“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.”-Perry Williams of Big Lake Development LLC and Stephen Jones of Treadwell Franklin Infrastructure Capital
The developers who were planning to transform Big Squaw Mountain in Greenville, Maine are withdrawing from the deal completely. The Bangor Daily News reports that the developers that were aiming to expand Big Squaw Mountain announced to the Eastern Maine Development Corporation, that they’re dropping out of the project. This follows them getting the necessary permits in September to begin work on the various projects.
The reasoning for them was the inability to reach a sale agreement with the current owner, James Confalone, who would only sell it to them under extremely costly conditions. Confalone is being ordered to pay more than $4.5 million to the state of Maine due to damages made to the property, but he is appealing the decision. Some other factors included delays in getting public hearings scheduled, along with economic factors like inflation, supply chain shortages, and increased construction costs.
Some planned additions were a sixty-three-room hotel, a new base lodge, a detachable chairlift to the summit, a zip-line tour, a taphouse and restaurant, major snowmaking upgrades, and more. An outdoor center was initially planned but was eventually removed from the proposals. The plans for the new infrastructure, jobs, and returning the ski resort to its former two-peak glory, appear to be on hold as they wait for a new developer to step in.
The land has been owned by James Confalone since 1995. The upper mountain has seen no investment since the chairlift broke in 2004, and the lower mountain is now leased to and operated by the Friends of the Mountain non-profit organization. Friends of the Mountain has done a great job in keeping the mountain open under challenging circumstances, but it clearly needs more investment. Also, James Confalone has refused to change the name of the mountain, in spite of most of the country now deeming the word squaw as offensive.
Rather than fixing the issues, Confalone has illegally harvested timber on 169 acres to pay off millions in loans. This illegal timber harvesting, along with failing to maintain the property, is what caused the lawsuit which will likely have Confalone pay more than $4.5 million in damages. Hopefully, Canfalone’s appeal gets rejected, he finally sells it, and one of the community’s most important assets can grow.