Gov. Peter Shumlin and ski resort owner Bill Stenger found their recent promotional trip to China and Vietnam so successful, they started considering an encore even before their return to Vermont.
The website China Daily reported Wednesday that the two, who were joined by other representatives from Jay Peak plus a small state delegation, had discussed returning to China in the first quarter of 2014.
Alex MacLean, a spokesperson and project manager for Jay Peak’s Northeast Kingdom Economic Development Initiative, confirmed that the idea had come up.
“We did discuss with the Governor while we were in China how productive a trip it was and how helpful it would be to do a follow up trip,” MacLean said by email. “Having said that, nothing specific has been discussed or planned.”
Lawrence Miller, Vermont’s secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, echoed MacLean. “No specific plans have been laid,” he said by email.
Stenger and his business partner, Ariel Quiros, had invited the governor along to help them promote and solicit investments in the Northeast Kingdom Economic Development Initiative — a spinoff of immigrant-funded expansions at the Jay Peak ski resort.
The federal EB-5 Immigrant Investment Program grants permanent residency to would-be immigrants and their families who invest at least $500,000 in an American business — so long as the money equates to 10 jobs worth of domestic economic activity within two years.
The development project will run about $445 million to build a biotech facility in Newport and turn Burke Mountain ski area into a year-round recreational resort. Major developments in downtown Newport also are in the works. The pair recently canceled plans to bring a German window manufacturer to town and previously transitioned their expansions at the Newport State Airport to conventional financing.