by Matt Hargis

The Opportunity: Economic Development in Maine

Moosehead Lake in northwestern Maine is the state’s biggest lake, source of the Kennebec River, and home to 80 islands. The area, known as America’s Crown Jewel, is nestled within 2 million acres of protected forest lands, including state parks, national forests, and a new national monument. The wilderness is pristine, and locals want to keep it that way—but jobs are scarce, and a new resort could spur economic development. There’s a gap in mid-scale accommodations, and while recreation is abundant, it’s difficult to get to. Developing a small part of the area around Moosehead Lake could generate the kind of infrastructure and long-term economic growth that the community needs.

Addressing Community Needs

International forest products company Weyerhaeuser saw the chance to develop a tiny fraction of the land—16,900 acres—as a resort, enabling more people to enjoy the area and spurring job growth in the area. The development would include multiple development zones, including:

  • 1,050 resort units
  • 975 single family residential lots
  • 169 acres of commercial land
  • Waterfront, mountain, and trail access within 2 million acres
  • Proximity to existing restaurants and recreational amenities

Wanting to protect the forest, the company placed a permanent conservation easement on 363,000 acres around the development, in addition to 1.6 million acres of conserved land that stretches to Canada.

The project includes a lodge, resort rental properties, and single-family homes, and is part of a strategy to build long-term demand for residential real estate sales. It’s expected to attract employment opportunities to the community, while delivering the kind of  “authentic experiential vacationing” sought after by today’s traveler and recreational real estate buyer.

Building Partnerships with Stakeholders

Point B came on board as Weyerhaeuser’s development advisor, building partnerships with stakeholders and positioning the project for success. We facilitated the needed feasibility and market analysis and mapped out the future potential of the project. And as members of the Urban Land Institute’s Recreational Development Council, we’re helping them build partnerships with experts in the resort-development community.

We’re also helping them build a coalition of interested parties from not only the development industry, but operations partners, community groups, and local businesses.

“Point B is an invaluable partner on big, bold projects like this,” says James A. Kilberg, Senior VP, Real Estate, Energy & Natural Resources, Weyerhaeuser. “They’ve helped us define the opportunity, and they’ve connected us with industry movers and shakers.”