When the $30 million renovation of the Balsams Grand Resort is complete it will look a lot like the old grand hotel but will feature much-needed modern amenities making it far nicer for guests and a lot cheaper to operate.
That’s how Dan Hebert, one of the two owners, described the renovation Tuesday night before the Coos County Planning Board.
Originally the complex had about 400,000 square feet.
Hebert said about 123,000 of that is being retained. About 80,000 square feet will be added.
Hebert says that a new biomass heating system will use wood from the Balsams. It will cost $100,000 a year to heat the complex compared to $1 million a year before.
Tuesday night the planning board gave its overall approval to the complex renovation even though the plans are incomplete.
In an unusual move the board agreed to have the plans scrutinized and given final approval as they are completed, with reviews from experts including the state fire marshal.
That strategy solved a serious problem for the owners who risked missing an April deadline to apply for federal tax credits and could not do so without an okay from the planning board.
After the meeting Hebert said there shouldn’t be any problem meeting that deadline and the funding for the project is almost complete.
“We’ve got a couple of financing pieces we’re working on, but we are very close.”
Once construction begins the project is expected to take about 18 months to finish.