Arctaris is planning to reopen the defunct Maine resort next winter.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) has announced it will be issuing $3.5 million in financing and financing insurance toward Arctaris Impact Fund's reopening of Saddleback Mountain. According to a FAME press release, the overall financing package is $23.5 million, which includes private equity, New Market Tax Credits, community loans, and community grants.
In a Facebook post yesterday, Arctaris's Saddleback CEO Andy Shepard commented, "A sincere thank you to all of you for your patience through what we know has been a really difficult process. Following closing by the end of the month the real work begins and we can't wait."
Arctaris's plans call for reopening Saddleback for the 2020-21 season with a new Rangeley chairlift (reportedly now a fixed grip quad replacing the double) and new T-Bar. An eight year plan reportedly calls for additional lifts, as well as off season offerings.
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 2019 and reportedly planned on closing the deal that year.
FAME was established by the State of Maine in 1983 as a successor to the Maine Guarantee Authority "to make the best use of the State's limited resources." FAME has been involved in other ski areas in the state, including Evergreen Valley and Sugarloaf.
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 has remained idle since, including a failed acquisition attempt by an embattled Australian firm. The ski area currently features a vertical drop of 2000 feet, served by two quads, two doubles, and a T-Bar.