After the winter thaw in 2021, Sunday River Resort in Newry, Maine, will begin building two residential projects. But already, the combined reservations for homes in these developments are more than 50 percent booked for move-ins in 2022.
Sweetening the deal, Sunday River announced in September that reservations for the ski-in/ski-out properties were nonbinding, fitting for the pivot and adapt COVID-19 modality.
Oddly or not, the pandemic may well have boosted sales.
“So many people who live in cities have discovered they can work from home, and what better place to work from than Maine and in the mountains?” Dana Bullen, president of Sunday River, said.
These new real estate offerings include Merrill Hill, a single-family home development atop a mountain between South Ridge and Aurora Peak, and the Dream Maker Lodge condominiums along the resort’s Dream Maker trail. Both are part of Sunday River 2030, a decade-long plan for sustainable growth and investments for the resort and its real estate holdings, launched in February 2020. The plan calls for more long-term real estate development beyond these two projects.
Along with the real estate portion, Sunday River’s 10-year plan includes the recently acquired golf course adjacent to the ski area and updated infrastructure, such as new lifts.
Bullen said the plan takes into consideration that overdevelopment would destroy the mountain views and natural ambiance that attract people.
“We have to make sure that doesn’t happen,” he confirmed. “We live in nature’s cathedral, and we are well aware of our need to keep it and care for it.”
Dream Maker Lodge will add 22 luxury slope-side units: three 1,750-square-foot three-bedroom penthouses ranging from $1,100,000 to $1,200,000; one 2,080-square-foot four-bedroom penthouse, priced at $1,400,000; and 18 1,050-square-foot two-bedroom units ranging from $580,000 to $635,000. Dream Maker Lodge is 50 percent sold, with three of the four penthouses already snapped up.
The ski-in, ski-out condos will have shared amenities such as an outdoor hot tub, and each unit will come with a ground-floor locker for gear storage.
The 21 chairlift-serviced home sites on Merrill Hill will be designed to buyer specifications, but the houses will be a minimum of 2,000 square feet and shall not exceed 7,500 square feet. Also, all of these homes must follow certain architectural guidelines to maintain a cohesive look within the development.
Lot sizes range from 2.1 to 6.8 acres, with pricing running from $400,000 to $700,000. The Merrill Hill homes are more than 50 percent sold, with 12 out of 21 lots reserved.
“The demand is incredible. These are million-dollar homes with incredible 360-degree views; they will be unique and beautiful.”
Bullen said a surprising number of customers are from Maine.
“I would say that 30 percent are Mainers,” he estimated. “We’ve had several who have homes on the water and want a place in the mountains. That’s unique to skiing in Maine: you can’t get that in Utah and Colorado. We are 90 minutes from Portland.”
Mostly, buyer confidence is heightened by familiarity with Sunday River Resort.
“Every one of the people registered has an affiliation with Sunday River,” Bullen said. “Some of the existing condo residents are swapping or upgrading to the new offerings. The vast majority already own real estate here. We have families who come here over multiple generations. Once we have them, we try to keep them.”
More info Sunday River Real Estate, 207-824-5051; sundayriver.com