REPORT: Saddleback Buyers Still Millions of Dollars Short
Donations are being sought for a pre-Christmas transaction deadline.
Sunday, December 8, 2019, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
While the Saddleback sale agreement continues to move forward, WGME reports the group buying the defunct resort is facing a $2 million shortfall with just over a week to go before a major deadline.
The non-profit Saddleback Mountain Foundation is collecting donations to help close the gap. In addition to the pre-Christmas target, another $2 million is reportedly needed by the end of January. Appeals are reportedly being made to area condo owners to contribute funds to prevent the deal from falling through.
Based out of Boston, Arctaris Impact Fund was formed in 2018 to "invest in Low and Moderate Income communities throughout the U.S., addressing underserved and underbanked businesses that are poised for growth." The fund is a subsidiary of Arctaris, which was founded in 2009. According to the company's web site, Arctaris's co-founder is Jonathan D. Tower, who worked for Fidelity and IBM. Former Maine Winter Sports Center (Big Rock, Black Mountain, and Quoggy Jo) CEO Andy Shepard will serve as CEO of Saddleback.
Arctaris entered into an agreement to purchase Saddleback in June and reportedly needs to close the deal by December 23. Arctaris is reportedly aiming for a November or December 2020 reopening.
According to the Portland Press Herald, planned 2020 improvements include a high speed quad replacing the main Rangeley double chairlift, as well as a new T-Bar. Base facility improvements are also planned.
The Saddleback saga dates back to July 2015, when the Berry family, owners of the ski area since 2003, announced the Rangeley double chairlift was "at end of its useful life" and that operations would cease if the lift could not be replaced. The lift was not replaced and the ski area sat idle for the following two winters.
On June 28, 2017, the Berry family announced Saddleback was being sold to the Majella Group. At that time, Majella announced the sale would be completed later in the summer and the area would reopen with a new fixed grip quad chairlift and T-Bar. The deal was never completed, the lifts never installed, and the area never reopened. Majella CEO Sebastian Monsour was arrested for alleged investor fraud June 2018. Majella's Portland, Maine development company, 32 Thomas Street LLC, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2019. Majella branding has been removed from the Saddleback web presence.