Holiday reopening unlikely for Hermitage Club

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DEERFIELD VALLEY — An appraisal report coming back "unsatisfactory" has left the Hermitage Club doubtful now about opening for the holiday season.

"To be clear, we are not giving up on plans to open and believe a closing by mid-November will still allow us to open later, but I can't provide assurance and want you to know that now if you need to make alternative plans," Hermitage President Harper Sibley wrote Friday to members. "In addition, we remain in dialogue with the bank and the receiver for an agreement to operate the mountain despite the closing date being extended."

Berkshire Bank foreclosed several Hermitage properties in February including the members-only ski resort and base lodge known as the Clubhouse at Haystack Mountain. Judge John Treadwell appointed a receiver in May to preserve the properties until they are sold.

In letters from the company president, club members have been told about the prospect of a $30 million loan from an unnamed lender to reopen the ski resort.

"We have substantial resources employed to complete the requirements to refinance and close with the new loan," Sibley wrote Friday to members.

He said a title insurance company was accepted by legal counsel for both the lender and the Hermitage. He said a contractor is finalizing reports on 16 building inspections for a report to be prepared by Oct. 15 and environmental contractors will submit reports by the same day.

An appraisal report "was considered unsatisfactory to both the lender and the borrower which has resulted in hiring a second [Member of the Appraisal Institute] appraiser," Sibley wrote. "The second, mutually chosen appraiser will have report complete in no more than four weeks which extends the closing to November. We are confident the valuation will support our lending requirement. As a result of the appraisal delay, the lender has extended the loan commitment to Nov. 19."

Sibley said the delay sets back the reopening plan and he could not assure an opening by Christmastime. He told members the refinancing does not require any debt-equity conversion for club members, minimum dues collection, minimum member count or anything else for members.

"We have no plans to announce, invoice or request dues until we close the loan and can be assured on what we can offer for the season," he wrote. "We will keep you abreast of updates as we have them."

Reach staff writer Chris Mays

at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.

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