Completion of Work Force Study Marks Advancement of Balsams BFA Application Process
DIXVILLE, N.H. (March 21st, 2017) – A newly completed Work Force Study confirms that the revitalization of the Balsams Resort has the potential to bring thousands of new jobs to the North Country. The report by PolEcon Research is the third and final independent report required to advance the Balsams application before the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority (BFA) in collaboration with the project’s senior lender.
The study concludes that there is sufficient available labor in the region to meet the staffing needs of the redeveloped Balsams Resort. It determined that the project will have a positive impact on workers in the region and provide a number of public benefits, including:
- Putting people to work – The Balsams Resort will increase the size of Coös County’s labor force and raise the below-average labor force participation rate, especially among younger, working age residents.
- Job diversity – The Balsams Resort will create 600 construction jobs during Phase 1. Once operational, the Balsams Resort will employ roughly 400 people with the potential of creating more than 1,500 jobs once the build out is complete, as well as indirect jobs in the communities around Dixville.
- Good wages – Wages will average more than $17 per hour and the median wages are above the median for all of Coös County.
The Forward NH Plan, established by Northern Pass, recently committed a $3 million loan to assist the Balsams Resort through its final phases of design, permitting and financing. This has allowed the Balsams Resort to complete the required third-party reports, including the Work Force Study, to allow the advancement of the BFA application process.
“Helping to make this historic project a reality is a great example of the significant benefits the Forward NH Plan presents to all of New Hampshire, including creating jobs, stimulating the economy and the tourism industry,” said Leon J. Olivier, President, Northern Pass Transmission, LLC.
The loan will also help the Balsams complete on-going development activities, achieve a financial close, and break ground on the renovation and expansion plan sometime in 2017. The Balsams’ first phase is estimated to cost approximately $160 million and will include renovating the historic Dix and Hampshire Houses, and constructing a new hotel, conference center, Nordic Baths and Spa, and expanded ski area.
“There is a great synergy between our projects,” said Balsams lead developer Les Otten. “Northern Pass, through its Forward NH Plan, believes in the Balsams’ future success and is playing a large role towards making it happen.” Otten has long been a proponent of clean energy projects, and said he recognizes the clean-energy opportunity Northern Pass can bring.
“Northern Pass will benefit the Balsams for many years to come by providing a large amount of clean, low cost power to our very energy-intensive operation, particularly when it comes to snowmaking,” said Otten. “Most important, Northern Pass will upgrade the transmission line system through the North Country so other renewable power sources can thrive and Coös County can begin to bring back critically important manufacturing jobs.”
New Hampshire’s First District Senator and Senate Minority Leader, Jeff Woodburn, recently praised the additional investment and supports the ways in which these projects have aligned in a collective effort to benefit the community.
“The completion of the Work Force Study and its findings are an important advancement in the BFA process, and a great step forward for the Balsams project and the North Country,” said Woodburn. “From the project’s initial announcement and the Legislature’s work on SB 30, it has been exciting to see the state come together to support this project that is so vital to northern New Hampshire. Les Otten’s continued efforts, the work of local communities and the state’s support at all levels have helped move this project toward becoming a reality. I am also pleased that the Forward NH Plan has made critical advanced funding available to the Balsams project that will bring major, long-term economic benefits to our region. This demonstrates an understanding that the Northern Pass project, and the Forward NH Plan, must deliver substantial benefits to the North Country and the entire Granite state.”
Otten concluded, “Thousands of jobs have left the North Country over the last decade. It has hurt the schools, hospitals, charitable organizations and communities at large. In making this advance to the Balsams from its Forward NH Plan, and other job creating projects around the North Country, Northern Pass is already stimulating the economy and creating real opportunities.”
About the Balsams redevelopment:
The Balsams’ redevelopment proposal includes renovating the historic Dix House, Hampshire House and Hale House, as well as the acclaimed Panorama golf course and clubhouse designed by pioneering golf course architect Donald Ross. The Balsams Lake Village, which will encompass the Dix and Hampshire Houses, will feature a new Lake Gloriette House condominium, a 600-seat conference center, Nordic hot baths and spa, a performing arts center and an open-air marketplace. The resort’s fine cuisine and chef training programs, known worldwide, will return through multiple dining opportunities around the resort. All will embrace the farm-to-table concept by sourcing locally-grown meats, produce and dairy. The plan also includes expanding The Balsams Wilderness Ski Area into the largest and most technically advanced ski resort on the East Coast.
About the Forward NH Plan:
Northern Pass will transmit 1,090 MWs of clean hydropower from Canada to the New England power grid and will also provide small scale renewable generators with greater access to New England markets through the planned upgrade to the existing Coös Loop. The project is estimated to lower energy prices by $63 million annually for New Hampshire customers. It will provide additional energy cost savings and stability for Eversource NH customers through a firm power contract with Hydro-Québec. Northern Pass will also contribute an estimated $30 million annually in new tax revenue to communities in which the line passes. In 2015, Northern Pass committed the Forward NH Plan to provide a wide range of potential economic, infrastructure, and tax benefits for New Hampshire. The Forward NH Plan, through the establishment of a separate fund in the future, is expected to allocate $200 million over a 20-year period for projects associated with community betterment, clean energy innovation, economic development, and tourism throughout New Hampshire. In addition, Northern Pass has separately committed $7.5 million to the North Country Job Creation Fund for economic and community development initiatives and job creation, training, and retention program.