Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: June 20, 2023

Hotel group scoops up Saco dorm to help with workforce housing

house and lawn Courtesy / Migis Hotel Group Migis Hotel Group recently bought a 6,076-square-foot student dormitory at 95 King St. in Saco to provide workforce housing for professional restaurant employees at two of its properties.

Like many Maine employers these days, Migis Hotel Group has found that lack of affordable housing has made it challenging to recruit staff.

The company recently bought a 6,076-square-foot student dormitory at 95 King St. in Saco to provide workforce housing for professional restaurant employees at two of its local properties — Higgins Beach Inn and Black Point Inn.

The seller was Thornton Academy. The price was $784,000. 

Cheri Bonawitz and Karen Rich of Malone Commercial Brokers represented the buyer and Sylas Hatch and TC Haffenreffer of the Dunham Group represented the seller in the deal.

The handicap-accessible building, on 0.75 acre, includes 11 rooms, seven full bathrooms and one half-bath.

“Affordable housing, or the lack thereof, is a contributing  factor to part of the employee workforce challenges,” said Jesse Henry, director of marketing for Migis Hotel Group.

Migis Hotel Group, based in Westbrook, is a hospitality management services company operating independent hotels, destination resort properties and dining facilities. Its properties include Migis Lodge on Sebago Lake in South Casco, Black Point Inn in Scarborough, the Inn At Ocean's Edge in Lincolnville, the Sparhawk Oceanfront Resort in Ogunquit, 250 Main Hotel in Rockland, Higgins Beach Inn in Scarborough, the Elmwood in Waterville and the restaurants the Chart Room and Shade: Eatery at Higgins Beach Inn, both in Scarborough.

A number of the group’s properties, such as Migis Lodge on Sebago Lake, have some level of workforce housing on their campuses. 

But Higgins Beach Inn and Black Point Inn, both in Scarborough, do not — and affordable housing stock in the area is limited, Henry noted.

“So we chose to try to find or secure some affordable housing for our workforce,” he said.

After the sale closed, the dorm building filled almost immediately, occupied mainly by food and beverage professionals working at the two inns. 

“We felt we had to make this investment in order to secure the professional workforce we need so we could fully operate both of those properties,” he said. “We’ve been challenged, and we continue to be challenged, especially over the last few years out of the pandemic, with securing enough professional workforce to allow us to operate all aspects of both those businesses.”

Affordable housing is needed to help with recruitment at the company’s other properties as well, he added.

The company hadn’t been actively looking for a workforce housing option. But when they saw the dorm listing, it made sense.

“For the last couple of years, we’ve been actively putting most of our focus on obtaining the professional workforce we need,” he said. “That’s been our No. 1 focus. As we have internally reexamined our recruiting process and what we need to do to distinguish ourselves around obtaining the workforce resources we need, we felt that providing affordable housing made sense.”

He added, “So far, it’s been terrific.”

The company has completed a site plan review with Saco’s planning board to convert the building from a dormitory set-up with shared bathrooms and a shared kitchen, to six independent units, each with its own bathroom and kitchen. The units will mostly be two-bedrooms, with a four-bedroom in the main house and a one-bedroom. 

The company plans to begin the conversion this coming winter. The plan is to have the units available for six-month use for the company’s professional workforce, and perhaps for year-round use.

During the off-season, he added, the company might make units available for professionals in other industries.

The purchase was financed by Camden National Bank through Elliott Barry, a commercial banking officer.

A budget for the upcoming conversion projects hasn’t been finalized.  

To what degree does the property meet Migis Hotel Group’s workforce housing needs? 

“It’s not insignificant,” said Henry. “These are industry professionals coming to Maine for the season to work for us. This is a key recruitment and retention tool.”

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF