North Country
10:57 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Beat The Clock: Balsams Renovation Financing Glitch

An auction sold off most of the furnishings and equipment at the Balsams, a prelude to the owners' plans for a huge renovation. Photo by Chris Jensen.

The owners of the closed Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch are playing beat the clock to get an important part of the financing they need to renovate and reopen the resort.

That renovation is estimated to cost at least $30 million and owners Coos businessmen Dan Hebert and Dan Dagesse, are hoping to use federally backed New Market Tax Credits to attract some investors.

However, the deadline for applying for credits is April, said Scott Tranchemontagne, a spokesman for the owners.

And before Hebert and Dagesse can apply they need plans for the renovation to be approved by the Coos County Planning Board, Tranchemontagne said.

Hebert and Dagesse had hoped the planning board would approve the building plan at a meeting in Lancaster Tuesday night.

But things didn’t go well because key information the board wanted was not provided.

“Well, what we need is a detailed set of plans on what the project entails, what the structures would look like and the concern is that it meets it meets safety code, current version of state building code and then we’ll be good to go,” said John Scarinza, the chairman of the board.

Spokesman Tranchemontagne said there was a misunderstanding about what was needed and the owners do have a finished site plan.

Typically a site-plan review, which may include a public hearing, could take a planning board 30 or 45 days.

However, planning board members said the project is vital to the economy of the North Country and they would try to work quickly.

An official from the state fire marshal’s office also said that office would try to fast-track it review of the plans.

But spokesman Tranchemontagne acknowledged there isn’t much time.

“It is an ambitious schedule. I will grant you that. But we believe we can do it. We have to do it,” he said. “We need to secure those New Market Tax Credits to make this deal work.”

When the resort closed in 2011 it put about 300 full and part-time employees out of work.

So, getting the resort open again would provide an important boost to the region’s economy.