Vermont Entourage Off To Far East In Funding Pursuit; Jay Peak, Burke To Benefit
Grand plans for Jay Peak, Burke Mountain, Newport and the entire Northeast Kingdom in Vermont may well take another step forward next week as resort and state officials pursue funding in China and Vietnam.
That’s when Jay Peak Resort President and CEO Bill Stenger, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, and Commerce Secretary Lawrence Miller will visit the Far East to continue the pursuit of funding that they hope will lift the economic hopes of the region.
Stenger announced the Northeast Kingdom Economic Development Initiative a year go. It’s $500 million in construction and improvements that is viewed by supporters as transformational.
Stenger is hedging his concept on the federal EB-5 program, whereby foreign investors are granted a temporary green card for each $500,000 invested in economically deprived areas.
Two years later, if that particular project creates 10 full-time jobs, the temporary green card becomes permanent, according to the ground rules set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS).
“We have been actively involved with the EB-5 program since 2006,” Stenger told SnoCountry.com.
“Since CIS made some changes, we began seeking capital. In the last six years, we’ve raised $250 million and created thousands of jobs in the community.”
State officials have vetted Stenger’s plan to ensure it satisfies all aspects of the EB-5 program, which is geared toward foreigners who wish to live and work in the United States.
“They and their kids have probably never skied before,” he added. “But the advantage is that a permanent green card earned through the EB-5 is portable to them – they can take it anywhere – and it’s valuable to us in getting access to capital.”
The Burlington Free Press reports the plans of Stenger and his partner, Ariel Quiros, President and CEO of Burke Mountain, include expansion of Jay Peak, bringing a biotech firm to Newport, construction of a new hotel and marina on Lake Memphremagog, enhancements to the Newport Airport, and long-needed new hotels and base lodges at Burke Mountain.
Stenger told the newspaper he has raised $100 million – more than half of what he needs for the biotech initiative and Burke Mountain. His upcoming trip, he said, will put him in front of nearly 1,000 potential investors.
“We have numerous people working in our behalf on the ground in the Far East,” he said. “We think they’ll like our presentation due to our track record. After this trip, we hope to get them to visit us,” he stated.
Stenger believes the journey will lead to another $100 million for the Northeast Kingdom.
Photo: Burke Mountain board glades/Facebook