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August 6, 2018

Australian owner puts boutique inn (and art collection) on market for $1.7M

Courtesy / The B&B Team Inn Consultants and Brokers
Courtesy / The B&B Team Inn Consultants and Brokers
The Lindenwood Inn in Southwest Harbor is on the market for $1.7 million and includes much of the seller's collection of global artifacts.

The Lindenwood Inn at 118 Clark Point Road in Southwest Harbor, built in 1904 as a sea captain's house, is on the market for $1.7 million.

The sale of the inn, on a residential street overlooking the harbor, is unique in that it comes with art and artifacts collected from around the world by inn owner James King.

Listing broker Dana Moos with The B&B Team Inn Consultants and Brokers in Kennebunk said it's seen interest so far, and she expects that to pick up in late summer through the end of the year.

"This is generally our slowest time, because people who come on vacation aren't the ones who are seriously looking," she said. "The people who seriously look at inns usually come late summer, early fall and into winter. They want to be settled in before the next high season for financial reasons. The perfect timing is to make an offer in the fall and close about three to four months later. This way the buyer has a couple of months to get used to their new inn, and to do any new marketing and redecorating if that's their plan."

East Coast 'buyer pool'

Courtesy / James King
Courtesy / James King
The Lindenwood Inn started out as a sea captain’s home built in 1904.

She has a couple of potential buyers who have scheduled visits this fall, she said. The buyer pool tends to be people from the mid-Atlantic and New England, with quite a few

from New Jersey, she said. She's marketing the inn online through numerous outlets, including her website and blog, social media, her newsletter and The B&B Team's newsletter and website, and an online presentation.

The latter is a new tool she began using in recent months that provides a comprehensive way to display photos and marketing information.

It's not uncommon for a lodging property to be on the market for two years, even in the tourist hotspot of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park, Moos said. This one went on the market in May, in what could be a years-long process.

"I always tell sellers it could be two to three years, although it could be less," she said. "It's a long process, totally different from residential, which is just a lot faster."

That said, lodging offerings tend to attract a lot of buyer interest, she said.

"Because the island is a top destination, most of the inns do really well," she said.

Property includes owner's quarters

Courtesy / The B&B Team Inn Consultants and Brokers
Courtesy / The B&B Team Inn Consultants and Brokers
Sculptures and artwork from around the world adorn the Lindenwood’s walls.

The asking price reflects just the inn; the art collection will come with the inn.

According to Moos' marketing material, over the past few years the Lindenwood has seen a considerable increase in business. A new innkeeper can potentially bump up its average daily rate with room updates and online marketing. There's also potential to expand into small events and food and beverage service.

Located on 0.36 acre and surrounded by linden trees, the 7,000-square-foot inn has a painted wood shingle exterior and asphalt architectural style shingle roof.

It has nine guest rooms, all with private baths, many with views and some with decks; a spacious parlor, dining room and reception area; wrap-around porch with awnings; slate pool deck with large hot tub and outdoor shower; paved onsite parking; and restaurant and liquor license.

An owner's quarters in a lower-level apartment has two bedrooms, an office area, full kitchen open to a living area, bath with a large jet tub, a separate shower, floors of Mexican tile and exposed, large granite block walls. Global artifacts are found throughout the inn which, under current ownership, is open May through October.

The inn has seen demand from locals in the off-season for dinner service, representing a potential additional revenue stream.

'Fell in love with innkeeping'

Courtesy / James King
Courtesy / James King
James King, from Sydney, Australia, landed in the U.S. 38 years ago to begin a career in innkeeping.

Seller King told Mainebiz he's originally from Sydney, Australia, where he did cabinet- and furniture-making. He didn't find it satisfying, so left Australia in 1977 and started traveling.

"I had the travel bug," he said. "I came to the U.S. in 1980 and fell in love with innkeeping."

He spent two seasons working at the Ledgelawn Inn in Bar Harbor, learning the ropes of innkeeping. He then purchased a building in Lee, Mass., used his cabinet-making skill to fix it up, and named it the Kingsleigh Inn, which he ran while managing a Burger King down the street.

He sold the Kingsleigh and moved to Maine to purchase a 1904 Queen Anne style home in Southwest Harbor, which he converted into an inn and also called the Kingsleigh. King ran the second Kingsleigh for many years, then sold it to take a few of years off.

In February 1993, he purchased the Lindenwood, which was then operating with seven rooms.

When he bought the Lindenwood, it was in good shape but needed updates.

"There were no carpets and it was all dark wood. Nothing of its character was brought out," he said. "I gave it some color. A couple of years in, I put in a pool and hot tub, then did an expansion and opened the restaurant."

As the former Capt. and Mrs. O.L. Mills House, he said, it's also part of the town's history.

"I think of myself as a guardian of the house," he said.

King is looking to go back to Australia and then see where life takes him. He used to live year-round in Southwest Harbor, but has been returning to Australia in recent winters in order to take advantage of the southern hemisphere's summer.

"This has been an amazing place to live this part of my life," he said of Southwest Harbor.

He still travels and still picks up artifacts.

"Now I mostly go to Australia," he said. "Previously, I traveled through Asia, Africa, Israel, the Middle East. I love other cultures. They speak to us through art."

King said he'll hold on to part of his art collection. But he's leaving much of it with the inn, he said, because so much of the inn's personality is connected with the artwork.

"I want the new innkeeper to be able to continue with the same experience," he said. "To take everything out would spoil it. So I'm leaving some nice things and the whole place will be ready to go. I've had people say, for 25 years, that they like the style. That's the core of the Lindenwood — the artifacts and the artwork."

Leaving behind the Lindenwood will be emotional, he said.

"It's my home and an extension of me," he said. "That will be hard. But I'm 62 this year. I'm looking at a different time of my life. It will be nice to see younger people take it up. Half of it is about energy. I'm hoping the next person coming in will feel that. It's a magical place."

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