DUMMERSTON — A spokesman for Sugar Mountain Holdings told the Reformer he is excited to have purchased the long-closed Maple Valley Ski Area, but is staying tight-lipped about what the plans are for the
"Maple Valley is a property with deep roots in the community, and in this regard, we are continuing to work with local service providers and professional organizations, including the [Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation], to develop our vision for the former ski mountain," wrote Keane Aures in an email to the Reformer. "Our main objective is to take what is effectively an abandoned and shuttered property and return it to prominence as a source of community pride and involvement. However, at this time, we are not announcing any specific timelines or uses as we continue to explore how best to implement our business plan and complete necessary permitting cycles."
According to the Vermont Secretary of State's Office, Sugar Mountain Holdings, which is based in Weatogue, Conn., is "member managed." Aures, who is listed as a member on the filing, is the only person mentioned. Aures is the senior counsel in the Hartford office of the law firm of Gordon & Rees and specializes in construction law.
"With our own family connection to Southern Vermont, we fell in love with this property many years ago, and we are excited to now be a part of the next chapter of this storied piece of Vermont ski history," wrote Aures in the email.
Aures' aunt and uncle, Bill and Patti Pusey, own and operate Shearer Hill Farm Bed and Breakfast, which is five miles from the center of Wilmington on Shearer Hill Road.
While Aures wrote that Sugar Mountain Holdings isn't ready to divulge its plans for the property, it hopes to conduct "open communications with our new neighbors and community. We look forward to a partnership with the town of Dummerston, its leaders, and the greater Brattleboro community, and we hope to create a place where this community can come together and enjoy this spectacular setting."
The sale was completed on May 23.
Andy Reed, of The Vermont Sales Group with Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty in Manchester, said his team, which previously listed the property for sale, worked with the buyer as their agent for a year leading up to the transaction to secure the sale. Better Homes and Gardens The Masiello Group in Brattleboro represented the former owner of the property.
Maple Valley Ski Area on Route 30 has sat empty for the past 18 years. The property is assessed at $1,477,300. Sugar Mountain purchased the property from MVS Associates for $745,000.
In 2011, MVS Associates, based in Stamford, Conn., and represented by Nicholas Mercede, proposed a four-season resort at the former ski area. In addition to skiing, Mercede proposed a long list of possible activities including mountain biking, hiking, paint ball, foliage viewing, archery camps, antique car shows, dances and movies.
However, the Dummerston Development Review Board ruled the application did not have enough details for it to make a decision. In 2013, Mercede returned to the DRB with a revised application, but he was met with resistance from neighbors who were concerned about noise and lighting.
Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 151, or firstname.lastname@example.org.