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Brayshaw: Powder Ridge Deal Off

Middlefield First Selectman says Alpine Ridge LLC has pulled out of the $1 million deal to buy the defunct ski area.

The deal is off.

On Tuesday evening, Middlefield First Selectman Jon Brayshaw delivered the sudden news that Alpine Ridge LLC, of Fairfield, PA, had pulled out of the deal to buy Powder Ridge ski area from the town for $1 million.

The announcement came after the board of selectmen met in executive session during a two-hour special meeting Tuesday afternoon.

"We're disappointed," said Brayshaw, who would not comment further.

The town did release the following statement:

"On Oct. 20, 2011 Alpine Ridge, LLC informed the board of selectman that it would not perform its agreement to buy Powder Ridge Ski Resort. Alpine Ridge's letter came as a great surprise to the board of selectman. Town officials had worked for months with Alpine Ridge to prepare for the closing. During that time Alpine Ridge gave no indication that it would not perform. The town satisfied or was prepared to satisfy every contract requirement within its power. Alpine Ridge's continuing failure to provide engineering plans for the intake facility and pump station prevented the town from obtaining an easement from the state to pump water from Lake Beseck to Powder Ridge.

The board of selectman is deeply disappointed with Alpine Ridge's unexpected decision. the town must now consider its options with respect to Powder Ridge in general as well as Alpine Ridge's refusal to perform in particular."

In May, voters the sales agreement which would have required Alpine to invest an additional $2 million in the property, as well as offer downhill skiing by Dec. 31, 2013.

But the deal, which would have created an estimated 200 jobs, was held up in recent months as both sides awaited approval of a water diversion permit — needed to withdraw water from Lake Beseck to use for snowmaking — from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

A closing date on the property, originally scheduled for Aug. 1, had been delayed three times. It was for Nov. 30.

In March, the town received . According to the agreement, the money was set aside during a 90-day due diligence period during which time either side could pull out of the deal and the payment would be refunded.

Today, Brayshaw would not comment on whether Alpine was attempting to get the money back.

Alpine President Dennis Abplanalp could not be reached for comment.

clayton October 25, 2011 at 11:54 PM
Im very suprised that Alpine Ridge pulled out of the deal. IT had looked like a done deal to me.This is life so just get on with business at hand. Also I do not see any reason not to give Alpine Ridge there money back unless there is a stipulation in the contract they signed.
Sheila October 26, 2011 at 01:05 AM
There is one reason and one reason only why this deal fell through. Despite the hard work of Jon Brayshaw, Ed Bailey Mary Johnson and Dave Lowry, Alpine decided Connecticut was just too unbusiness friendly. This past legislative session, our own state representative Matt Lesser voted to raise the taxes on business (including new business), voted to raise the business entity tax (a secondary business fee all businesses have to pay annually) and voted to require businesses to provide mandatory sick time to all employees (even to new businesses in their first five years--Lesser refused to join others in agreeing to this compromise so new businesses could have less start up costs). As a result we are left with an unbusiness friendly climate along with an increased state income tax and an increased sales tax (and increased government spending) Please remember this Matt Lesser and his tax and spend, anti-business policies next election. Sheila, Middlefield
Michael October 26, 2011 at 01:18 AM
Sheila, I agree, Lesser did blow this deal big time. The entire legislative session I continually reminded him to stop being so tough on business, especially new businesses. He didn't listen and voted in the manner you mentioned above, by increasing taxes to increase government spending. Lesser has proved himself extremely ineffective. Mike, Middlefield resident since 1975 and supporter of Powder Ridge
n October 26, 2011 at 01:46 AM
The town should give Powder Ridge back to the previous owners! They were willing to commit to staying in town & making it work. I heard they still live there. They clearly have the ability to run a ski resort. The town can't blame Matt Lesser for any of this. The weather in CT does not always create a money producing environment for a ski area. The town should have allowed the former owners to expand into the summer months. This would have created year round jobs,as well as, steady tax monies to the town. Do the right thing.....
MiddlefieldMom October 26, 2011 at 03:04 AM
This fault here is clearly with Matt Lesser and the rest of the legislators who supported such an anti-business climate in state government. Connecticut is the most restrictive state with the highest taxes. And it is true that Matt Lesser voted to increase taxes on small business and double the business entity fee. No wonder why business aren't coming here and there are no jobs. I am embarrassed to say I once voted for Lesser---never again!
Jlb2364 October 26, 2011 at 12:13 PM
I'm not surprised at all. who'd want to open biz in CT with the anti-biz climate of the current administration in Hartford...I don;t blame them and this is really no big surprise as I kept reading delay after delay after delay. I hope they have a financial loss for the final pull out - maybe the town can recover some costs of this failed transaction.
Kimberly Schmaltz October 26, 2011 at 12:32 PM
This is a shame all around, it isn't that shocking since Connecticut has become an unattactive place to start a business, This problem lies with our current administration and especially with our State Rep, Matt Lesser, who is only concerned with how high he can climb on the political ladder. He is not concerned with what is best for Middlefield or any of it's residents. It's a sad day, though, I grew up in MIddlefield and remember Powder Ridge during it's prime and was looking forward to having it back with skiing, tubing, a lodge, all of which would have generated additional seasonal local jobs for our teenagers and additional tax revenue for the town.
Ellen October 26, 2011 at 01:06 PM
Listen to Senator Len Suzio! He opposed all of these things that have passed and were supported by Lesser, making our state one of the worse to do business in. Thank you Senator Suzio for standing up for the citizens of CT & thinking like a business would think! We need to cut spending & stop raising taxes. Let's hope a new buyer will come forward so we can get the ski slope open! Thank you also to Jon Brayshaw and others in the Town of Middlefield that worked so hard on this & will continue to work hard in the future.
Ex Republican October 26, 2011 at 02:11 PM
It's clearly George Bush's fault. Just ask Obama.
Larry October 26, 2011 at 02:16 PM
I hate to lay blame, but Mr. Lesser really messed this one up big time. All legislative session he voted to raise business taxes, raise small business taxes, raise (actually double) the business entity tax and increase regulations on business. Can we really blame a company for going elsewhere? Even though I am usually a non-political person I even reached out to Mr. lesser at the beginning of the legislative session and asked him to consider being more business freindly...he clearly didn't listen and voted the way he did. With all due respect, Mr. lesser seems a bit overwhelmed by being a legislator. He dropped out of college, has never had a job and now makes major decisions that are negatively hurting our communtiy. His lack of real world experience is eye-popping. Larry, registered Independent and Middlefield resident
Trisha October 26, 2011 at 02:27 PM
Not surprising given the current financial conditions and anti-business climate in CT. No one has worked harder than Jon Brayshaw to try to bring this deal to closure. Thank you Jon, Ed, Dave, Mary and others in the Town that have worked so hard on this. Keep on trying....It's not as simple as some people think.
Ellen Waff October 26, 2011 at 03:04 PM
Quit the finger-pointing and get busy to keep Powder Ridge a ski area for the children, and their children! Political agendas serve no one right now. Middlefield needs to finish the water diversion permitting process, and look for another operator. Twice the town voted overwhelmingly to have a ski area. If we want one, we need to facilitate acquiring one. Just do it!
Russ Parmelee October 26, 2011 at 06:06 PM
Sad, sad, sad....I grew up in Middlefield and worked at what was then called 'Powder Hill Ski Area' as a teenager when it first went into operation. It put Middlefield on the map as recreation destination. I believe the town acted in good faith and was blind-sided by Alpine Ridge's lack of resolve in completing its side of the bargin. Unfortunately it's a sign of the times when individuals and entities no longer have the integrity to follow through on things promised. There should be no return of deposit monies...a small penalty for the agony the town went through. Russ (now living in Durham)
Ken Leavitt October 27, 2011 at 01:27 PM
The type of organized lying, and character assassination (exemplified in the foregoing comments) by members of the community, had a million times more devastating effect on Powder Ridge than the economy or the state.
Dan October 27, 2011 at 02:26 PM
I'm pretty sure it all comes down on the owner..Mr Leavitt
Dwight Needels October 27, 2011 at 04:07 PM
Let's see… no state income tax as an LLC (a pass-through entity) and a business entity tax of $250. The $25,000 deposit they have already paid would cover their total tax burden at the current elevated rate for 100 years. Paid sick leave is mandated only if they have more than 50 employees, applies only to certain hourly service workers, and is limited to at most 40 hours per employee per year. Moreover, employees have to work close to full time to accrue even that much, and most people who work at companies with paid sick leave use only a fraction of what they have accrued. Given these realities, mandated paid sick leave would likely have contributed a fraction of a percent to their million dollar payroll costs if they had hired more than 50 people, and nothing if they hired fewer. Regardless of how unhappy you are with recent legislative changes, this cannot possibly be the reason that Alpine Ridge, LLC has decided to bail on their $1 million purchase and promise to invest $2 million. It is much more likely that they are worried about not finding enough paying customers. Dwight, a former Middlefield small business owner, with an office right down the hill from Powder Ridge.
Dan October 27, 2011 at 07:52 PM
"The type of organized lying, and character assassination (exemplified in the foregoing comments) by members of the community, had a million times more devastating effect on Powder Ridge than the economy or the state" he's stating it is the communities fault for Power Ridge's downfall
Mike Butler October 30, 2011 at 06:55 PM
Well, the taxes and regulations that Alpine must endure as a business if they were to set up shop at Powder Ridge are really just the tip of the iceberg. This state is the most cost-prohibitive and anti-business that can be found. These same taxes and regulations have forced many companies to flee the state or just close their doors, causing the loss of countless jobs. Unemployed people, or those who are worried about losing their jobs, are not going to spend money on leisure activities like skiing and snowboarding. These are the paying customers Dwight speaks of, and there is a severe shortage of them. The general recession in this country exacerbates it, but let's face it, Connecticut is the worst place in the country to do business, especially as a startup, and plenty of other regions are flourishing without the crazy taxes and anti-business climate to stifle growth and jobs. And it is sheer hypocrisy for a legislator who has constantly favored higher taxes and other job-killing measures to be fingerpointing at the first selectman for political reasons.

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