By Chris Jensen,
Colebrook – Plans for a key part of the redeveloped Balsams – a hotel and conference center – are moving ahead after the Coos Planning Board unanimously approved the site plan Wednesday night.
“The ayes have it, congratulations,” said board chairman John Scarinza.
The $50 million Lake Gloriette House would provide dining, a conference center and skier services, including access to a new gondola ferrying skiers to and from the slopes.
The approval means Balsams developer Les Otten has permission to move ahead with construction once he receives the necessary state approvals, such as an alteration-of-terrain permit.
“We are striving to begin construction this fall,” Ed Brisson, an official with Dixville Capital LLC, told the planners and about a dozen spectators. “But a lot has to come together.”
One of those things is financing.
But Balsams spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne said there has been significant progress on that.
“We are very close to being able to submit our financing plan to the state. The Business Finance Authority is where our lender would submit an application and we believe that we are a matter of weeks away from that,” Tranchemontagne said.
The Business Finance Authority would be asked to consider whether the state should guarantee a $28 million loan. A final decision on such a guarantee would come from the Executive Council.
Otten has said such a guarantee is an important part of his financing package. The first phase of the project is expected to cost about $170 million.
Brisson said Lake Gloriette House will be located roughly where the Tillotson’s house stands now. That makes it a little west of the existing Dix House and Hampshire House.
It would be five stories and include a 12,000-square foot conference center, Brisson said.
The units would be sold as condominiums and owners would have the option to rent them as hotel rooms.
The site plan approval is conditioned on several items such as state permits from the state fire marshal and Department of Environmental Services.