SANDY RIVER PLANTING – Last week Codie Keene had a very different problem from Portland: how to get a well-drilling rig 3,625 feet up a mountain side.
The response was very slow, with the occasional bulldozer towing.
“The coolest part was actually going down: the whole drilling rig that they had just put in neutral and the bulldozer was behind it and basically helping it down from above,” a- he declared.
Keene, director of construction services for Portland-headquartered Barrett Made Architecture + Construction, has been at Saddleback Mountain for over a year, first on a basic lodge renovation scheduled for the highly anticipated reopening of the ski resort last December and now the new Mid Mountain Lodge is slated to open this year or next, as soon as they work on logistics like hauling supplies and a living roof strong enough for soil and snow.
The six-year-old company is what Matthew Ahlberg, vice president and director of design services, describes as the new mountain owners’ primary collaborator on all of his projects – and there are many of them.
Barrett Made opened its second office in Rangeley in May. Keene and another employee from southern Maine bought houses there. They have hired seven new people for the new location with plans for up to 10 more over the next year.
The company has 45 employees in Portland, Ahlberg said, and has started with a mix of small residential, hotel and commercial projects.
Arctaris Impact Fund purchased Saddleback Mountain in early 2020, five years after the state’s third largest ski resort was abruptly closed.
Tom Federle, general counsel for Arctaris Saddleback and director of property development, said he knew Barrett Made owner Rob Barrett and invited him to bid on the resort’s base lodge project last year .
“Partly because I respect his work and his integrity, and partly because I knew he would appreciate what we do at Saddleback and give it all,” said Federle. “He did that.”
On Barrett Made’s plate right now:
• Build eight A-frames this year and 14 next year, as part of a new four-acre subdivision.
• Build a parking lot this year, and then next year, to accompany it, Saddleback House, described in state permit applications as a 24-room ski-in dormitory for up to 40 employees.
• Construction of the Mid Mountain Lodge, in collaboration with Davies Toews Architecture in New York. The 6,000 square foot lodge is estimated on state records as a $ 1.3 million project.
Since last year, Arctaris Impact Fund has invested more than $ 25 million in improvements to the complex.
Asked about the total plans for new lodges, housing and executives in A, Ahlberg said he was not aware of a specific number, “but I think there is some pretty ambitious thinking going on. “
‘A LOT OF POSSIBILITY’
Renovation of the base lodge began in February 2020. Keene said he was surprised at his condition when he first showed up: merchandise still in the store, skis still in the ski store. .
“It was almost as if they had turned off the lights one day and were gone,” he said. “The lodge itself is so beautiful that your first reaction is, ‘I’m so excited to be a part of this project and bring it back to life.’ You walk inside and it’s mostly posts and beams, a huge giant stone fireplace, lots of exposed wood.
Barrett Made has fitted out a space for the restaurant / bar on the third floor.
Ahlberg said the idea was to complement but not replicate the feel that was already there.
“Saddleback has always been kind of a mountain for the Mainers and (Arctaris) really liked the concept of continuing the tradition,” he said. “We worked with a local furniture maker, Square (Manufacturing Co.) – they’re based in Portland and Lewiston / Auburn – who made all of the furniture custom for the space. We also wanted to work whenever possible with local subcontractors to source locally.
The Parmachenee Village project’s A-frame design has practicalities with snow, Ahlberg said, but the choice was to go differently from other resorts.
“One of the advantages they have is that it is so undeveloped so I think their intention is to develop it in the spirit of the mountain and try to bring the experience of being unique. to Saddleback, ”he said. “The A-frames were an extension of that thinking. I think there will be other projects to follow in the same direction… There are a lot of possibilities up there.
Eleven units are already under contract, Federle said. The 22 should be completed by next fall.
The project is named after Lake Parmachenee, “a world famous fly fishing destination,” according to a spokesperson for the resort, and like all of the trails and lifts in Saddleback, named with a nod to fishermen and the fishing history of the Rangeley Lakes region.
With the Mid Mountain Lodge, the look is to blend into the landscape.
The start of construction had to wait until August 1, after Bicknell’s Thrush mating season. Staff worked with the Maine Audubon Society to care about the bird’s habitat.
There are challenges up there every day, Keene said.
“Obtaining materials is obviously one of the most important things,” he said. “They built a road to the top last year, when they were installing the Rangeley lift, but it’s really an off-road road. The trucks can stand up, but only a certain size, so some of the logistical concerns are with the steel for the structure up there. “
The construction site stopped on Monday because of the rain. And soon enough there is snow, which could mean using snowmobiles, snowmobiles and giant sleds.
“There’s going to be a green roof at the top of the building and it’s going to be planted with all natural plants that you would have at that elevation, but with that comes its own set of challenges: the weight of the ground and the snow load up there. Keene said. “The structural engineers have worked tirelessly to develop all of these connection details. “
“Everything is a challenge,” he added. “But it’s extremely fun trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. “