The approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that redevelopment of the Dixville Notch, N.H., property, which has been closed since 2011, “will have minor individual or cumulative impacts on waters and/or wetlands.” Phase 1 of the $145 million project, now contingent on approval by a county planning board, would include renovation of the Donald Ross-designed, 104-year-old Panorama Golf Course in Colebrook, N.H.
The proposed renovation and expansion of the former Balsams resort in Dixville Notch, N.H. continues to move forward, the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader reported, with Dixville Capital LLC announcing on December 28 that the project has received approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
C&RB reported on the ambitious plans to revive the property, which has been closed since 2011, in October 2015 (http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2015/10/12/plans-for-145m-expansion-of-the-balsams-resort-move-forward/) and July 2014 (http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2014/07/28/balsams-grand-resort-plans-campus-style-redevelopment/).
On December 28, the Union Leader reported, Scott Tranchemontagne, a spokesman for Bethel, Maine-based Dixville Capital, said that Frank DelGiudice, the chief of the Army Corps’ New England District Permits and Enforcement Branch, had recently notified his client that the redevelopment of the resort, “will have minor individual or cumulative impacts on waters and/or wetlands.”
The study was done in conjunction with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and met the same conditions as that agency’s Wetlands Permit, which was granted on December 18, Tranchemontagne said.
The Army Corps New England District’s Public Affairs Office was not immediately available for comment, the Union Leader reported.
The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and Army Corps’ conditions, the Union Leader reported, include requirements that The Balsams gives land and easement rights on approximately 959 acres of “critical wildlife habitat” to the state and the Society for the Preservation of New Hampshire Forests, with which The Balsams entered into a conservation agreement in 2012 for some 5,700 acres around the resort.
On December 2, the Union Leader reported, the Coos County Planning Board voted unanimously to approve the planned-unit development (PUD) application of Dixville Capital, which provides a framework for the phased redevelopment and new construction at The Balsams.
The approval is contingent on Dixville Capital and the planning board coming to terms on a development agreement for the PUD. The parties are scheduled to meet on January 18 to see where they are in that process, , the Union Leader reported
Led by former ski industry executive Les Otten, Dixville Capital was expected to come back to the planning board in early 2016 with a specific site-plan application for Phase I, whose most significant feature would be the quadrupling of the size of The Wilderness ski area, the Union Leader reported.
Phase I would also include renovations of the Donald Ross-designed, 104-year-old Panorama golf course and clubhouse in Colebrook, N.H., and construction of a 500-room hotel, 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.
Otten has said that the Balsams could take decades to complete, and could have up to 4,600 residential units, the Union Leader reported
In a prepared statement issued on December 28, Otten hailed the Army Corps’ action, the Union Leader reported
“We’re excited to continue moving forward in creating a year-round, world-class, destination resort which includes a major expansion of The Balsams Wilderness Ski Area,” Otten said.
“The Army Corps permit further validates the [New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services] review and approval of the Balsams’ redevelopment,” Otten’s statement added. “It shows we will restore and expand the Balsams Resort with careful attention to environmentally responsible and sustainable practices.”
A total of eight individual land parcels will be protected as the resort is developed, said Tranchemontagne, the Dixville Capital spokesman, including 133 acres along Sanguinary Ridge, the Union Leader reported
The Balsams will give the state 92 acres of “high-value land” abutting Dixville Notch State Park, Tranchemontagne added, and two additional areas comprising 476 acres, currently under conservation easement, will have “greatly enhanced protections.” Other preservation efforts involve 258 acres of wetland and uplands along Clear Stream, he noted.