Reaching New Heights

Cockaigne Redevelopers Expand Plans For Ski Resort

The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency has approved new terms for the Al Tech Revolving Loan Fund for the redevelopers of Cockaigne Ski Resort in Cherry Creek, pictured above and below. The first event scheduled at the redeveloped Cockaigne will be the Brewgrass Music Festival Sept. 14-16. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

The redevelopment plans for the reopening of Cockaigne Ski Resort have been expanded.

On Tuesday, the new plans were discussed during the regular monthly meeting of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency. Rex Butcher, Cockaigne chief executive officer, said along with constructing a new lodge for skiers, the resort will also have a terrain park, a concert venue and a tubing hill. He also said they are improving the ski lifts and enhancing the water system.

Butcher said the first event planned at the reopened Cockaigne will be the Brewgrass Music Festival Sept. 14-16.

Carol Rasmussen, IDA business development manager, said with the additional plans, the total cost of the Cockaigne redevelopment project will be around $3.75 million, which was original estimated to be about $3.5 million. In October 2017, the IDA board approved a $500,000 Al Tech Revolving Loan for 20 years at 4 percent interest for the project. Because the costs of the redevelopment project has increased, the collateral terms for the IDA loan have changed. Even though the burden has lessen for the IDA, the board still needed to approve a new resolution.

Adam Pirtz and Isaac Gratto, Cockaigne owners, officially closed on purchasing the property in December. The ski resort closed in 2011 after fire destroyed its iconic ski lodge, which was built as the Austrian Pavilion for the World’s Fair in New York City in 1964.

P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

In other IDA business, the board approved three resolutions associated with the E2I Ventures solar project in Fredonia. Matt Mazgaj, IDA counsel, said the project will receive a 20-year payment in lieu of taxes agreement with the IDA, which will start at $800 a megawatt then increase either by 2 percent or based on the consumer price index.

Kristine Morabito, IDA business development manager, said the 200-kilowatt solar project will be located on 35,000 square feet of property owned by John and Carolann Rumsey, who live on Martin Road in Fredonia. E2I Ventures, based out of Nashville, will be leasing 1 acre from the Rumsey’s for the project, which is expected to start construction in August and be operational by October. The total cost of the project is $329,100.

There was no public comment given at a public hearing held earlier this month in the town of Portland and no written correspondence.

George Borrello, county executive, said it is not a direct power solar project and is not considered to be a large.

“It is fundamentally practical,” he said.