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08-29-2006, 11:41 PM
Developer buys Loon land
Union Leader Correspondent

Lincoln ? The developers of an upscale project at the base of Loon Mountain have purchased nearly 300 additional acres for its planned South Peak Resort.

Texas-based Centex Destination Properties, a developer of high-end second homes and resorts around the country, has been gearing up plans for Lincoln, which coincides with expansion at the Loon Mountain ski area.

Earlier this week, Centex closed on the purchase of 290 acres from Loon Mountain Recreation Corp., and officials say it will move the project forward.

The sale price was not disclosed.

"The closing on this land is an important milestone in our development of South Peak Resort at Loon," said Ed Brisson, vice president of northeast development for Centex Destination Properties. "We will execute our planned groundbreaking this fall for the Riverside Terrace area of the resort and can then continue with the balance of our resort plans."

Work is already under way at the development. Earlier this year, 54 housing lots were offered on the market and sales, officials report, went well. The initial Riverside Terrace units, which range from 1,200 to 1,900 square feet with configurations of two to four bedrooms, will overlook the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River and be located next to the J.E. Henry trail, open to foot and bike traffic.

Centex's master plan calls for developing more than 900 housing units of single homes, resort condos, condo hotels and townhouses.

The company had planned to develop up to 1,400 vacation homes at the Killington, Vt. ski area, but earlier this month bowed out of that project to concentrate on Loon.

The housing development coincides with expansion plans of Loon Mountain, which expect to complete the long-awaited South Mountain project next year. It will include a new base lodge on that side of the ski resort, as well as the high-speed Lincoln Express 4-person chair lift. The South Mountain plan was tied up for more in than 15 years before the U.S. Forest Service approved it in 2001.

"We couldn't be more pleased to see the South Peak Resort project move forward with this final land purchase," said Rick Kelley, general manager at Loon Mountain. "With our new South Peak mountain expansion scheduled for the 2007-08 season, we will be providing an enhanced experience for skiers, riders and winter sport enthusiasts.

"With Centex Destination Properties, we will realize our long-held vision of a first-class resort community at Loon Mountain. They have a proven track record to make South Peak Resort a success."