Saddleback Mountain Ski Resort has served as the economic engine of the Rangeley Lakes region in Franklin County, Maine, for over 50 years, providing employment opportunity, tax revenue and sense of place and community.
When the resort closed in 2015, the region suffered from wide scale unemployment, sharp declines in real estate value, loss of tax revenues and a significant out-migration of area residents in search of employment elsewhere. Several redevelopment attempts were made in the later part of the decade, but the resort remained largely dormant.
In 2019, the property was purchased by Arctaris, a Boston-based firm that invests in growth-oriented operating businesses and community infrastructure projects located in underserved communities.
Since the purchase, Arctaris and its partners have invested more than $26 million in revitalizing the resort’s facilities and equipment, allowing the mountain to open for skiing in the winter of 2020. However, a significant financing gap remained, potentially halting the momentum of redevelopment.
Through the Maine New Markets Capital Investment Tax Credit program, CEI Capital Management was able to attract $1.49 million in private investment to the project, which will allow Arctaris to purchase and install a new T-Bar surface lift, increasing the resort’s capacity for skiers while maintaining vital momentum from the reopening.
“The revitalization of the Saddleback Mountain Ski Resort will be a significant driver of economic activity in Rangeley. With living wages, good benefits and access to child care services, Saddleback is positioned to be the premiere employer in the region.”Traci Vaine, CCML CEO
“The purchase and redevelopment of Saddleback has always been about the more comprehensive redevelopment of the region,” said Andy Shepard, General Manager and CEO of Saddleback Mountain. “The money we invested in getting the mountain back on its feet last summer set us up for a successful reopening. The support of CEI will allow us to continue to move ahead with our ambitious plans for the region including employee housing, greater access to health and wellness care, year-round benefits for seasonal workers and greater access to childcare.”
The Saddleback revitalization is expected to create more than 200 full-time and part-time jobs. The 48 full-time jobs will offer living wages, good benefit packages and job training and advancement opportunities. Approximately 154 part-time and seasonal positions will offer starting wages at $12.50 per hour and provide access to a special benefits package that includes paid and unpaid leave, reimbursement of medical costs and free Teladoc Health medical consultations.
In order to attract and retain employees in Rangeley, Arctaris is committed to supporting a community benefits agreement proposed by CEI Capital Management as part of the investment, including job creation and benefits, establishing a day care facility at the resort, and broadband improvement resources.
In addition to creating jobs, Saddleback is expected to generate visitor spending exceeding $6 million per year, benefitting area small businesses, diversifying the local economy and increasing tax revenues.
Additional financing for the Project includes $1 million direct loan from the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), a loan guarantee up to $2.5 million from FAME, $1 million loan from Maine Rural Development Authority, various grants and donations from local and regional foundations, and equity and debt investments by Arctaris and other capital providers.
Unless otherwise noted, all jobs and impact data contained herein is taken directly from the Transactional Level Reports submitted by CCML to the US Treasury’s CDFI Fund. All jobs data is reported by the project Borrower and is not independently verified by CCML.
- $38MM Total Project
- $1.49MM Maine New Markets Capital Investment Tax Credit financing
- Closed April 2021
- Creation of 48 full-time jobs
- Creation of 154 part-time or seasonal jobs
- Brings back an estimated $6MM in annual vistor spending to the region
- Establishing a day care facility at resort for employees
- Investments in improving broadband access for the community
NEW MARKETS PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY
- Non-metropolitian county
- Unemployment Rate 3.9%
- Poverty Rate 9.6%
- Income as a percent of Area Median Income: 76.1%
About CEI Capital Management LLC
CEI Capital Management LLC creates and preserves jobs and improves quality of life in rural communities with low incomes by providing access to project capital through the federal New Markets Tax Credit and Maine New Markets Capital Investment Tax Credit programs. Since 2004, CEI Capital Management has placed over $1.02 billion in 96 different projects across the U.S. In addition to fiscal soundness, CEI Capital Management evaluates each project according to its benefit to the local community, economic gain and positive impact on the environment.
CCML is a wholly owned subsidiary of CEI, the Maine-based nonprofit community development financial institution which was among the founders of this important federal economic development program.
CCML is an equal opportunity provider.