January 25, 2012DIXVILLE – Balsams View, LLC, selected the Northern Community Investment Corporation (NCIC), a nonprofit economic development organization serving the six northern counties in New Hampshire and Vermont, on Wednesday to take the lead in helping them develop and execute the financial package for the renovation of the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel.
"We regularly work with businesses to coordinate and participate in financing," explained NCIC president Jon Freeman in an e-mail exchange. "This particular arrangement is exciting since we will be able to have a broader role in helping the new owners — Daniel Dagesse and Daniel Herbert Jr. — restore this wonderful, historic landmark and restore critical North Country jobs in the process."
Colebrook natives Dagesse and Herbert set up Balsams View in early December 2011 in order to team up to buy the resort, including nearly 8,000 acres, most of which will be under a "working forest" conservation easement purchased by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests that prohibits most development.
The Balsams' last major renovations occurred more than 40 years ago and much work needs to be done. Balsams View LLC has hired an architect, met with state agencies, and is moving swiftly to secure financing needed for renovations, according to a press release.
The resort's owners are not yet ready, however, to release the name of their first important hire: the architect they have selected. The Balsams is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; the resort — one of only five surviving grand hotels in the Granite State — topped the 2011 "Seven to Save" list promulgated by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, that said it hoped the property's historic and cultural significance would be honored by a new owner, while jobs are preserved and its legacy continued.
The renovation process is expected to take approximately 18 months. The clock on that timeframe began ticking today, explained E.J. Powers, the owners' spokesman at the public relations firm Montagne Communications of Portsmouth, in an e-mail exchange. "There are a number of factors, however, that could influence the timetable," he said, pledging to provide updates as information is generated..
"We understand how vital jobs are to the area and how excited our visitors are to return," said Hebert in a prepared statement. "NCIC will play a critical role in providing the financial and economic assistance required to assure the Balsams' long-term prosperity." The Balsams has traditionally employed about 300 full- and part-time employees, depending on the season. Many do not work year-round, however.
NCIC business resource manager Ethan Swain, ordinarily assigned to Northeast Kingdom projects, will work closely with Dagesse and Hebert to secure the financing necessary to begin renovations. Swain and NCIC will pursue various types of financing, ranging from New Markets Tax Credits and energy efficiency grants, to traditional bank financing and equity investments.
NCIC (www.ncic.org) serves Carroll, Coös and Grafton counties and Vermont's Northeast Kingdom: Caledonia, Essex and Orleans counties, with offices located in Lancaster and Plymouth and headquarters in St. Johnsbury, Vt.