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October 31, 2017

Lakeside lodge in Millinocket hits the market for $2.4 million

Courtesy / The Swan Agency Sotheby's International Realty
Courtesy / The Swan Agency Sotheby's International Realty
The 5 Lakes Lodge in Millinocket, a AAA three-diamond establishment within view of Mount Katahdin, has been listed for sale for $2.4 million.

The 5 Lakes Lodge in Millinocket, with direct views of Mount Katahdin, has been listed for $2.4 million.

Jennifer Mitchell with The Swan Agency Sotheby's International Realty is handling the listing for the lodge's founders and owners, Debbie and Rick LaVasseur.

The lodge, on four acres, is situated on a peninsula with over 1,000 feet of frontage on South Twin Lake and offers direct views of Mount Katahdin from its five en suite guest rooms. The property includes a private beach, patio, fire pit and paddlesport gear, as well as access to the onsite marina for personal watercraft.

The lodge's location on the Pemadumcook Chain of Lakes allows for boating and snowmobiling. It's close to the Appalachian Trail, Baxter State Park, and the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. The LaVasseurs operate it as a year-round bed-and-breakfast. In addition to its guest rooms, it has owner's quarters and public spaces in the main lodge, as well as a separate two-bedroom vacation rental in the adjacent Eagle's Nest.

According to a press release from the broker, the lodge is zoned for both residential and commercial use, and could continue to operate as a lodging or could make for a private residence or corporate retreat.

Full occupancy: June to October

Courtesy / The Swan Agency Sotheby's International Realty
Courtesy / The Swan Agency Sotheby's International Realty
The lodge as seen from the opposite shore with Mountain Katahdin looming in the background.

Reached by phone, Rick LaVasseur said he and his wife are locals from East Millinocket and Medway. He designed the lodge and they built it together, opening it in 2004 after almost two years of construction. The lodge is a little over 5,000 square feet and the Eagle's Nest is roughly 1,900 square feet. The lodge has a three-diamond rating from AAA.

The couple previously owned a campground for 16 years and a motel for nine years.

"We knew the area needed something nice for people to stay in," Rick LaVasseur said. They bought the marina where the lodge is now located, feeling sure that a bed-and-breakfast would work at the location.

"You build it and they will come, and that's exactly what happened," he said.

Now in their early 60s, the couple is reaching retirement age, with plans to travel and hike, he said.

"So we put it on the market," he said. "It could take three to four years to sell it."

Although the establishment of the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument hasn't yet generated much of an increase in visitation, he expects it will. Not that his lodge needs extra business; it's consistently been at almost 100% occupancy from June to October.

"So we don't need more business as far as that's concerned, but we hope [the monument] will help the region," he said.

Diverse guest demographics

Courtesy / The Swan Agency Sotheby’s International Realty
Courtesy / The Swan Agency Sotheby’s International Realty
The 5 Lakes Lodge in Millinocket, on four acres and offering a marina, has nearly 100% occupancy from June through October.

The lodge is a quarter-mile off Route 11 and seven miles from downtown Millinocket. The couple plans to operate it until they find a buyer. In the winter months, they get most of their business from snowmobilers. Overall, their guest demographics are diverse.

"We get everybody," he said. "We get people in their 20s on their honeymoon and people in their 80s wanting to see Mount Katahdin for the first time in their lives. We get a lot of people coming here to see Katahdin or to hike Katahdin, and increasing numbers of people wanting to climb the highest peak in every state. We also get a lot of people who come here to pick up husbands, wives, children who are finishing the Appalachian Trail. And we get a lot of people who are looking to be in the interior of Maine."

LaVasseur said his ideal buyer would be one who wants to keep the property as a lodging.

"That will help the area more than having it become a personal home or corporate retreat," he said. "With the customer base we have, it would be better to keep it as a commercial operation. We're also a 16-slip marina, and this is the only place on this body of water — the fourth largest lake in Maine — where people can buy gas when they pull up in boats and jet skis."

At the same time, he said, the property has plenty of room to build residential units as well, if a buyer is so inclined.

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