The reserve at Norton Pond property up for sale

Posted Feb. 11, 2011, at 5:07 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 11, 2011, at 8:57 p.m.

BROWNVILLE, Maine — The more than 3,000 acres in Brownville that had been proposed for a megaresort called The Reserve at Norton Pond are up for sale for $1,650,000.

Jim Dennehy, president of WHG Development LLC of California, had been working for several years on plans to build a $500 million high-end resort on the property in the Schoodic and Ebeemee lakes region, but when the economy took a dive in recent years so did his financial situation.

Dennehy failed to meet his mortgage obligations, so his lender, Philadelphia-based Great Oak Capital LLC, foreclosed on the property in August.

“It’s a loan that went bad,” Brad Sinrod, one of the principals of Great Oak Capital, said Thursday. Sinrod said his company had worked with Dennehy to find a solution and had granted him more than one extension before the foreclosure was executed.

Great Oak Capital is a private lender that helps bridge the short-term financial needs of business owners and real estate investors and is not a bank, according to Sinrod.

Dennehy and his Maine representative could not be reached for comment.

Dennehy told the Brownville Planning Board last March that the poor economy had made the process difficult and lengthier, but that he was still forging ahead.

“They’re working to try to reacquire the property,” Brownville Town Manager Sophia Wilson said of WHG this week. “We understand that WHG is very committed to making the reserve a reality and we are giving them the space that they need to attempt to reacquire the property.”

Sinrod said, however, there have been “no active” discussions with Dennehy to date.

Plenty of interest has been expressed by others in the 3,438-acre parcel, which wholly encompasses Norton Pond, he said. Those interested include conservation and development groups, he noted.

Wilson said that should Dennehy regain title to the land, he would have to reapply for a subdivision application. The town had approved several extensions to give him time to submit his final plan for the resort.

Because Dennehy no longer has a legal interest in the property, all of WHG’s previous applications to the town have been scrapped. Wilson noted, however, that it would not be a huge hurdle for WHG to resubmit an application because the town’s ordinances have not changed.

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