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Updated: February 16, 2023

Real Estate Insider notebook: Sugarloaf starts expansion; Loring Commerce Centre inks deal

Courtesy / Sugarloaf Work is starting on Sugarloaf’s major West Mountain expansion, which will increase the resort's skiable acreage by 10%. Logging is already underway for new lift and an additional 12 alpine trails covering 120 acres.

Sugarloaf is starting work on what is being called the most significant development project at the ski resort since the mid-1990s.

Work is starting on Sugarloaf’s major West Mountain expansion, which will increase the resort's skiable acreage by 10%. Logging is already underway for new lift and an additional 12 alpine trails covering 120 acres.

Estimated cost of the expansion is $104 million. 

The ski area, which is owned by Michigan-based Boyne Resorts, has received a provisional notification from the Army Corps of Engineers to start logging on the 450-acre West Mountain expansion. It has also received approvals from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The added trails will be served by a new Bucksaw Express high-speed chairlift. The quad lift will transport skiers and snowboarders from the base near West Mountain Road up to Bullwinkle’s Restaurant.

It will be ready by the latter half of the 2023-24 season.

Karl Strand, Sugarloaf’s GM, calls it “a transformative project.”

“This is the most significant development project at Sugarloaf since the SuperQuad was built in the mid-1990s,” said Strand.

Courstesy / Sugarloaf
The high-speed Bucksaw Express lift will be built at Sugarloaf's West Mountain expansion.



For ski areas, there’s a growing premium on getting people to the top in an efficient way.

The Bucksaw Express, from the Austrian company Doppelmayr, will be a high-speed detachable quad that will span 6,574 feet and rise 1,433 vertical feet. It will feature a 775 horsepower engine with an expected operating speed of 1,000 feet per minute, and serve a capacity of 2,400 skiers per hour. Estimated ride time on the new lift is 6 minutes and 53 seconds.

The new trails will mix beginner and intermediate terrain. In all, the West Mountain will have some 300 acres of developed trails and glades.

Work on the new trails will start this winter and go into summer. Snowmaking infrastructure will be installed on a majority of the new trails this summer, with the remaining snowmaking infrastructure to be installed in summer 2024, Sugarloaf said.

The expansion wouldn't be complete without housing.

The project approvals also clear the way for residential real estate development on West Mountain, and the resort expects to begin the sales process of the first residential lots in early 2023. The new development will represent the first opportunity for buyers to design their own ski-in/ski-out home at Sugarloaf in nearly 20 years.

Development could include up to 224 new housing units, with a mix of single-family lots, duplex townhomes and condos.

West Mountain real estate will be developed and listed exclusively by Mountainside Real Estate, which is the official real estate agency of Sugarloaf.

Cash only, please

A report by Redfin shows that some 31% of U.S. home deals in December were made with cash, up from 28.8% a year earlier but down a notch from the peak in November of 31.9%.

When it comes to home deals, cash is king 31% of the time.

“Buyers who can afford to pay cash are motivated to do so because it means they don’t need to pay high interest on a loan,” Redfin reports.

Overall, the most likely cash buyers are in Florida, where some markets report nearly half of the home deals are in cash, and least common in California, where the stat is closer to 20% in major markets. 

Deal for Loring assets

A deal at the Loring Commerce Centre will include 1 million square feet of space for commercial, manufacturing and warehouse uses.

Green 4 Maine LLC has acquired hundreds of acres at Loring, including properties that can be converted for a range of uses. 

The deal is part of a long-term acquisition and development plan that aims to advance redevelopment efforts at the former U.S. Air Force base.                                                                       

The plan calls for a business and commercial center and rehab of 600 units of former military housing.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to invest in this historic property and keep this property under Maine-based ownership. Redeveloping these buildings will bring desirable jobs, foster economic development and drive significant investment to northern Maine,” said Scott Hinkel, Green 4 Maine’s founder and managing director. “With turn-key commercial space and robust infrastructure, there is tremendous opportunity to revitalize this vastly under-utilized asset.”

Initial plans call for: 

  • A technology incubator
  • Centers of Excellence in Advanced Applied AI Technology initiatives
  • Agricultural farming hub
  • Renewable green energy development and manufacturing assembly
  • Affordable workforce housing known as the Green Villages 
  • Advanced precision, additive manufacturing and LSAM (Large Scale Additive Manufacturing)
  • Aerospace initiatives promoting an air cargo distribution hub presence
  • Integrated alignment supporting a national space center complex
  • University educational hub
  • Year-round entertainment, conventions and outdoor recreational events

“The Green 4 Maine team will enhance our redevelopment efforts. We look forward to working with them,” said Carl Flora, president & CEO of Loring Development Authority.

The acquired parcel includes several active businesses, including SFE Manufacturing, Novel Energy Solutions, Dirigo Solar, Guerrette Farms, First Cut Hay LLC, S.W. Collins Co. and others.  

aerial of land and buildings
Courtesy / Loring Development Authority, SHL Enterprise Solutions
Loring Commerce Centre in Limestone

Portions of Loring are home to two large federal tenants: the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and the Loring Job Corps Center, as well as the Limestone Country Club and the Bunker Inn. 

The Loring Commerce Centre has commercial, industrial and aviation space. Some 25 businesses are based there, with more than 750 employees. The former air base has 3,800 acres of developed area and 900,000 square feet of vacant or underused space.   

Women in Construction Week

Women in Construction Week is March 5-11.

More details from the National Association of Women in Construction, whose board includes Heather Groves from Cole River Consultants LLC in Winthrop.


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