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March 7, 2019

Colby College announces architect, management firm for downtown hotel

Rendering courtesy of Colby College Colby College announced today that Richmond, Va., firm Baskervill will design the 50-room hotel and Charlestowne Hotels, a hospitality management firm based in Charleston, S.C., will manage the hotel. The map shows where the hotel will be located on Main St. in Waterville.

Colby College has named an architect as well as a management company for the hotel it plans to build on Main Street in Waterville.

The college announced that Richmond, Va., firm Baskervill will design the 50-room hotel and Charlestowne Hotels, a hospitality management firm based in Charleston, S.C., will manage the hotel.

Construction of the building on the south end of Main Street is expected to begin later this year, with an anticipated opening in 2020, the college said in a Thursday news release.

The announcement comes after the college said a year ago it would develop the hotel itself after an agreement with Portland-based Olympia Cos. was terminated.

“The intent from the beginning has been to partner with an operator on the hotel and restaurant,” Brian Clark, vice president of planning, told Mainebiz Thursday. “Colby decided to self-develop the project and Charlestowne is providing input to that process as the operator to ensure the design meets our high expectations for an exceptional guest experience, is an inviting and welcoming place for the entire Waterville community, and that the hotel and restaurant are important contributors to Waterville's economy.”

Charlestowne Hotels will also operate the hotel’s restaurant and bar, which will be designed and operated with both hotel guests and area residents in mind, the release said. Charlestowne’s portfolio includes a number of hotels situated near campuses, ranging from Clemson and the University of Alabama to Hamilton College and Smith College.

Colby first announced plans for the hotel in early 2016 as major part of its now $100 million investment into the city’s downtown.

It bought the site of the former Levine’s department store, at the south end of Main Street in 2015, and last year bought the adjacent Camden National Bank building, which it tore down last year.

“This hotel is a critical component to our shared efforts with the city to bring new life to Waterville’s core,” Colby President David A. Greene said in the release. He said those efforts have already resulted in new investment in the city, hundreds of new jobs, an increased population and rising property values.

The college announced plans for the hotel after a downtown planning process that included local stakeholders and civic leaders. City Council had adopted measures that said key elements of the downtown revitalization framework were to enliven the southern gateway of Main Street and attract visitors to downtown.

Charlestowne also expects to attract those who “are seeking to explore the mountains, lakes, and forests in the area as well as visitors to the Colby College Museum of Art and the forthcoming center for contemporary art and film on Main Street, the release said.

Part of downtown’s redevelopment

“Baskervill and Charlestowne have been exceptional partners in the development of this property,” Clark said in the news release. “Through their expertise and creativity in hotel design and management, they have provided us with plans for a hotel that will become a destination for people from afar looking to take advantage of all that the region offers and for Waterville-area residents seeking a different kind of dining experience.”

“We were thrilled to be selected as we see great potential in Waterville and know the project will fill a need in the market,” said Charlestowne President and COO Michael Tall. “We’ve seen a rise in interest in smaller, culturally significant towns and believe Waterville is the perfect candidate for an independent hotel and restaurant that will draw people from across the street to across the state.”

The hotel will have approximately 50 rooms as well as meeting rooms, a fitness center and a restaurant designed to complement local establishments, the release said. The design will reflect the streetscape and incorporate local materials into a contemporary building “that will bring new life to the southern end of Main Street.”

“The design really speaks to the rhythm of reinvention and rebirth that's happened over time,” said Baskervill Principal and Lead Architect Robert Tierney. “Trade-inspired details and evocative references to Waterville's past will blend with eye-catching nods to the forward-thinking attitude of diversity that energizes Colby and the entire city of Waterville, laying the foundation for a bold architectural statement featuring contemporary art and furnishings.”

The reintroduction of a hotel to Main Street builds upon Waterville’s history of having great hotels downtown to support a thriving city core, the college said. The new hotel will be partially on the site of the the Crescent Hotel, which was razed decades ago.

The hotel, restaurant and bar will “reflect the distinctive nature of central Maine through their décor and menu options,” the release said. The restaurant will be on the ground floor and have seasonal outdoor dining in the small park next to the site.

The outdoor dining will create “a lively public venue on Main Street that will help enliven the Silver Street corridor and reinforce Waterville as a dining destination.”

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