Developers behind a massive development project in the Moosehead Lake region halted their plans after they said they failed to come to terms with the property’s owner.
The team working to redevelop a partially defunct ski resort in Piscataquis County sent a letter on Wednesday informing Eastern Maine Development Corporation leaders they were not moving forward with the $126.3 million project.
The decision plunged into chaos plans for a resort that aimed to reshape the region with hundreds of jobs and a much-needed economic boost to one of Maine’s poorest counties, and comes just two months after the project won a key state permit.
“The current owner of the property is pursuing legal action against the State of Maine and will only contemplate renewed options with our team at too-costly terms,” said developers Perry Williams of Big Lake Development LLC and Stephen Jones of Treadwell Franklin Infrastructure Capital.
They no longer have a clear path to acquiring the property, Williams and Jones said. They suggested another developer could step in with a smaller project or a new vision for the resort.
James Confalone of New Hampshire, who owns the land, has appealed a Kennebec County Superior Court justice’s ruling in favor of the state that ordered him to pay more than $4.5 million in damages. The appeal was heard Oct. 6, and as of Thursday, the court had not issued a decision, according to Danna Hayes, special assistant to the state Attorney General.
Treadwell Franklin will work with the Eastern Maine Development Corporation to repay a $385,000 loan it provided to the developers in December 2020, the letter said.
Progress has slowed due to delays with getting a public hearing scheduled and current economic conditions, but the development team is still pursuing the project and moving forward slowly, Williams said Wednesday.
“It’s a fluid process and takes time,” he said. “Much longer than we would like, but that’s the reality of the market.”
Williams would not comment further or clarify whether the project was killed or only suspended.
Stacie Beyer, acting executive director of the Land Use Planning Commission, said Wednesday that staff have not heard from the developer about the status of the project since approving the development permit in September, which is valid for two years.
The ski resort would include a detachable chairlift to the top of the mountain, base lodge that could function as a conference center, 63-room hotel, taphouse and restaurant, a zip-line tour ride and more, Williams said during a June public hearing in Greenville.
Williams applied for the permit in March 2021 and had extended a purchase and sale agreement with Confalone a number of times.