MILLINOCKET, Maine — None of it is happening as quickly as he would like, but the smallest portion of Matthew Polstein’s proposed $65 million ecotourism resort, a $2.4 million upgrade to his Twin Pines Camps development on Millinocket Lake, is under way.
On Wednesday, crews from Bowman Bros. Inc. of Newport were working on two of 10 cabins being built or renovated under Polstein’s plan for the resort in nearby Township 1, Range 8. And carpenters from his New England Outdoors Center were finishing the exterior of a new office building at the snowmobile and whitewa-ter rafting resort.
Work on those began earlier this month, after several concrete slabs for them were poured last fall, said Sam Morrison, a carpentry foreman for the center.
Construction permit applications for a proposed 80-room hotel and 21 family lodges, part of the proposed Ktaadn Resorts, are ready for Land Use Regulation Commission review, but Polstein doubts that LURC officials will see them anytime soon.
The $65 million project’s lack of financing is its biggest delay.
“It’s hard to say when they will see it,” Polstein said Wednesday. “We are watching the business and investment climate very carefully, and we will time the submission with that.”
Given that LURC permits run two years, the time it would take to build the hotel and lodges, it makes little sense to get permits without financing in place, he said.
Securing financing for the $2.4 million upgrade was difficult despite this winter’s almost unprecedentedly successful snowmobiling season, Polstein said. So much snow fell this season that even now, trail conditions are little short of remarkable, given the time of year.
“We have almost equaled last year, which was the best year we have ever had,” Polstein said. “Thank God for all that snow.”
The Twin Pines Camps buildings are being built to environmental specifications with several local subcontractors complementing the efforts of Bowman Bros., the project’s general contractor, Bowman workers said. Polstein hopes to have all the buildings earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certifi-cation, he said.
The buildings feature structural insulated panels — large blocks of polystyrene encased in oriented strand board — to help ensure air- and heat-tight conditions, Polstein said. Cellulose made from recycled newsprint fills the walls, and heat recovery ventilation systems guarantee proper air quality within the buildings, which are propane-heated and have metal roofs.
All forms of caulking, paint, wood finish, furniture and plumbing within the buildings are certified environmentally friendly by several organizations, including the Forest Stewardship Council.
Finding builders who could meet those specs was sometimes difficult, Polstein said, but one subcontractor, Ron Preo of Michael J. Brown Cabinet Makers of Millinocket, found it easy to do so.
“It’s given us the opportunity for us to complete one of these ‘green’ projects,” said Preo, whose firm is building 10 kitchens for Twin Pines. “I was expecting it to be a lot more costly than it was. It’s not expensive for us to build ‘green.’”
Brown, Rioux Electric of Medway, plumber Michael Pooler of East Millinocket and Tolman Construction of Mattawamkeag are among the project’s local subcontractors. Porter Drywall of Portland is installing walls. Moosehead Furniture of Newport and artisan Carl Ambrose of Millinocket are providing furnishings as part of Polstein’s desire to employ local contractors and create a uniquely Maine atmosphere.
“We could have gotten ‘green’ furniture out of Malaysia for 30 percent less, but we want wood grown out of Maine,” Polstein said.
“The work has given us a chance to make it through the winter,” Preo said. “Times are tough, and this has definitely helped.”