PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Finance Authority of Maine’s board on Monday approved loan guarantees and a loan necessary for a Boston investment group to proceed with purchasing Saddleback Mountain and reopening the area to skiers next winter.
The board unanimously approved $2.5 million in loan insurance on a $12.5 million loan, which was smaller than the original request, along with a $1 million direct loan. Arctaris Impact Fund also raised private funds and received a separate $1 million loan through the Maine Rural Development Authority.
“That was the final hurdle that we had to be able to move forward with this,” Andy Shepard, who will serve as general manager of the ski mountain and CEO of Saddleback Arctaris Corp., told The Associated Press.
The deal for the ski mountain is due to close by week’s end, and the mountain will reopen to skiers in December, Shepard said.
The finance authority and rural development funds will be part of a $23.5 million funding package that includes private equity, new market tax credits, community loans and community grants for the purchase of Saddleback, officials said.
Bruce Wagner, CEO of FAME, said after the vote in Augusta that the agency is pleased to “help re-start this historic and beloved Maine ski mountain” and to stimulate economic development in western Maine, where the ski mountain is located.
“We know how important this mountain’s success is to the local population and economy, as well as to many others who love to recreate in all seasons in the Rangeley area,” he said in a statement.
Before closing in 2015, Saddleback was Maine’s third-largest ski mountain in terms of skier visits, with five lifts and 66 trails.
The financial package will help Arctaris purchase the resort, as well as new equipment, including chairlifts. The company has said it plans to invest $38 million to upgrade lifts, build a new base lodge, expand snow making, and develop more housing.
The resort will provide 200 full-time and seasonal jobs and will help to stimulate the economy of both the Rangeley Lake region and the entire state, said Jonathan Tower, managing partner of Arctaris Impact Fund.
This story has been updated to correct the name of an agency to the Maine Rural Development Authority, instead of the Maine Rural Development Association.