Coos Planners Approve Balsams Village Site Plan
By Robert Blechl
The Balsams redevelopment project took a step forward this week after the Coos County Planning Board approved a site plan for the resort’s village and an application for a two-lot subdivision at Cold Spring Road.
Monday’s hearing at the Tillotson Center in Colebrook also saw developers disclosing more details in their plans to redevelop the resort that has been shut down since 2011.
The site plan approved Monday calls for exterior and interior renovations to the historic Hampshire and Dix houses as well as the construction of a new connector building between the two, along with related infrastructure.
In the master plan for the Balsams Grand Resort are the Lake Gloriette House, the hot baths and a marketplace, but those site plans will be submitted later in the summer, Balsams developer Ed Brisson told county planners.
According to the village site plan, the Dix House will be saved and the Hampshire House fully renovated.
The existing parking lot adjacent to the hotel will be removed and the west wing of the Dix House and the Wind Whistle House will be demolished, according to the minutes of Monday’s site plan review hearing.
There will be an addition to the north side of the Dix House, per the plans, and the lobby will located be one floor higher than its current location, which will become an indoor swimming pool.
The plan calls for the connector building and the Dix House to be upgraded with a new façade that matches the existing style of the Dix House. The hotel that will be a condominium will have 123 rooms.
In all, the renovations are expected to take a year to complete and cost $18 million. In May, Balsams spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne said the goal is to have them completed by the late summer or autumn of 2017.
Developer Burt Mills told county planners four other applications will be submitted in the coming months. They include a subdivision on Dixville Peak and a subdivision on a 4,940-acre parcel that will have 3,285 acres used as ski terrain with the balance for the future development of South Village in a Planned Unit Development.
In the coming months, the county planning board is expected to hold a hearing on the site plan review application for the proposed expansion of the Wilderness Ski Area, which the Balsams development team is hoping to have completed and open for the 2017-2018 ski season.
Published in The Caledonian-Record on June 10th, 2016.