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April 10, 2018

Colby College buys Camden National building to add to hotel plan

Photo / Maureen Milliken Colby College is buying the Camden National Bank building at 33 Main St. in Waterville, right, as part of its plans for a hotel. The lot to the right of the bank is also part of that plan.

WATERVILLE — Colby College is buying the Camden National Bank building at 33 Main St., adjacent to the lot where it plans to build a hotel as part of that project.

The bank will move into the building the college is constructing three blocks away, at 150 Main St.

The bank announced Tuesday that it had signed a purchase-and-sale agreement with Elm City 9 LLC, the Colby College-owned affiliate company to sell the bank building.

The deal on the 37,000-square-foot building was for $750,000, said Brian Clark, Colby vice president of planning, by email Tuesday.

The deal also includes a parking lot on Front Street behind the bank building.

Acquisition of the property, adjacent to where the bank plans to build a hotel, will help the college expand its hotel plans, said Clark. The plans were originally for 42 rooms, but the college has “restarted” the planning process and may also rethink the size.

The college still plans to use the site it bought in June 2015 at 9 Main St. The college has since torn down the former Levine’s department store building on the site.

College officials have said that the fact Main Street is one-way, going east —with Front Street, behind the property, being one-way going in the other direction — makes the hotel site problematic.

The city, in partnership with the college, has paid for a study on making the street two-way, but the move is still in the study phase.

The college is building the hotel itself after severing an agreement with The Olympia Companies of Portland last month.

The hotel is part of the college’s $50 million revitalization effort on Main Street, which also includes construction of the Alfond Commons mixed-use building three blocks to the west.

Camden National is the first retail tenant in the 100,000-square-foot building, which will also include 52 student and faculty apartments, community areas and more retail.

The bank will lease 3,500 square feet in the building, in private deal between the bank and college, said Renee Smyth, Camden National executive vice president, chief experience and marketing officer.

'Excited to be on this journey'

The bank will occupy prime space in the building -- the southeast corner, at Main and Temple streets. Temple Street leads into the large Concourse parking lot.

Smith told Mainebiz that the new space won’t have a drive-thru, but will be more modern and able to accommodate the evolving technology needs of banking while still catering to traditional customers. The bank will sublease space in the Front Street lot for a drive-up smart functioning ATM.

“We’re excited to be on this journey with [Colby],” she said. “For our customers, it’s going to be great.”

The sale of 33 Main St. is expected to close in June, but the bank will stay in the space until it moves to the new building in the fall.

“We’re going to close [at 33 Main St.] at four or five on a Friday and open in the new space on a Monday,” she said. “There won’t be any interruption of service.”

“We are very committed to the Waterville region and appreciate the opportunity to serve our customers and the community with a new, modern location,” said Camden National Bank President and CEO Greg Dufour in the release. “As a fellow neighbor in downtown Waterville, we feel this is an exciting next step, for the entire community and we value the investment Colby College and the Alfonds have made in the community.”

Clark, of Colby, said in the release that the college is pleased that Camden National Bank plans to remain in downtown Waterville.

The bank also has a banking center on Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville and one in nearby Oakland.

The 33 Main St. building was built in 1920 as a bank building. Camden National inherited it in 2012, when it acquired 15 Bank of America branches in Maine.

Colby will likely tear down the building rather than renovate it, Clark said.

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