Appraisal 'acceptable' for loan closing

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DEERFIELD VALLEY — Early snowfall and an appraisal that came in at an "acceptable" value were welcomed by Hermitage Club President Harper Sibley, who has been talking about a loan of about $25 million to $30 million to reopen the company's private ski resort at Haystack Mountain.

The Hermitage is "now working to close this loan the week of Nov. 26," he wrote Saturday to club members. "At this point we need to finalize the title insurance commitment, closing payables and final adjustments. We will be working the following days non-stop including weekends to close this loan on time."

After a foreclosure spanning several properties including the ski resort and the Vermont Department of Taxes shut down Hermitage establishments for lack of tax payments, the company has been trying to come up with a way to reopen by restructuring. The hope now is to have the Clubhouse base lodge and Hermitage Inn open for members this winter. Sibley said an opening for the holidays cannot be guaranteed at this time.

A lift mechanic has begun working with mountain operations manager Aaron Sherritt on lift inspections.

"Early reports indicate The Witches will be able to be reviewed for state inspection and the Stags Leap lift will require some electrical repair due to mice but should also be available for inspection in December," Sibley wrote. "This week they started to assess the Barnstormer Lift."

Sibley said the company had meetings over the weekend "to finalize proceeds and uses from the projected closing, the operating budget, season schedule, member amenities, dues expectations and rates."

"We're cognizant of the fact we didn't provide for a summer season and are looking at our budget in fine detail to address the dues structure," he wrote.

The plan is to provide members with a detailed summary before Thanksgiving.

"We know that everyone wants to know whether the mountain will be open for Christmas," Sibley wrote. "Until then, continue whatever snow dance you may be doing to bring this early snow ..."

On Monday, he told the Reformer the Hermitage has started hiring again.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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