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Home / Business / New potential buyer takes another race to get the Saddleback ski area back into business

New potential buyer takes another race to get the Saddleback ski area back into business



A Boston investment firm has made an offer to buy Saddleback Mountain, which pledging to invest $ 25 million to $ 30 million after the sale to help reboot Rangeley resorts, which are closed for four years.

Some details of the Arctaris Impact Fund's offer to the Berry family, which owns the property, were included in an email shared this week with owners of Saddleback condos. The email was sent by Andy Shepard, CEO of the Outdoor Sports Institute, and Tom Federle, a Portland lawyer, who worked with Arctaris to try to buy the ski area.

When it was open, Saddleback was the state's third largest ski resort, drawing thousands of tourists each winter and providing hundreds of local jobs.

Shepard would not confirm Arctari's terms ̵

1; just that the $ 500 million investment group is interested in buying the ski mountain and having the opportunity to do so. The purchase price was not disclosed.

"Tom Federle and I have been quietly trying to find a buyer for the mountain over the past four years and linked to the Arctaris this fall. We have been very impressed with their commitment and ability not only to buy the mountain but do it with one long-term views to make the mountain successful, "said Shepard, former CEO of the Maine Winter Sports Center, on a Friday email. "Arctaris is the real deal, and I'm hoping for the Berry family and for the people of West Maine that we can get a deal done."

Federle is a Saddleback apartment owner. Shepard said the interest in the deal is in "preserving one of Maine's most notable ski mountains and the role it plays in the economy of the region, an interest shared by Tom."

Saddleback, owned by Irene and Bill Berry of Farmington, has been on the market since July 2015. The ski mountain – one of the largest in Maine at a height of 4,120 feet – has not been open since the 2014-2015 season.

A chair lift is immobile at Saddleback Mountain in 2016. The ski resort has not been open since the 2014-2015 season. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Employee Photographer

FIRM SOUGHT TAX BREAKS

Arctaris is an investment firm that works with banks, foundations and economic development agencies with a view to revitalizing communities. It expressed interest in buying the property this summer, but then said an agreement was based on obtaining government approval for certain tax incidents offered under the newly designated landing zones. But former government Paul LePage, who had the authority to designate which census channels could be included in the tax program, refused to include any community in Franklin County and Arctaris withdrew.

Jonathan Tower, managing partner and co-founder of the Arctaris Impact Fund, did not return comments.

Mark and Faith Berry, Billy's children and Irene Berry could not be reached for comment.

Arctaris 'email to Shepard and Federle was shared Tuesday with the Rock Pond Condo Association owners, who are home to Saddleback Mountain, to view Arctaris' desire to buy Saddleback. Portland Press Herald received a copy of the email. It included a part from the Tower, which spelled out the offer and processed it, hoping to follow to end the deal.

Among the guarantees offered by Tower in the email thread were:

The Fund has the capacity to close the agreement and will use its own capital to finance the purchase – it does not need funding through New Markets Tax Credit or Opportunity Zone Tax Program.

It expects that It will take 120 days to close the transaction, but it is unclear in the email date of the offer.

There is considerable support from nonprofit organizations and the broader community to contribute to improvements in the chair lift system.

Tower also notes that the return on the fund's investment will be challenged by the long closure of the resort, the cost of upgrading it and the uncertainty of future property sales.

"Despite Saddleback's major challenges, Arctaris beli has shown that there is a way to reopen Saddleback which includes combining our capital with the philanthropic contributions of the Rangeley community," says Tower. "For scale, we budget for one $ 25-30 million mid-term investment plan that will include a $ 3-5 million philanthropic component. … Arctaris is uniquely suited to leading this kind of bold initiative that will help stabilize the Rangeley community and bring back local businesses, jobs and property values. "

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Luke Labbe, a Rock Pond condo association owner at Saddleback, said the email forwarded to the condo owners was the second time Arctaris included ownership association owners in sales calls, so he thinks they are serious about becoming new owners.

"They are interested and they have recently included apartment owners in the discussions to influence a sale with Mark Berry," Labbe said on Tuesday in an email. "It would be a huge shot of energy and excitement to not only the Rangeley region, but to skiers all over Maine and across the country, quite frankly, who called Saddleback's home ski mountain. "

Saddleback offers 2000 vertical skis and some of the toughest expert terrain in East also provides significant employment opportunities in Franklin County, as the third largest employer in the county with as many as 350 employees during the winter.

Berry announced that they were in a buying and selling deal to sell Saddle back ski area in June 2017, to the Australia developer Majella group, but it never happened. And his CEO Sebastian Monsour, who promised to make it "the premier ski resort in North America," was later arrested in Australia for fraud after misunderstanding $ 5 million from a Chinese developer.

In October 2016, the Saddleback Mountain Foundation, a newly formed group of Rangeley companies and Saddleback season pass holders, announced that they reached an oral agreement with the Berry family to purchase the ski area and its surrounding area – buy the $ 6 core ski area millions. In the same agreement, the Trust of Public Land and the New England Forestry Foundation said they had entered into an agreement with Berrys to purchase an additional 3 249 acres around the ski area to preserve as conservation land, although a sales price was not determined. 19659002]

Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

] Twitter: FlemingPph

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