I wrote earlier this month (”In Pandemic, One Vermont Ski Town Found An Economic Growth Catalyst”) how the fortunes of the picturesque ski town of Killington, Vermont, have improved since the start of the Covid pandemic. Working from home has taken off nationally, increasing the number of year-round dwellers and spending in the resort town; outdoor recreation has gained appeal; and property prices have spiked on limited supply. The same pandemic that cast a cloud over the region two years ago has become a catalyst for long-stalled infrastructure plans and new village real estate investment.
The town had hoped this month to nail down final approval from the Vermont Economic Progress Council for a $62 million financing plan, known as tax increment financing or TIF, to pay for infrastructure otherwise beyond the means of Killington’s 1,400 full-time residents. A program named “Killington Forward” combines five goals: a reconstructed road to ease traffic, a water system to increase supplies and improve quality, affordable housing to help counter a big shortage of workers and space for them to live, and the biggest piece of all — a new proposed village to be called “Six Peaks Killington,” creating a new community centerpiece conveniently located along the road that winds along the resort’s main ski lifts.
Killington received good news today: the council announced it approved the plan.
“Improving public infrastructure such as water systems and roadways opens new opportunities for a community to grow, and I’m pleased to see Killington accepted into the TIF program to begin this important work,” Vermont Governor Phil Scott said in response to the council’s decision.
The Town’s proposal for $62 million in public infrastructure improvements will facilitate private development of the long awaited Six Peaks, which will include a hotel, over 35,000 square feet of retail space, and approximately 323 new units of housing consisting of condos, townhomes, and single-family homes, the council said. Envisioned since the 1980’s, development of a resort village has been thwarted by the lack of municipal infrastructure, it noted. Great Gulf Group, the development company founded by Toronto businessmen Elly and Norman Reisman, appeared at a meeting on May 26 with state officials to say that it had reached an agreement to acquire related land in Killington. A green light for groundbreaking required the public-sector funding approved today.
The improvements are expected to add more than $285 million of new taxable value to Killington’s Grand List, yielding over $115 million in new property tax revenues over the 20-year retention period for the TIF district., the council said.
The good vibe at Killington this year is part of a larger rebound in the ski industry after the onset of the pandemic. U.S. ski areas enjoyed an increase of 3.5% skier visits in the 2021-22 season, totaling a record 61 million, according to the National Ski Areas Association.
Killington Ski Resort, one of 24 ski areas in Vermont, was bought by privately held Powdr, headquartered in Park City, Utah, along with the nearby Pico area in 2007. Powdr’s other resorts include Copper Mountain in Colorado and Snowbird in Utah.
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