“We have taken another good step forward with these recent approvals, but there is still some important work to do before all elements of the financial plan are in place.”- Scott Tranchemontagne, spokesman for the Balsams Resort
Back in March, The Balsams Resort in Northern New Hampshire got a set of key approvals that catapults them closer to beginning work on their ginormous reconstruction project. Their next step is getting the remaining permits. Les Otten, who is the mastermind behind the project, said on the New England Ski Journal Podcast that these will likely be completed at some point in June. When they begin construction though remains unclear.
Last week, the News & Sentinel interviewed Scott Tranchemontagne, who is the spokesman for the Balsams Resort. He described the Balsams’ current mindset after getting the critical approvals needed to begin construction:
“We are very pleased with the last several months of work with the county. Both the ski area site plan approval and the creation of the tax assessment district required a lot of work by the planning board, county administrator, commissioners, delegation and The Balsams team. Everyone has worked diligently and collaboratively to address questions, provide information and ultimately get these key pieces across the finish line.
The fact that the county remains so supportive of The Balsams redevelopment speaks to the tremendous, positive impact our project will have on the region. While it’s a complicated project with a lot of moving parts that must come together at the same time, having their support is incredibly meaningful. All of our project stakeholders and participants are aware of the role the county has played and the support they continue to extend, and it is much appreciated.”
Here’s the part of Scott’s quote in the interview that makes me think that we aren’t going to see the ground-breaking for these projects happen this year:
“Financial markets remain challenging and volatile. While we have extremely credible and professional financing partners involved in the transaction, we want to ensure that we go to market at the most advantageous time.
The reality is that between the war in Ukraine, lingering concerns of a potential recession, rising interest rates, rising construction costs, and the recent collapse of several banks, the right opportunity to go to the market has not yet coincided with our local, state, and federal permits. It is not all doom and gloom, and we believe that there will be an opportunity for things to line up for us in the not-too-distant future.”
I’m frankly not too thrilled by this response. These plans were first announced back in 2015, so people in the Great North Woods have been waiting a long time for this. Based on how the 2020s are going so far, you are likely not going to find a period in the coming years where there isn’t going to be economic uncertainty. I imagine the people who have put $39 million in deposits for these units would like to see things happen sooner rather than later.
And this is coming from someone who desperately wants to see this happen due to it being an economic boom for my home state, and that it would be an exceptional skiing experience.
The first phase of the project includes a major expansion of the Balsams Wilderness Ski Area (six new lifts, including a gondola, and 500 skiable acres), the construction of a new Lake Gloriette, New Hampshire, and Dix Houses, and the addition of lodging and residential units.
Last week, WMUR interviewed Les Otten, who is the mastermind behind the project. The video covers the permits they got back in March and the significance of these steps. You can check out that video below.