Proposed resort land up for sale

Posted Feb. 05, 2010, at 6:48 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:05 p.m.

BROWNVILLE, Maine — The holder of a mortgage on more than 3,000 acres in Brownville where a megaresort called The Reserve at Norton Pond is proposed has placed the property up for public sale next month.

According to a published legal notice, Great Oak Capital LLC is selling the property in the Schoodic and Ebeemee lakes region owned by WHG Development LLC of California for breach of the mortgage conditions it engaged in with the California company. The property will be sold to the highest bidder at 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 3, at the offices of Gross, Minsky & Mogul in Bangor.

Great Oak Capital is a commercial loan broker that helps “bridge” the short-term financial needs of business owners and real estate investors, according to the company’s Web site. The company provides loans of $100,000 and more.

While the public auction has been set, Jim Dennehy, president of WHG Development, said Friday he is working with the lender in an attempt to save the property he planned to develop into a $500 million high-end resort.

“It was the timing of aligning up the takeout financing and it will be worked out soon,” Dennehy said Friday through his spokeswoman, real estate agent Debbie White of Bangor. Once the financing has been ironed out, Dennehy plans to proceed with the project, according to White.

Town Manager Sophia Wilson said the legal notice was the first she had heard of the sale. She said the land for sale is the 3,715 acres owned by WHG in eastern Piscataquis County. The proposed development also included 270 privately owned adjacent acres that are not part of the sale, she said.

“I’m looking into the matter and I hope to have more information in the coming weeks,” Wilson said Friday.

Dennehy, who in 2005 proposed constructing a year-round resort featuring a four-star hotel, train station, a convention center, spa, golf school and golf course, restaurants and 400 time-share units over a 10-year period, has been working with town officials on his plan. He had completed a feasibility study and was working under an extension from the planning board for his final plan when the sale was announced this week.

WHG initially had six months to file a final plan with the town after preliminary approval was given for his subdivision request in September 2005. Needing more time for his complex project, Dennehy had asked for and received five extensions. Under the latest extension, the planning board’s preliminary approval was set to expire April 1, 2010.

The town has no authority to grant an extension, so the board simply reviewed the company’s documentation and provided Dennehy with preliminary approval to allow him more time.

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