Expansion of ecotourist resort kicks off with $2M remodeling

Posted Aug. 22, 2008, at 9:29 p.m.

TOWNSHIP 1 RANGE 8 — The most modest of many steps toward the construction of Millinocket businessman Matthew Polstein’s proposed $65 million ecotourist resort began this week with an almost $2 million remodeling of his Twin Pine Camps, officials said Friday.

The Land Use Regulation Commission issued Polstein’s Twin Pines Camps LLC a development permit Monday allowing him to add nine new cabins, renovate a cabin and remove one in favor of an office, said Scott Rollins, LURC’s Permitting and Compliance Division manager.

“What this does is essentially changes the Twin Pines from the sporting camp there now to a commercial use a little different than a sporting camp,” Rollins said Friday.

Polstein also is razing a hangar, cold storage building, storage woodshed or maintenance building as part of his plan, Rollins said. Polstein said that work did not need a development permit.

“This will essentially double the capacity of Twin Pines,” Polstein said Friday.

The construction itself will cost about $1.5 million with supplemental costs pushing the bottom line to almost $2 million, Polstein said.

Bion Tolman of Tolman Construction of Mattawamkeag began pouring concrete for one building foundation as soon as the permit was issued, Polstein said. The entire 11-building job should take about a year. The permit application was filed March 19.

Other work under way includes a library with attached sauna; 23 kilometers, or about 14 miles, of cross-country skiing trails designed by two-time winter Olympian John Morton of Vermont; and a ski center for skating and classic skiing, Polstein said.

His company begins the mammoth resort work with the Twin Pines expansion because it’s the easiest, and least expensive, aspect of his venture, Polstein has said. He had hoped to start the Twin Pines work in June and finish next spring with the trails and ski center ready for use by fall 2008.

Polstein still is working to raise the $30 million to $35 million required for the next Ktaadn Resorts phase, which includes a large hotel and several family lodges.

Besides the Twin Pines expansion, his plans call for a community center and a residential and mixed-use subdivision totaling 35 residential lots and 12 mixed-use town houses on 1,450 acres of the township along Millinocket Lake.

Polstein estimates it would create at least 100 full-time jobs, spur at least 60,000 visitor-days in the Katahdin region, or draw 17,000 tourists to his resort for about 3½ days each.

Construction and opening of the hotel and other major facilities is expected to take several years. LURC unanimously approved rezoning 244 acres for the resort in June 2006.

Polstein is a Millinocket Town Council member, restaurant owner and outdoor recreation entrepreneur.

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