Balsams development taking shape as ‘an all-season, true destination resort’

All permits in hand for first phase of 11,000-acre project
Balsams Plans

The vision for a new Balsams Resort is to be a crown jewel in the experience of outdoor enthusiasts north of Berlin and south of Quebec.

As described by Dixville Capital LLC spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne, The Balsams resort area totals approximately 11,000 sprawling acres. Dixville Capital’s principals are Ed Brisson and Les Otten.

Already on the site are the Hampshire House which is a taller structure, and the historic Dix House, a white clapboard and the original roadside hotel going back to the late 1800s.

There also is the old ski area, including three lifts, the Tillotson House, where entrepreneur and rubber company founder Neil Tillotson lived, the Hale House, which was once the culinary arts training center, the Captains Cottage, and the Panorama clubhouse. Not to be forgotten is the golf course, which is a world-renowned Donald Ross designed course.

All of the major permits required to move the resort’s first renovation phase forward have been received, said Tranchemontagne. That phase includes all of the improvements to the Hampshire House, Dix House and the Lake Gloriette House Hotel, conference center and associated amenities as well as the first phase of the ski area expansion. All told, the work will take more than $200 million to complete, said

Tranchemontagne, who added that securing and lining up financing remains a work in progress, he said.

Les Otten

Balsams developer Les Otten. (Photo by Chris Jensen)

Studies completed

Completion of a traffic study was one of the conditions set by the Coos County Planning Board at its March 15 meeting when the site plan was approved.

Officials with the state Department of Transportation approved the scope of the traffic study along with a review by the planning board. The traffic survey will be done at a future date.

All of the major permits required to proceed also are in hand, including site plan approvals for the proposed village area and phase one of the ski area expansion. “We also have received a Department of Environmental Services wetlands permit for the entire project, the lakeside village construction and amenities, and for the ski area expansion.

Most significantly, we worked collaboratively with the county and delegation this spring to create the tax assessment district,” the spokesman said.

“The fact that the county remains so supportive of The Balsams redevelopment speaks to the tremendous, positive impact our project will have on the region. While it’s a complicated project with a lot of moving parts that must come together at the same time, having their support is incredibly meaningful.”


Another part of the project will be future employee recruitment and retention plus workforce housing. The outlook is bright for full-and part-time workers.

According to an economic impact study, “initial renovation and expansion will support an increase in Coos County employment of 583 full- and part-time jobs. Once completed, the Balsams Resort is expected to create employment for more than 1,500.”

Finding housing for employees may not be as much of a challenge as in other parts of the state, Tranchemontagne said.

“Unlike areas in southern New Hampshire, the greater Colebrook area has a relatively high number of vacant homes and apartments. We believe that one of the ways the Balsams will stimulate the local economy is by attracting employees and their families who will buy or rent much of that housing stock. Our project will very likely stimulate new construction as well.”

Once complete, there will be many lodging options.

“As an all-season, true destination resort, the Balsams has proposed several hundred rooms that will be sold for ownership and also utilized as hotel rooms, not to mention a (totally) new hotel called the Lake Gloriette Hotel with a convention center,” Tranchemontagne said. “Visitors will have many options to stay on site, and most will stay for a longer period than just a day of skiing.”

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