News Search

Push to The Latest: No

SAM Magazine—Wildwood, Mo., May 26, 2016—Peak Resorts has gained approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for its $52 million project at Mount Snow, Vt., providing a shot of good news for the recently maligned EB-5 immigrant investor program.

mountsnow westlake emailsize

The funds, which have already been raised, will be released from escrow immediately following the approval of the first I-526 Petition submitted by an investor in the Mount Snow EB-5 offering. The petition approvals typically occur shortly after program approval.

This is a major step forward in the process, said Peak Resorts president and CEO Tim Boyd. “It's great news that the project was approved, so now we're able to move forward. There's obviously that last step of getting the first petition approved, but that's somewhat of a perfunctory thing at this point. The more important thing was that the business plan got approved,” he said.

The funds for the project are for the construction of West Lake, a 120 million gallon snowmaking water reservoir, and the related infrastructure, as well as a new three-story, state-of-the-art base lodge at Mount Snow's Carinthia area. Peak Resorts invested more than $12 million in project construction since May 2015 while awaiting USCIS approval, which will be reimbursed upon the funds being released from escrow.

West Lake itself was built last summer, and Boyd said the plan is get right to finishing the rest of the project once the money is available, “We've still got the pipeline from West Lake to the mountain to finish up, we need to put in some pump houses—so there's still significant work to be done, but we believe we'll have enough time to get that accomplished,” added Boyd.

Boyd said the USCIS' delay in approving the project didn't significantly affect progress, because the cold and wet spring in southern Vermont was not conducive to working on big projects. “The amount of work we could've gotten done this spring was somewhat limited anyway,” he said. “[The delay] is somewhat of a setback, but certainly not something we can't overcome.”

The project approval is excellent news for a company, a resort, and a community that view the EB-5 program as an opportunity to better the guest experience, add jobs, and improve the local economy. Recent negative news about the program has tainted its image, but its real purpose shouldn't be forgotten, said Peak Resorts VP of real estate and business development Dick Deutsch.

“The program is just so important to rural communities like the Mount Snow area,” he said. “We can access capital at a popular rate, and as a result we can create a lot of jobs. It's important to realize it's an economic development program, not an immigration program.”

Boyd added that the project approval “is certainly some positive news we could use after the negative news that's been badgering the industry about other things going on in the EB-5 world. Hopefully this good news will help to change the dialogue.”