County OKs renovations for Balsams propertiesBy JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent
June 06. 2016 10:43PM
COLEBROOK — The renaissance of The Balsams resort moved forward Monday, with the Coos County Planning Board approving site plans to rehabilitate the Dix and Hampshire houses.
According to Scott Tranchemontagne, a spokesman for Dixville Capital LLC, the approvals were conditional and will be ironed out in time for the planning board’s July 5 meeting.
Last month, the planning board accepted as complete the Dix and Hampshire house applications, which allowed them to be considered and acted on Monday.
The board’s latest action clears the way for it to decide whether a site application that would quadruple the size of the Wilderness Ski Area is complete, and if so, to schedule a public hearing on it.
Shuttered since 2011, the Balsams resort offered visitors many world-class amenities, including the Wilderness and the Donald Ross-designed Panorama Golf Course.
Since 1960, the Ballot Room in the Dix House was where the first votes had been cast in New Hampshire’s presidential primary.
Two Colebrook natives purchased the Balsams from the Tillotson family. After they were unable to move the project forward, they reached out to former ski industry executive Les Otten in 2014.
Otten has proposed expanding The Wilderness into one of the largest ski areas in the East. Phase I of the Balsams’ facelift includes that element as well as the rehabilitation of the Dix and Hampshire houses and the golf course and clubhouse, building a conference center, Nordic hot baths and spa, a performing arts center and an open-air marketplace.
A portion of the cost of Phase I will be backed by a loan guarantee from the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority.