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March 11, 2019

Chicago firm invests in historic Boothbay Harbor resort

Courtesy / Spruce Point Inn Stonehouse Capital deemed Spruce Point Inn to be a distinctive asset for its location, history and charm.

Stonehouse Capital, a private investment firm headquartered in Chicago, has bought Spruce Point Inn, a historic Boothbay Harbor resort.

Located at 88 Grandview Ave., the resort consists of 57 waterfront acres surrounded by spruce trees, nine guest rooms in the inn, 15 New England-style cottages and cottage rooms, 56 modern lodge rooms, five town homes and 8,000 square feet of meeting and event space, according to a news release.

Stonehouse bought the property from Angelo DiGiulian and Joseph Paolillo. The deal closed Feb. 28. The price was not disclosed.

The purchase was a private transaction, Jeff Broaden, president and managing partner for Stonehouse Capital, told Mainebiz by email. Stonehouse principals have invested over $1.5 billion in commercial real estate and other assets, according to the firm’s website.

According to the town of Boothbay Harbor, the 2018 assessment of the land and structures at 88 Grandview Ave. was $6.63 million.

'Distinctive assets'

Stonehouse has a focus on “acquiring and creating distinctive assets,” according to the release and “an affinity for irreplaceable properties.” Prior projects include the Chicago Athletic Association, now a hotel.

Stonehouse engaged Benchmark, a global hospitality company headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, to operate Spruce Point as part of its Gemstone Collection.

Spruce Point was named “Best of Maine” by Down East magazine for 2017 and 2018, “Best of New England” by Yankee magazine for 2018, and “Reader’s Choice” for 2017 and 2018 by Condé Nast Traveler.

“Each year when the editors of Conde Nast Traveler, Down East and Yankee name Spruce Point Inn one of the top resorts in the Northeast, Joe Paolillo and I make sure we thank the people responsible, the team here at the Inn, our guests, and the local community,” seller Angelo DiGiulian said in the release. "We know that this extended family ensures the continued excellence of the Inn, and the continued improvement it takes to stay at the top. The next steps we're undertaking with Stonehouse Capital and Benchmark are aimed directly at sustaining those commitments, and at the objective of keeping the Spruce Point family, including us, proud of what Spruce Point Inn stands for: excellence in 'creating oceanside memories, made in Maine.' ”

Built in late 1800s

Courtesy / Stonehouse Capital
Jeff Broaden is president and managing partner for Stonehouse Capital, new owners of Spruce Point Inn.

The original Spruce Point Inn was built in the late 1800s by the Marston family from Skowhegan, and was used as a private hunting and fishing lodge, according to its website. In 1902, the property was made into a tea house and inn. Subsequent owners followed. The inn flourished through World War II, operating at full capacity with a long waiting list.

By 1957, clientele had dwindled and the inn was in disrepair. New ownership rejuvenated the inn, however. Summers in the 1960s brought high-profile guests like Maine's U.S. Sen. Edmund Muskie, Vice President Hubert Humphrey and U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy and their families.

In 1991, Joseph Paolillo and Angelo DiGiulian became innkeepers. In 1994, after an initial refresh of the resort, they bought the property and continued to improve the inn annually with upgrades to guestrooms, cottages, function facilities and recreation areas.

Broaden said he’s familiar with Maine and the Midcoast region through visits, and is friends with Paolillo and DiGuilian, He said his group was interested in buying the property because of its location, history and charm.

“The previous owners invested considerable capital and energy into preserving, maintaining and enhancing the property,” he said.

No sweeping changes are planned for the 2019 season, he said.

“We will share any meaningful development or enhancements in the future,” he added.

Stonehouse operates and invests nationally, and internationally when the right opportunities arise.

“We are extremely selective about where we invest both our capital and our efforts,” Broaden said.

Quality over quantity

Broaden said he’s been investing and developing properties for over a decade, with over $1 billion in investments made on behalf of his investor partners on projects small and large. Stonehouse itself, he explained, is a younger firm with a few select holdings in the “alternative asset space.”

“For us, it is quality over quantity,” he said. “We love assets like Spruce Point Inn that we can get passionate about, flex our creativity, and enjoy making an impact at multiple levels.”

Broaden grew up in Wisconsin but developed an appreciation of Maine and the Midcoast region through visits.

“I do not have any immediate family ties to the area, though I have made friends with some great people in the area including the former owners and look forward to spending much more time in the area for business and with my family,” he said.

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