THE BALSAMS: GOOD PROGRESS MADE AND GREAT THINGS AHEAD
June 17, 2022
By Les Otten
Appearing in the Colebrook Chronicle
“The Balsams Development Team has made significant progress over the last six months since the announcement of our collaboration with Provident Resources Group (PRG) and
Goldman Sachs to advance major components of the project’s financing. This announcement created a tremendous surge in interest, with more than 500 individuals inquiring about Balsams real estate since the relationship with Provident was announced, catapulting pre-sales commitments to approximately $30 million.
As background, The Balsams’ redevelopment proposal includes reconstructing the historic Dix House, renovating the historic Hampshire and Hale Houses, 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 hotel, a 600-seat conference center, a Nordic baths and spa facility, a performing arts center, and an open-air marketplace. The resort’s fine cuisine and chef training programs, known worldwide, will return through multiple culinary options 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 one of the largest, most technically advanced ski resorts on the East Coast, and offering multiple real estate products for sale. Our plan includes a gondola from the village up and over Route 26 to new trails and lifts on several peaks.
With most of our major permits in place, we are working on site with our engineering firms to finalize any existing open conditions, complete survey work and update environmental reports, all of which are a part of standard due diligence in project finance.
Third party reports commissioned as part of the financing process are nearing completion, all with projected favorable findings. Doug Kennedy Advisors, who was retained to assess the real estate market compared to the Balsams’ projections, has issued a final report concluding there is strong interest and potential for The Balsams’ success.
The report states, ‘The Balsams has substantial potential as a resort destination and base for vacation oriented real estate. Given the range and scope of on-site facilities; there is evident potential to develop a substantial number of vacation units in this location.’
Municap, Inc., a public finance consulting firm, has been engaged to complete the materials required to advance the Tax Assessment District bonds that the passage of HB 540 in 2019 allows for in collaboration with the County. Further, this piece of legislation was slightly modified, with almost unanimous support in the New Hampshire House and Senate, to accommodate a preference for how the bonds will be marketed.
As a result of tremendous support from Executive Councilor Joe Kenney, our North Country representatives in Concord, and our County Commissioners, the Balsams was also successful in having previously approved funding for Golf Links Road improvements reinstated, which will ensure safe access to the Panorama golf course, a cherished and key component of our redevelopment plan.
With all this progress over the past several months, many people have asked, ‘So when are you breaking ground?’
Recently I was privileged to speak at the North Country Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner, and I told members that I am cautiously optimistic that the bond markets will be receptive to new issuances this fall, presenting the opportunity to reach a financial close and start of construction within the calendar year. I remain grateful for the tremendous support of the State, the community, and our project participants, all of whom share the same vision that I do: to bring the Balsams back bigger and better than ever.”