Les Otten Purchases Half of Balsams
The former American Skiing Company CEO is hoping to start construction this summer.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017,

Balsams Wilderness (file photo)

After three years of involvement in the Balsams redevelopment project, Les Otten has purchased a 50% share in the shuttered resort property. Automotive dealer Dan Dagesse recently announced he had sold his share in the Balsams to Otten for an undisclosed sum. Business partner Dan Hebert has retained his 50% stake. It is not known of Northern Pass Forward NH funds were used in the transaction.

In mid April, Otten claimed he had spent $7.1 million on the project and had received over $20 million in refundable deposits from prospective condominium owners. While he would not provide a firm date, he claimed he hoped to break ground on the project this summer.

The project was originally slated to start on June 1, 2015, however developers cited the legislative bond process as reason for delaying construction until late summer 2015. The project was delayed again during that summer with a new groundbreaking date set for fall 2015. Subsequently, a June 1, 2016 groundbreaking date was suggested. When that goal was missed, a fall 2016 groundbreaking date was disclosed, "certainly starting work this year [2016]."

Otten has yet to procure roughly $100 million in loans to fund the $143 million phase one project.

The State of New Hampshire Business Finance Authority is expected to back $28 million of the debt following former Governor Maggie Hassan's passage of SB 30 in 2015. An additional $12 million in backing is being sought from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development. $5 million has been reportedly loaned to the project by Northern Pass's Forward NH fund.

The northernmost chairlift served ski area in New Hampshire, the Balsams Wilderness operated from 1966 until 2011, when the Dixville Notch Balsams Grand Resort was shuttered. While equipment has been sold and some hotel related structures demolished, the ski lodge and triple chairlifts remain in place.

  • Why Dan Dagesse Sold His Half Of The Balsams To Otten - External link

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