FAME Approves Additional Saddleback Financing

Also elects new board officers for 2020-2021

AUGUSTA — At its remote meeting held on November 19, the board of directors of the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) approved state new markets tax credit financing to benefit Arctaris Saddleback Company, LLC (“Arctaris”), the owner/operator of the Saddleback Ski Resort in Rangeley.

The board approved the issuance of a tax credit certificate related to $1,492,247 in investments through the Maine New Markets Capital Investment Program to help with financing the costs of capital improvements, construction, equipment procurement, and other related improvements at the ski resort. The certificate authorizes the issuance by the state of $581,976 in tax credits through the program.

The board also elected board officers for the year-long period running from now until November of 2021. Officers elected include: David Daigler, chair; Richard Trafton, Esq., vice chair; and Dustin Brooks, Treasurer. Daigler is the President of the Maine Community College System; Trafton is a partner with the law firm of Trafton, Matzen, Belleau & Frenette in Auburn. Brooks is the Assistant Vice President of Global Marketing at Unum, where he leads the market strategy function.

The board approved the Certification Application of PACESETTER CDE XL, LLC (“Pacesetter”) related to a $1,492,247.13 Qualified Equity Investment to be made by ARCTARIS IMPACT FUND, LP in Pacesetter, which will in turn be used by Pacesetter for a Qualified Low Income Community Investment of approximately $1,372,867 in Arctaris Saddleback Equipment Company, LLC or an affiliate thereof under the Maine New Markets Capital Investment Program. This is the second new markets investment by Arctaris Impact Fund, LP and Pacesetter in the Saddleback project. A prior investment totaling $1,326,441.90 was approved by the FAME Board at their March 2020 meeting.

FAME previously approved in January 2020 leveraged loan insurance of 17% (or $2.5 million) on a $14.1 million loan by Arctaris Impact Investors, LP to Arctaris, as well as a $1 million FAME Direct loan to Arctaris. In December of 2019, the Maine Rural Development Authority (MRDA) approved a $1 million loan to Arctaris Saddleback Company, LLC, as well.

FAME has administered the Maine New Markets Capital Investment Program since the Legislature created it in 2011. It does so in cooperation with Maine Revenue Services. The program is designed to attract investment in economically distressed areas of the state. It allows eligible investors to claim tax credits against state taxes in amounts up to 39 percent of a project’s total cost. The maximum aggregate amount of tax credit investment authority is set forth at $250 million, which equates to approximately $100 million of tax credits.

“FAME is pleased to help with additional financing for this important project, which will help Saddleback pay for the costs of equipment and construction associated with reopening and operating this season,” stated Dave Daigler, FAME Board chair. “We are happy to help re-start this beloved Maine ski mountain and to help stimulate year-round economic development in Rangeley and Western Maine.”

In addition to helping Arctaris purchase the mountain and resume operations at the ski resort, FAME’s financing is expected to benefit area business and help stimulate the local economy and increase tax revenues. The action is expected to help create seventy-one full-time jobs and one-hundred and thirty-four seasonal ones. Skiing at the mountain had been dormant for the past five seasons, but is resuming this season.

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. There are presently three 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.

Saddleback is in the process of making a number of improvements as part of their reopening plan, including construction of a new base lodge; the purchase and installation of a high-speed detachable quad lift; expanded snowmaking; a new grooming fleet; and increased four-season destination programs for weddings and summer outdoor recreations. Additional improvements are planned over the next several years.

“We remain grateful for the ongoing support of FAME. We are looking forward to Saddleback’s grand opening in mid-December and a great season of skiing and other recreation year-round,” stated Uche Osuji, Managing Director at Arctaris Impact Investors, LP.

Plans to open Saddleback have 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. To learn more about FAME, please visit www.famemaine.com

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.