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Sugarbush presents redevelopment plan at MRVPD

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12/23/2008

By Kara Herlihy

Sugarbush Resort owner Win Smith and development director Jason Lisai presented plans for the redevelopment of the Lincoln Peak base area to members of the Mad River Valley Planning District Steering Committee at their December 18 meeting.

The ongoing development of Sugarbush Village comes in the form of a two-phase two- to three-building construction project to accommodate skier services and provide more residential space.

THREE BUILDINGS

Encompassed within the proposed buildings will be the children's and adult ski school, the rental shop, and a Discovery Center building. The three buildings total 32,000 square feet.

The children's ski school building is proposed at three stories with 14,000 square feet, of which 4,600 will be reserved for residential space. The adult ski school and rental shop building is planned for 12,000 square feet and two stories housing ticket and season pass offices, staff lockers, repair shop and retail space.

ENTER AND EXIT

Smith said the ski school will be level with the slopes, allowing children to enter and exit the building onto the snow without any additional grade or stairs to climb. The change in grade will "allow access to the slopes as well as provide a safe teaching zone," according to Smith.

The Discovery Center will be a two-story 1,100-square-foot building containing real estate information and general resort information. Lisai emphasized the need to blend the building's aesthetics with Clay Brook and the rest of the resort schematic.

Infrastructure needed for the construction project is already in place. Additional parking will be required, according to Lisai, and is preliminarily planned for underground.

LOCAL AND STATE

The project requires local and state approval; the first application is required to amend the 2005 permits for a family center at Lincoln Peak. Lisai said phasing and construction will greatly depend on the market and fluctuating economy.

The application is for between 60 to 78 units but will most likely result in approximately 62 units, according to Lisai. The 2005 permits allowed the resort to construct a 45,000-square-foot skier services building, a 39-unit building and the relocating and replacement of the Village lift and surface lifts.

SKIER VISITS

Smith said Sugarbush needs 330,000 skier visits each year to be sustainable but would ideally like to see that number reach 360,000. The redevelopment project will increase Sugarbush's carrying capacity and connect the old village with the new village, according to Smith.

Currently Sugarbush is ranked third in <MI>Ski Magazine<D>, a rating Smith says is based upon accommodations and amenities more than terrain. Smith said that the Gate House will no longer accommodate all of the resort's needs and the redevelopment will help Sugarbush remain a leader among other resorts, both on the east and west coasts.

Development representatives have had preliminary review with the Warren Development Review Board and will return to the DRB in January. Smith said they are ready to submit their application to Act 250 and hopefully have the first phase of construction complete by December 2009.

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