Balsams Resort

North Country
5:00 am
Sun March 8, 2015

Hassan Says State Needs To Support Balsams Redevelopment

Governor Hassan listens to arguments for redevelopment of The Balsams on Saturday.
Chris Jensen for NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan was in the North Country Saturday and heard from roughly a half dozen local business owners who said they need the Balsams resort to reopen for their businesses to survive.

And, they also wanted the Democratic governor to somehow get the Republican controlled House and Senate to support the redevelopment of the Balsams.

Listen to the broadcast versions of this story:

One of the people she heard from was Mark Decareau, who five years ago bought the Diamond Peaks Motel & Store on Route 26 in Colebrook, where Hassan met the crowd.

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North Country
1:46 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Senate Committee Balks At Funding For The Balsams

Dixville Capital developer Les Otten: Says he's confident the project can move forward.
Credit Chris Jensen for NHPR

A Senate Committee Wednesday sidelined a bill designed to provide state backing for a $28 million loan to the developers of the Balsams Resort. But developer Les Otten says he still hopes to begin construction in June.

The legislation is Senate Bill 30 and it would have provided a state guarantee for a $28 million bond to help Otten’s Dixville Capital LLC renovate and expand the Balsams resort.

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North Country
4:54 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Economic Study Done For Balsams Developer Predicts Huge Fiscal Boost For Coos

Credit Chris Jensen for NHPR

The reopening and expansion of the Balsams resort would reverse more than a decade of declining wages and employment in Coos County, according to a new 25-page economic impact study by PolEcon Research of Dover.

It was commissioned by the developer, Dixville Capital LLC, headed by Maine entrepreneur Les Otten.

PolEcon said it had “full independence” from Dixville Capital and used “conservative” assumptions.

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North Country
4:05 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Construction of Balsams Could Begin In June, But There Is A $28 Million Catch

The resort closed late in 2011, putting about 300 full or part-time employees out of work.
Chris Jensen for NHPR

The developers of the Balsams resort hope to begin construction in June for what could be the largest economic development project in the history of the job-poor North Country. But the go-ahead depends on passage of Senate Bill 30 which would put a state guarantee behind $28 million in bonds, the developers say.

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North Country
3:46 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Balsams Developers To Present Updated Renovation Plan

Credit Chris Jensen for NHPR


  The developers of the Balsams will go before the Coos County Planning Board next Thursday to provide some new details of the planned $130 million renovation.

 “Since Les Otten and his team has come in the scope and the vision of the project has expanded greatly. So, we need to go back to the county planning board and formally re-introduce the project," said Scott Tranchemontagne, a spokesman for the developers including owners Dan  Hebert and Dan Dagresse who have been working with ski developer Les Otten.

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North Country
5:16 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Renovation Progress Claimed As Balsams Owners Ask To Take Snowmaking Water From The Androscoggin

In 2012 - with the Balsams closed - the owners held an auction to get rid of most of the furnishings. Photo by Chris Jensen

In what is being described as progress in the $100 million renovation of the closed Balsams resort, its owners are asking state officials for permission to take water from the Androscoggin River for expanded snowmaking.

“The fact that we have submitted an application to withdraw water for our snowmaking operation is a significant step forward for the project,” said Scott Tranchemontagne, a spokesman for developers, Dan Hebert, Dan Dagesse and Maine businessman Les Otten.

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North Country
5:34 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Expanding Balsams Ski Resort: Money, Jobs And A Regulatory Challenge

Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR.

If Maine entrepreneur Les Otten can expand the ski area of the closed Balsams resort he says it would create about 1,000 full or part-time jobs.

That’s something the region desperately needs. But it isn’t clear whether Otten has the money or can work through a regulatory tangle including safety issues.

The issue is being raised after Otten said he would like to work with Dan Hebert and Dan Dagesse, the owners of the closed resort.

One issue is a safety concern. Can the huge blades on the 410-foot tall turbines throw chunks of ice far enough to endanger skiers?

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North Country
3:29 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Wind Farm Owner OK With Expanding Ski Slopes At Balsams If Safety Isn't An Issue

Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR


The company that owns the wind farm near the Balsams is open to reducing the buffer zone between its wind turbines and the slopes, a key to a developer’s plan to  greatly expand  the size of the ski resort.

"As long as it is safe, we have no problems," Brookfield Renewable Power lawyer Harold Pachios said late Monday.

Maine entrepreneur Les Otten would like to quadruple the size of the Balsams ski area and reopen the hotel.

But Otten’s plan to make the ski runs longer requires skiers to get closer to the tops of mountains where the wind farm has turbines.

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North Country
8:46 am
Sun March 2, 2014

A Huge, New Ski Resort At The Balsams?

Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR

Coos County commissioner Paul Grenier says there are plans to convert the Balsams into a huge ski resort.

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North Country
2:56 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Stalled Effort To Reopen Balsams Gets New Team Member

More than two years ago the Balsams closed, putting about 300 full and part-time employees out of work.

But now Les Otten, a Maine businessman and former owner of the American Skiing Company, is working on reopening the Balsams.  He says he has an agreement with the resort’s two owners, Dan Hebert and Dan Dagesse.

North Country
11:20 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Another Setback For Balsams' Financing

Another effort to obtain financing for the renovation of the Balsams resort has fallen through.

The owners of the Balsams resort in Dixville Notch have run into another problem coming up with the $30 million needed to renovate the closed resort and put as many as 300 full or part-time employees back to work.

Owners Dan Hebert and Dan Dagesse hoped to use federally backed New Market Tax Credits to attract some investors.

But that has fallen through with a deadline being missed, says spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne.

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North Country
3:36 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

State Says No Evidence of Air Pollution In Balsams Fire

Working largely on what amounts to the honor system state officials say they have decided state air pollution standards were not violated in a fire last January when two buildings at the Balsams resort were burned down as part of a renovation.

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North Country
9:42 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

More Details On Balsams Renovation And A Step Forward

Artist's conception of the renovated Balsams. Courtesy of the owners.
Credit Courtesy of the owners

When the $30 million renovation of the Balsams Grand Resort is complete it will look a lot like the old grand hotel but will feature much-needed modern amenities making it far nicer for guests and a lot  cheaper to operate.

That’s how Dan Hebert, one of the two owners, described the renovation Tuesday night before the Coos County Planning Board.

Originally the complex had about 400,000 square feet.

Hebert said about 123,000 of that is being retained. About 80,000 square feet will be added.

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North Country
12:11 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Air-Quality Officials Investigate Balsams Renovation Fire

The Department of Environmental Services is investigating whether any air-protection measures were violated when several buildings at the Balsams were burned down as part of a renovation.

The fires took place on January 6th and destroyed a large dormitory and a second building once used to produce rubber and latex products.

Three North Country fire departments used the burn as a training exercise.

The fire also saved money for the new owners who wanted to demolish the buildings as part of a planned renovation.

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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.

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North Country
11:54 am
Fri February 15, 2013

New Plant In Colebrook Takes Up An Old Family Business

Back in the 1950s, at a plant near the Balsams hotel, the Neil Tillotson family was producing products like balloons, latex gloves and disposable plastic eyedroppers. 

But a little more than two years ago, the Dixville Notch plant was forced to shut down when the Tillotson Corporation prepared to sell its Balsams resort.

But now Rick Tillotson, one of the sons of the plant’s original owner, is opening a new 100,000-square foot plant in nearby Colebrook to produce some of the same items.

Tillotson says it’s a dream he’s had since the  plant closed.

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North Country
3:30 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Suit Balsams' Owners Said Blocked Financing Is Dismissed

Most of the furnishings of the Balsams were sold at auction. Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR
Credit Chris Jensen / NHPR

A judge in Merrimack Superior Court has dismissed a suit that the owners of the Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch said was holding up its re-opening.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

The suit was filed by Andy Martin, a self-described public-interest advocate and corruption fighter.

Martin claimed the sale was “committed fraudulently.”

Among those sued were the new owners, Danny Dagesse and Dan Hebert, the town of Colebrook and the New Hampshire attorney general.

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Elections 2012
12:36 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Dixville Notch Voters (All 10) Prepare For Midnight Balloting

The Balsams resort is temporarily closed but next Tuesday residents of Dixville Notch still plan on being the first voters in the nation.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Just at midnight, while sensible people are sleeping, folks from Dixville Notch will be voting.

But for the first time since 1960 they won’t be at the Balsams resort.

It’s closed for a renovation.

Instead they will gather at a nearby ski lodge, says Scott Tranchemontagne, a spokesman for the resort.

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North Country
11:03 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Balsams Renovation Delay Amid Financing Glitch

Early in May almost all of the furnishings of the Balsams were sold at auction.
Chris Jensen NHPR

The new owners of the Balsams are still looking for financing and the renovation of the resort is months behind.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Earlier this year the Balsams owners were seeking historic tax credits as one of several ways to attract investors.

The credits are available for the renovation of certified historic properties – like the Balsams.

But owners Dan Dagesse and Dan Hebert are dropping that idea, says Balsams’ spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne.

The reason is a plan to tear down  some parts of the Balsams complex.

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North Country
11:37 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Colebrook Planning Board Resolves Concern Over Balsams Tract

Dan Hebert, one of the new owners of the Balsams Grand Resort.
Chris Jensen for NHPR

The Colebrook Planning Board Tuesday night removed what the new owners of the Balsams Grand Resort have said was an impediment to the redevelopment needed to allow hundreds of people to get back to work.

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North Country
7:10 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

Latex Manufacturing To Resume in North Country

In some good news for the North Country an old family business is coming back to life.  NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Starting in 1931 Neil Tillotson made his fortune manufacturing natural latex products including balloons and later gloves.

That allowed him to purchase the Balsams Grand Resort.

Tillotson died in 2001 and a  latex plant located near the resort closed in 2010.

But Tillotson’s son, Rick, purchased the equipment and recently bought a 103,000 square foot building in Colebrook.

North Country
11:27 am
Sun May 13, 2012

The Balsams Auction: The End of An Era

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The walls and the hallways are largely empty today in one of New Hampshire’s oldest and grandest hotels.  As part of the plan to rebuild and renovate the Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch, the hotel’s new owners auctioned off many items this past Saturday.  The goal was to sell everything but photos and items of historical significance. 

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North Country
3:53 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Meeting Planned Over Owners Complaint That Balsams Renovation Is Stalled

The Colebrook Planning Board has called a special meeting May 22 to try and resolve an issue the new owners of the Balsams Grand Resort say is delaying its renovation.

The owners,  Dan Dagesse and Dan Hebert, are asking the Planning Board to approve a subdivision that would separate a 28-acre parcel from the roughly 1,000 acres that currently includes the hotel, grounds and golf course.

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North Country
4:25 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

The Balsams: A Grand House Cleaning By Auction

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The new owners of the Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch are planning a huge renovation.

But before that can happen there is a lot of stuff they need to get rid of from a ski lift to pots and pans and that means an auction.

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North Country
11:04 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Balsams Renovation Plan Moves Ahead


The new owners of the closed Balsams resort in Dixville Notch are moving ahead with plans to renovate the North Country resort.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Improvements at the Balsams resort will include a new conference center, spa, pool house and suites near the Hampshire House.

That’s according to the web site of Summit Engineering of Portsmouth which says the firm has been chosen to handle the structural engineering.

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North Country
4:50 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Balsams' New Owners Look For A Fiscal Boost From The Feds

The new owners of the Balsams resort in Dixville Notch are pulling together the money they need for a massive renovation. And, they hope federal programs will give them a big boost. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Late last year North-Country businessmen Dan Herbert and Dan Dagesse bought the Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch for about $2.3 million.

Now they are looking for the money they need for an extensive renovation.

It is badly needed to make the resort competitive, get it open again and put hundreds of people back to work.

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North Country
10:34 am
Sun January 15, 2012

Forest Society Makes Goal for Balsams, Blocks Northern Pass

The Forest Society says it has raised the $850,000 needed for a conservation easement at the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in Dixville Notch. It blocks a right-of-way for the proposed Northern Pass hydro-electric project. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

The Forest Society’s deadline for raising $850,000 for a 5,800-acre conservation easement at the Balsams resort was January 15th.

It raised the money with a record 1,500 contributions.

And, The Forest Society says Northern Pass’ hope to use the land for its electric towers deserves some of the credit.

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North Country
3:56 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Anonymous Donor Provides $150,000 For Project That Would Help Block Northern Pass

A donor who asked to remain anonymous has contributed $150,000 to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forest to help it buy a conservation easement at the Balsams resort in Dixville Notch.

The forest society has a deal with the Tillotson Corp. to buy the easement for $850,000. With a deadline of January 15th it has raised $609,000, according to a news release.

The easement covers about 5,800 acres as well as a right-of-way that the Northern Pass project sought to use for its transmission lines.