Boston entrepreneur Joe O’Donnell and a pair of longtime partners in the ski business are pushing ahead with a $50 million project they say will transform the historic Cranmore resort in North Conway, N.H.
The group has launched sales on the first set of 106 new condos at the base of the mountain — part of a broader remake of Cranmore into a modern-day, four-season destination alongside the popular village. O’Donnell and partners Brian and Tyler Fairbank purchased the resort in 2010.
“North Conway is really unique, that’s why we’re there,” said O’Donnell, founder of concessions giant Boston Culinary Group and print-advertising firm Allied Integrated Marketing, and now an owner of three New England ski resorts. “It’ll be even more unique with a world-class ski village right there.”
The start of that village comes with 18 new condos that O’Donnell and The Fairbank Group began pre-selling in December. They expect to begin construction once sales agreements are in place for 14. Tyler Fairbank expects most buyers for the condos — which will be priced between $300,000 and $500,000 — will come from the Boston area.
Those condo sales will help to finance improvements to ski facilities at Cranmore as well, Fairbank said, including new restaurants, retail, and ski service operations in a much larger base lodge complex.
“What you really need to make that happen is real estate sales,” Brian Fairbank said. “Condos are a vehicle for that redevelopment.”
A small ski area popular with families, Cranmore has roots that date to the 1930s, when the modern ski industry was first taking hold in the United States.
O’Donnell and the Fairbank team have done a similar redevelopment at Jiminy Peak in Hancock, Mass., where they built hundreds of condos over 25 years. They’re more experienced now, O’Donnell notes, and this is a smaller project. So he’s thinking Cranmore will go a lot faster.
“We’re making a very big bet,” O’Donnell said. “But I feel very comfortable with it.”