NORTH CONWAY — Buoyed by the response to and sales of its slope-side condominiums, Cranmore Mountain Resort is accepting reservations for a second building while also looking to move up the schedule of its overall $50 million master plan.
In September 2016, Cranmore broke ground in on the first of two, residence-only buildings known as the Kearsarge Brook Condominiums.
Located at the base of Cranmore’s South Slope, Phase I, as the building is known, opened last fall and as of Thursday, said Ben Wilcox, who is the resort’s president and general manager, 17 of 18 units have been sold.
The Phase II building will have 19 units and it will be connected to Phase I. Like Phase I it will offer tenants and guests “ski-in and ski-out access” as well as proximity to Cranmore’s bounty of year-round activities and attractions. Cranmore is currently in its 81st season of continuous ski operation.
Under its master plan, Cranmore will eventually replace all of its existing facilities, with the exception of the Cranmore Ticket Office building and the historic summit Meister Hut. Buildings erected under phases III through VI will have both a residential and day-ski use.
The latter use, according to Cranmore, will include a restaurant, cafeteria, seating, locker rooms, restrooms, changing areas, rental shop, ski retail shop, snow sports instruction registration and other skier service areas.
Wilcox said he’s very happy with how things are proceeding at Cranmore.
Half of the units in Phase I of Kearsarge Brook, which sell for an average price in the mid-$400,000’s, were committed to before construction, said Wilcox, while the remainder were sold after the building opened.
On Jan. 26, Cranmore will begin accepting non-binding reservations for Phase II, units in which will be offered in the low $400,000’s to the mid $500,000’s. Like its counterpart to the south, Phase II will also have a penthouse unit that goes for around $700,000, Wilcox said.
Having Phase I completed, he explained, makes it easier to market Phase II.
“We’ve heard nothing but great comments from the guests living there and the proof is in the pudding,” Wilcox said.
The positive reaction to Phase I, he continued, “gives us some confidence to keep moving forward,” not just to Phase II but to phases III and IV also “so that we can keep the momentum moving.”
Overall, Cranmore’s Master Plan adds a residential component to the mountain, Wilcox said, “but even more, it provides us with more space for our day skiers, comfortable base facilities and will really make a great day on the slopes that more enjoyable.”
Come spring, summer, and fall, the master plan, when fully realized, will allow Cranmore to host more weddings and functions because all the new buildings will be air-conditioned.
Asked who’s buying the condos at Kearsarge Brook, Wilcox replied that they, for the most part, are young, professional families who are attracted by Cranmore’s brand as a “family mountain.”
The buyers, he said, “are looking for a mountain with strong programming for kids, and that is pretty much the theme of everybody buying. We’re finding that they’re coming from our primary market, which is the seacoast of New Hampshire and the North Shore of Massachusetts and around Boston.”
Wilcox said he was surprised by how high a percentage of Phase I units are not only being used by owners, but also rented.
Cranmore has its own rental program, but it also lets owners rent out directly, or through an agency like Airbnb, “and they (the owners) seem to like that flexibility because they’re not locked into any rental guidelines.”
Work on Phase II may begin this spring with completion expected for some time during the 2020-21 ski season. Cranmore is considering bids submitted by three contractors, said Wilcox, adding that as with Phase I, the goal is to work with local contractors and suppliers to the extent possible.
At the groundbreaking for Phase I, Brian Fairbank, who co-owns Cranmore along with his son, Tyler Fairbank, and Joseph O’Donnell, said Kearsarge Brook is modeled after all-inclusive resorts in Vail and Telluride, Colo., and also on Jiminy Peak in Hancock, Mass., which he has owned and/or managed and operated for almost 50 years.
Since buying Cranmore in June 2010, the Fairbanks and O’Donnell have invested $10 million in resort improvements, most recently a year-round outdoor heated pool and hot tub facility near Phase I.