for the first time, although Board Chair John Scarinza said there was nothing new that hadn’t been previously covered at a work session.

    Scarinza added that the board’s attorney found the conditions to be legally defensible and legally permissible, telling members to pause to read them in their entirety before proceeding with a vote on the PUD application.

    After approximately a 30-minute recess, Scarinza gaveled the board back into order and after some minor "wordsmithing" of the conditions, accepted a motion to approve the PUD.

    The chair then congratulated the Dixville Capital team, adding that he hoped to see them back sometime soon in 2016 with a site plan application for Phase I.

    On a separate but related matter, the planning board also unanimously approved a request by Dixville Capital to be able to obtain a certificate of occupancy from the state fire marshal’s office for the Hale House. The facility would be occupied by the development team, not the public.

    - See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/Planning-Board-green-lights-Balsams-development#sthash.ZA3AnZHG.dpuf

  • lordsigmalordsigma novice
    edited December 2015 Posts: 1
    The Coos Loop may not be a hinder to the project. The main issue with the Coos Loop is not due to load but due to the large amount of generation in Coos County especially due to a lot of it that has been added recently such as granite reliable, and the berlin biomass plant as well as under construction generation such as jericho power. At certain times of year when customer load supplied from the Lost Nation and Berlin substations is low, much more power is being generated than consumed and power actually flows outbound of the Coos loop south and this instance is where the problem is the loop cannot handle much more generation. The balsams may actually help the situation with the coos loop by adding local load. The extra local load would soak up more of the Coos county generated power lessening the outbound load on the loop. More likely however is that the local NHEC distribution lines and substation may need upgrades to be able to handle it as well as possibly the 34.5 kv Eversource subtransmission line that runs from the bulk power Substation in Groveton and feeds the northwestern part of the county plus Canaan, VT both the Eversource and NHEC customers. Note that the southeastern side of the resort would likely be fed from the Errol area which is a totally different system that's fed from the Berlin bulk substation.
  • TomWhiteTomWhite advanced
    Posts: 426

    ropeways.net | Home | 2016-01-07

    Balsams Receives Wetlands Permit; Redevelopment Is On A Roll

    Balsams ExpansionThe Balsams in northern New Hampshire has passed still another hurdle on its way to becoming what developers say will be the largest ski resort in the East.
    The redevelopment team, lead by Les Otten, has received a wetlands permit from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

    Earlier in the month, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests approved a request for an amendment to the conservation restrictions on land at the Balsams to allow the construction of two ski lifts and certain trails.

    The amendment requires specific mitigation that significantly enhances the protection of old growth forest and high elevation habitat.

    In exchange for permitting to build the lifts and trails, The Balsams will give the state and the Forest Society land and easement rights to protect 959 acres of critical wildlife habitat. This is in addition to 5,670 acres previously placed in conservation.

    “Dixville Notch’s natural wonders are the Balsams’ greatest assets,” Otten said. “Protecting and preserving this beautiful wilderness through responsible, concentrated development is paramount. This wetlands permit is a testament to our promise to develop in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner and is the most significant milestone to date. We have taken a great leap forward in creating a year-round, world-class, destination resort which includes a major expansion of The Balsams Wilderness Ski Area.”

    Following the finalization of the financing package and the site plan review with the Coos County Planning Board, “later in the spring we hope to kick off the development,” spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne told SnoCounty.com.

    The Balsams’ project has been gathering momentum and support throughout 2015. In May, the state passed SB 30, allowing the N.H. Business Finance Authority to consider a $20 million loan guarantee for the project. In July, the project received clearance to withdraw water from the Androscoggin River for snowmaking, and in the past two months zoning amendments and planned unit development were approved.

    Source: "Snocountry.com"
  • Posts: 1,924
    When I glanced at the paper this morning this was the feature article: https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/02/27/les-otten-last-resort/VN2GEN9PMt48P82phacn3N/story.html
    front page on the Boston Sunday Globe
    - Sam
  • z1000307470z1000307470 intermediate
    Posts: 84

    When I glanced at the paper this morning this was the feature article: https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/02/27/les-otten-last-resort/VN2GEN9PMt48P82phacn3N/story.html
    front page on the Boston Sunday Globe

    Another history lesson puff piece. Unless Otten has figured out how to move Balsams an hour closer into the US, its all baloney. By the way, in addition to saving Fenway, I heard he told Robert Kraft to hire Bill Belechick and draft Tom Brady. 
  • ski_itski_it expert
    Posts: 1,651
    Nordic hot springs? I don't know what that is, but I'm sold on it.
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • TomWhiteTomWhite advanced
    Posts: 426

    ropeways.net | Home | 2016-03-16

    Balsams Reopening Being Funded by Northern Pass

    The resort was sold to the present ownership to block the controversial transmission line.

    In his Monday testimony before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee, Balsams developer Les Otten disclosed one of his investors is the Northern Pass. The Balsams property was originally sold to the present ownership to prevent the construction of the controversial power transmission line.
    According to Otten's testimony, released by New Hampshire Public Radio, Otten disclosed that, "Northern Pass, through the Forward New Hampshire Fund, has invested $2 million in our project without strings. And we are discussing the potential for a more substantial investment by the Fund as Northern Pass progresses." The Forward NH Fund claims it will "allocate $200 million over a 20 year period for projects associated with community betterment, clean energy innovation, economic development, and tourism."

    Otten concluded his testimony in saying, "[l]et there be no doubt I favor the rebirth of the North Country - and I favor Northern Pass and the opportunities it will create - which may well endure for the next century."

    Background

    The transmission line, proposed to run 192 miles from Canada through New Hampshire, was created as a partnership between Hydro-Quebec, Northeast Utilities (now known as Eversource), and NSTAR. A large opposition movement has emerged, citing environmental, visual, and eminent domain concerns.

    Northern Pass reportedly offered to purchase the Balsams for $3 million, however the Tillotson Corporation sold the shuttered resort to Balsams View, LLC for $2.3 million in 2011. The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests then used anti-Northern Pass funds to purchase an $850,000 easement from the new owners, claiming it would block the transmission line. The new ownership subsequently auctioned 2,400 resort assets to generate funds.

    In late 2015, the directors of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests unanimously approved to waive its "restrictions that will forever protect the working forest" to allow the Balsams expansion to take place.

    The northernmost chairlift served ski area in New Hampshire, the Balsams Wilderness operated from 1966 until 2011, when the Dixville Notch Balsams Grand Resort was shuttered. While equipment has been sold and some hotel related structures demolished, the ski lodge and triple chairlifts remain in place.

    Les Otten's Dixville LLC became involved in the project in early 2014. The $143 million Phase 1 construction has been repeatedly delayed. On May 20, 2015, Governor Maggie Hassan signed Senate Bill 30 into law, allowing the state's Business Finance Authority to provide up to $30 million in taxpayer backed bonds to the project.

    The most recent projection released by the developers suggests a 2017-18 season reopening.

    Source: "NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com"

    http://www.newenglandskiindustry.com
  • obienickobienick expert
    edited March 2016 Posts: 853
    My two thoughts on possibilities:

    (a) Generate goodwill since the whole north of the state is opposed to the Northern Pass *especially* with respect to the proposed route in and around Dixville Notch; or

    (b) Use their investment to somehow wrangle the property if The Balsams project goes belly up, thus minimizing the need to deal with landowners on alternate routes.

    The cynic in me likes to think (b), but then Northern Pass would then get stuck with the landfill which is causing some trouble for getting investors.
  • obienickobienick expert
    Posts: 853
    Good Morning,
    We are thrilled to share that we have received site plan approval for the restoration of the historic Hampshire House and Dix House. As you know, we had a great start to this year with the finalization of our zoning, Wetlands, and NHDES approvals. Since then our team has continued to work diligently to get us to this next important milestone in our rebirth.
    Clearing this last regulatory hurdle allows us to begin the major restoration and renovation of the Hampshire and Dix Houses. The Union Leader ran a piece on our site plan approval Monday night. Learn more about what the vote means for us fromThe Union Leader.
    I know that you are as anxious as I am for our Century Club Selection Event and we are getting closer with each approval. I am so excited to share our last two years of hard work with you.
    I will reach out again soon with more news and updates. As always I am here to assist and am happy to chat by phone or email.
    All the best,
    Clay

    Clay Smith
    Balsams Resort Liaison
  • riverc0ilriverc0il advanced
    Posts: 252
    Good grief. 
  • TomWhiteTomWhite advanced
    Posts: 426
    image

    Elevation drawings show how the rehabilitated Dix and Hampshire houses would look as part of the expansion/renovation of the Balsams resort in Dixville. The Coos County Planning Board on Wednesday accepted the site plan application for the project as complete and will hold a public hearing on it in Colebrook on June 6. (Courtesy of Dixville Capital LLC)

    County OKs renovations for Balsams properties


    COLEBROOK — The renaissance of The Balsams resort moved forward Monday, with the Coos County Planning Board approving site plans to rehabilitate the Dix and Hampshire houses.

    According to Scott Tranchemontagne, a spokesman for Dixville Capital LLC, the approvals were conditional and will be ironed out in time for the planning board’s July 5 meeting.

    Last month, the planning board accepted as complete the Dix and Hampshire house applications, which allowed them to be considered and acted on Monday. 

    The board’s latest action clears the way for it to decide whether a site application that would quadruple the size of the Wilderness Ski Area is complete, and if so, to schedule a public hearing on it.

    Shuttered since 2011, the Balsams resort offered visitors many world-class amenities, including the Wilderness and the Donald Ross-designed Panorama Golf Course.

    Since 1960, the Ballot Room in the Dix House was where the first votes had been cast in New Hampshire’s presidential primary.

    Two Colebrook natives purchased the Balsams from the Tillotson family. After they were unable to move the project forward, they reached out to former ski industry executive Les Otten in 2014.

    Otten has proposed expanding The Wilderness into one of the largest ski areas in the East. Phase I of the Balsams’ facelift includes that element as well as the rehabilitation of the Dix and Hampshire houses and the golf course and clubhouse, building a conference center, Nordic hot baths and spa, a performing arts center and an open-air marketplace.

    A portion of the cost of Phase I will be backed by a loan guarantee from the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority.
    ..
    - See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/County-OKs-renovations-for-Balsams-properties-20160606#sthash.JyWn2eHM.dpuf
  • Posts: 1,924
    Balsams Construction Postponed Again

    NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com


    The long awaited Balsams redevelopment has been postponed again, reportedly due to financing and permitting issues.

    According to the Berlin Daily Sun, Dixville Capital spokesperson Scott Tranchemontagne said, “We’re now aiming for early fall — certainly starting work this year.”

    The project was originally slated to start on June 1, 2015, however developers cited the legislative bond process as reason for delaying construction until late summer 2015. The project was delayed again during that summer with a new groundbreaking date set for fall 2015. More recently, a June 1, 2016 groundbreaking date had been suggested.

    In order to obtain some $28 million in state financing, Dixville Capital will need the approval of the Business Finance Authority and Governor and Council.

    In addition, there are rumors suggesting the Northern Pass transmission line project will need to move forward in order to unlock significant private funding for the project. Dixville Capital's Les Otten has come under fire recently for accepting funding from Northern Pass's Forward New Hampshire fund and reportedly pressuring local elected officials to drop their opposition to the transmission line.

    Meanwhile, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation is in the process of constructing an $850,000 tunnel under Route 26 at the resort to allow snowmobiles and grooming vehicles to pass under the highway. The Department of Transportation also plans to conduct multi-million dollar road reconstruction projects inside the resort, prior to transferring ownership of the roads to the developers.

    The northernmost chairlift served ski area in New Hampshire, the Balsams Wilderness operated from 1966 until 2011, when the Dixville Notch Balsams Grand Resort was shuttered. While equipment has been sold and some hotel related structures demolished, the ski lodge and triple chairlifts remain in place.

    http://www.newenglandskiindustry.com/viewstory.php?storyid=455
    - Sam
  • bubblecufferbubblecuffer advanced
    Posts: 262
    Is it on?  Is it off?  Is it in limbo? Very curious.
  • obienickobienick expert
    edited July 2016 Posts: 853
    As far as I've heard:  On.  They're holding open houses late summer/fall for timeshare purchasers already on the reservation list.  Still working on permits.  After the Sugarbush fiasco, Les Otten wants all permits with all T's crossed and I's dotted and in hand before money is spent.
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