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50-unit Natural Retreats development & new stables fall through


October 30, 2013
BRETTON WOODS — The expected big infusion of investor dollars into southern Cos and northern Grafton counties to build a 50-unit subdivision — The Cottages at the Mount Washington Resort — made up of rental cottages and units for short-stay tourists to be constructed, owned and managed by Natural Retreats-US, Inc. of Charlottesville, Va., has fallen through.

"We simply did not reach a final agreement with Natural Retreats concerning purchase terms for the land parcel identified for this development project," explained Stephen Rice, Managing Director of CNL Lifestyle Properties of Orlando, Fla., that owns the Omni Mount Washington Resort. "We concluded our negotiations on an amicable basis."

"Unfortunately the deal has fallen through," confirmed spokesman Hunter McCardle of Water Street Studio, an environmental design and engineering firm, also in Charlottesville. "Natural Retreats and CNL failed to reach final agreement on the purchase terms for the parcel ending the process for acquisition and development by Natural Retreats."

Under the approved plan, the two-story historic stables and ell would have been converted to residential space to accommodate between 10 to 13 units: up to eight studio units in the ell in which up to four people could stay in each; and five suites in the renovated front of the stables, each built to accommodate four to six guests.

"The Stables will remain where it is since moving it to accommodate the Natural Retreats project is no longer necessary," Rice explained.

Discussions about the exact location of a brand-new, far smaller equestrian center within sight of the long driveway into the Omni Mount Washington Hotel not far from the historic Bretton Arms Inn had been underway for some months, with Horizons Engineering of Littleton serving as local spokesmen.

Six months ago on April 4, the Carroll Planning Board voted unanimously on April 4 to approve the dense development proposed by Natural Retreats-US, Inc., of Charlottesville, Va., on 15.23 acres off the Base Station Road and Fairway Drive. The Board's motion had included both detailed waivers and conditions, many of which had been negotiated collectively with Fairway Village condominium owners acting through their homeowners' association.

A purchase and sales agreement was then in place between Natural Retreats and property owners CPL BW Development TRS Corp., formerly CNL Income Bretton Woods, LLC.

The project called for nearly $2 million to be spent on the private infrastructure elements alone: roads, paths, retention pond, culverts, and water and sewer connections.

This was the largest subdivision that the Planning Board had approved in five years since the 199-unit Dartmouth Brook subdivision, proposed by Celebration Associates of Hot Springs, Va., was approved. Due to the collapse of the housing market and recession, no units have been built there, however, and the project remains indefinitely on hold.

Natural Retreats, a U.K.-based company, primarily develops self-catering rental cottages in areas of natural beauty, including on the Snake River in Idaho and John O'Groats at the northern tip of Scotland.

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