On 8-22-19 at the Farmhouse, a presentation was made by the ARCTARIS INVESTMENT FUND, a Social Impact Fund, and the possible purchaser of Saddleback.  A letter of intent to purchase the property was signed by the FUND and the Seller, Bill and Irene Berry from Farmington ME and the other Berry Family members in June, 2019.  The sale will include 6300 acres of the mountain, the lodge and all of the equipment.  The Berrys will continue to own the condos. The parties are continuing to negotiate and are hoping to execute the asset purchase agreement and close the transaction on 11-4-19.

The Fund team present included Jonathon Tower, Managing Partner, a second partner, Andy Shepard, the General Manager, our own Jimmy Quimby and their attorney, Tom Federle from Portland. Severin Beliveau who represents the Seller was also present. Tower graduated from Georgetown with degrees in English and Math and received an MBA from Harvard. Shepard had been an executive at LL Bean for 16 years.  He retired and became involved in the development of tourism in Aroostook County.  Along the way he was involved in the purchase of Black Mountain in the Rumford area. Federle is an owner of a condo at the Mountain.

In a few weeks and if the deal closes, they will know if they will be able to open in January, 2019.  The Plan is to have a “soft opening” in January but only on weekends and holidays.  Skiing would be limited to the Cupsuptic T-Bar which might be able to be replaced this year

They also discussed their 5-year plan.  They want to create a 4 season destination/ resort; certify the existing quad; replace the quad in 2020; add an additional detachable high speed 4 chair lift; allow hikers in the summer to ride the lift and then hike; establish 20 miles of  mountain bike trails; expand the existing lodge; expand the restaurant and bar and improve food service; add another restaurant further up the mountain; add a pool, spa and juciery; create  a welcome center; install an HVAC system; create a one-stop Guest Management System which will also allow skiers to be informed in real time much  information such as the location of the shortest lines; encourage uphill travel;  expand the Terrain Park from 7 acres to 20 acres; develop a Sugaring Facility; utilize the Aspen Snow Mass which has a strong connection with Maine; develop a Solar Farm; build a monorail mountain coaster; utilize the facility for weddings and musical events; continue the Tuesday Program for Rangeley students; and establish an internship program.

They don’t believe that it will become a huge resort and at this time there are no plans for a hotel.  The focus is on a 4-season resort. The goal is not to repeat the negative cycles that have affected the Mountain in the past.  In 2019 the staff will be limited but in the following years the employees will be similar to the past numbers.

They believe that the Mountain is to supplement the economy of the Town. They are interested in shuttle buses between the Mountain and the Town; developing tourist packages with Town businesses; establishing a website; increasing communication with the local citizens; and establishing a Citizens Advisory Board.  They want to be a part of generalized economic improvement in the region.

They pointed out that Maine has targeted Rangeley as a tourist destination; roads such as Route 4 are being improved; and the Governor has said she is willing to help.  The Access Road is currently being given some temporary fixes and there will need to be some long-term permanent improvements.  They see this investment as a regional play in which the Mountain is integrated with the Town.

The Buyers say they have the money in hand which is needed to close.  They need a total of approximately 34M to complete the planned improvements.  They currently have 30M. The investors in the Fund are banks, nonprofit corporations, government agencies and large investors.  They will be seeking additional funds through grants, allocations, tax incentives, funding from commercial banks and nonprofit corporations and funding from local sources including in some fashion from the condo owners.

Arctaris is a Social Impact Fund.  A Social Impact Fund has various incentives which allow it to improve areas where there has been a loss. such as the ski mountain and still return a profit for its investors. Much information on Arctaris and social impact funds are available on the web.  They are interested in satisfying the community and returning a profit for their investors.

The presentation was followed by a question and answer session and it lasted from 3:30 to 5:00.  After its conclusion the Team remained and continued to discuss and answer questions from the attendees which numbered over 150.

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