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November 25, 2019

Colby tops off Lockwood Hotel in Waterville

A crane lifts an evergreen and American flag to the top of a steel frame for a strucutre as two workers on a girder steady it. Photo / Maureen Milliken A topping-off ceremony was held Monday morning for Colby College's Lockwood Hotel in Waterville. The $26 million project is expected to be completed next year.

A topping-off ceremony Monday morning in Waterville for the Lockwood Hotel, now under construction, played more like a celebration of the city's resurgence.

“Every great city has a great downtown hotel,” Colby College President David Greene told a crowd of about 100 crammed in and around a tent at the Lockwood construction site. Greene called the topping off, which culminated in a crane lowering an evergreen and American glag onto a top girder of the steel structure, "an extraordinary moment for this city."

The college's $26 million hotel development is expected to be completed next year. But Greene made clear the hotel won’t top off what’s already been $70 million in investment in Waterville’s downtown.

“We’re not done,” he said.

Also speaking was Waterville business owner and developer Bill Mitchell, who said he’d warned Green there would be skeptics when Colby first proposed the hotel. But, he said, Colby has proved them wrong.

Over the years, he added, the city has come to the college’s aid. “And then times came when the community needed Colby’s help, and Colby stepped up, and this is one of those times,” Mitchell said. He said the "robust" city that's being created, not only by Colby, but other organizations and developers, "will be creating jobs for years to come."

"What an exciting time to be living and working in Waterville," Mitchell said.

A downtown street with the steel frame of a building in the background
Photo / Maureen Milliken
The Lockwood Hotel rises beyond Silver Street in Waterville. The hotel, on Main Street, is being buiilt by Colby College.

'Hallowed ground'

Greene citied Amos Lockwood, the man who built the mill complex across Spring Street from the hotel and for whom the hotel was named. Lockwood's "innovative spirit" helped create the city's economy, including jobs.

The 53-room Lockwood Hotel is being built by Landry French on the site of the former Levine’s Department Store at 9 Main St., and also on land that once housed the Crescent Hotel, built by Colby alumnus Reuben Dunn. 

Greene called the site “hallowed ground,” representing a business that was important to the community both economically and as a gathering place.

He envisions the hotel as serving Lockwood's spirit and Levine's community function.

He said the college’s commitment as well as the private commitment that has come with it will spur more investors in the city of 17,000.
“Maine needs a great city,” he said. “Waterville will be that place.”

The project has provided 250 construction jobs as it's being built, and will have 60 employees once it’s completed, Greene said.

The ceremony concluded with a crane raising an evergreen and American flag to the top of the steel frame of the structure.

The four-story hotel, which will include a full-service restaurant and bar, is the first hotel built in downtown Waterville in decades and will play a key role in driving economic benefits to the city in terms of taxes, jobs, and an increased number of overnight visitors who will also support local businesses, the college has said.

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