January 27, 2020

FAME and MRDA Approve Saddleback Financing

205 (138 full-time equivalent) jobs are expected to be created in Rangeley Area
$30-$50 million in public benefit expected

AUGUSTA — At its meeting today, the board of directors of the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) approved leveraged loan insurance of 20% (or $2.5 million) on a $12.5 million loan by Arctaris Impact Investors, LP to Saddleback Community Loan Fund “(Arctaris”). FAME additionally approved a $1 million FAME Direct loan to Arctaris as part of the financing package, which totals $23.5 million. In December of 2019, the Maine Rural Development Authority (MRDA) approved a $1 million loan to Arctaris Saddleback Company, LLC, as well.

In addition to helping Arctaris, a national impact investment firm, to purchase the mountain and resume operations at the ski resort, the financing is expected to benefit area business and help stimulate the local economy. The action is expected to help create seventy-one full-time jobs and one-hundred and thirty-four seasonal ones. Skiing at the mountain has been dormant for the past five seasons.

FAME’s Commercial Loan Insurance Program insures a portion of a loan to a business made by a participating financial institution or investment firm. For a business, it may mean the difference between obtaining a loan or never getting the opportunity to start a business. FAME loan policy sets a maximum leveraged insurance guarantee of $2.5 million.

The FAME and MRDA funds will be used as part of a $23,509,000 funding package that includes private equity, New Market Tax Credits, community loans and community grants for the acquisition of the ski resort at Saddleback Mountain. After the business acquisition costs, the balance of funds will be used for renovations, as well as facility upgrades and new equipment, primarily lifts and snowmaking machines.

“We are pleased to help re-start this historic and beloved Maine ski mountain and to help stimulate economic development in Western Maine,” stated Bruce Wagner, Chief Executive Officer of FAME. “We know how important this mountain’s success is to the local population and economy, as well as to many others who love to recreate in all seasons in the Rangeley area.”

Saddleback Mountain offers a 2,000-foot vertical drop and is one of seven New England mountains with a top-lift elevation of over 4,000 feet. In terms of number of trails, Saddleback is the third-largest ski mountain in Maine and is first of the three mountains in Maine with over 2,000 feet of vertical drop (Sugarloaf and Sunday River are the others). There are presently five ski lifts and sixty-six trails on Saddleback. The mountain also has a highly regarded seven-acre terrain park, with plans to expand to over twenty acres by the 2020-2021 season.

“I am happy to be able to support the great work happening in the Rangeley area, led by community members,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. “Tourism is one of the top economic drivers in our state and we are excited to see that the revitalization of Saddleback will bring more visitors to this beautiful area. In addition, outdoor recreation is a vital part of Maine’s economy, as well as important for the public health of our communities.”

“Arctaris is grateful for the support of state and local financing partners. We plan to revitalize the mountain resort and provide 200 full-time and seasonal jobs, which will help stimulate the local economy and the state of Maine as a whole,” stated Jonathan Tower, Managing Partner of Arctaris Impact Fund, LP

Plans to open Saddleback has been a group effort. Arctaris has raised approximately $2 million in private donations from condominium owners, philanthropists, and the community at large.

The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) is a quasi-independent state agency that provides innovative financial solutions to help Maine citizens pursue business and educational opportunities. FAME helps to lead the creation of good-paying jobs for Maine citizens by working at the nexus between economic and workforce development.

The Maine Rural Development Authority (MRDA) was established by the Maine Legislature in 2002 to assist Maine communities in realizing their economic development goals. MRDA provides financial assistance to communities and their development partners to help develop speculative commercial and industrial buildings and to help develop/redevelop underutilized commercial industrial properties. The primary focus of MRDA’s activities is in the rural areas of Maine that have traditionally not experienced the same level of economic development success as other regions of the state, have experienced major economic losses such as plant closings and downsizings or are economically distressed. To learn more, please visit https://www.mainerda.org/laws-rules/

Arctaris Impact Investors, LP, is an Impact Investment fund manager providing capital to profitable, growth-oriented businesses in underserved regions throughout the United States, with emphasis on inner cities and targeted rural communities. Launched in 2009 and headquartered in Boston, Arctaris has partnered with state government agencies and the U.S. Treasury Department to form fund programs with primary emphasis on economic development and jobs creation.