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September 7, 2020

Pandemic drives surge of hotel transactions

Courtesy / Daigle Commercial Group Ocean Woods Resort in Kennebunkport sold in an off-market deal to hotel investor Tim Harrington, who is renovating the property for a spring 2021 reopening.

The completion of four lodging transactions just before and during the advent of the pandemic was only the start of an unexpected surge of activity that has continued through the health crisis.

“We have been incredibly busy during the pandemic with unanticipated sales and several new listings,” said Daigle Commercial Group owner Roger Daigle. “Our inquiries have practically doubled, since the pandemic hit the lodging industry particularly hard."


Finalized just before the pandemic was the sale of Ocean Woods Resort in Kennebunkport.

Goose Rocks Hotel LLC bought the resort, at 71 Dyke Road, from OWR LLC for an undisclosed price. 

Daigle Commercial Group, as the only broker in the transaction, represented Tim Harrington as a buyer and partner of Goose Rocks Hotel LLC. The deal closed  Feb. 27. 

Located a half-mile from Goose Rocks Beach, the resort comprises a restaurant and hotel complex of 32 rooms and suites, a small pub and an outdoor pool that take up 4.5 acres of the 10-acre property. Woods surround the complex, with a marshland beyond the woods.

Harrington is also a partner in the nine-hotel Kennbunkport Resort Collection and owns Sandy Pines Campground in Kennebunkport with Deb Lennon.

Tim Harrington.

Harrington is making capital improvements to upgrade the property, Daigle added. The resort’s website indicates renovations will be completed in the spring of 2021.

The property was not listed. But Daigle said that, when he was contacted by Harrington, he reached out to Kathleen Spang, who owned the resort with her husband, Peter Morton and they were receptive to exploring the possibilities of a sale. 

Spang grew up in the area and in the hospitality business. In 1968, her parents started a campground and also owned a motel, both near Ocean Woods Resort. 

In 2007, she bought the resort, which was built in 1984 and was called at the time the Inn at Goose Rocks. 

“When we bought it, it was in such disrepair,” she said. “The well went dry the first season. That was the beginning of many issues. We just kept battling through it and made it really much more acceptable and worthy of what it should be like.”

Spang expected to continue running the resort, which she operated from May through October, for at least another few years. But when Daigle called with a potential buyer, the timing seemed right.

Courtesy / Kathleen Spang
Sellers Kathleen Spang and Peter Morton.

“I thought, the market’s really good now and since I have someone who’s willing to buy it, I should just get out of the business,” she said.

The closing occurred just before the pandemic hit.

“I was really lucky and fortunate that I sold it when I did,” she said. 

Additional activity

Daigle subsequently brokered three other hotel transactions and closed them within a couple of weeks of each other in late February and early March:

• Kittery Inn & Suites at 70 US Route 1, Kittery: Sold to Kittery Inn Holding LLC by Maine Exchange Services LLC & Fifty-Nine Old Post Rd LLC. The deal closed Feb. 28. 

• Majestic Regency Resort at 102 Post Road, Wells: Sold to AA Ryan LLC by Majestic Regency Motel LLC. The deal closed Feb. 28. 

• York Microtel at 6 Market Place Drive, York: Sold to Super York LLC by Heyland LLC and York Village Hotel LLC. The deal closed March 19, just as the pandemic was taking hold.  “I picked up my commission check in the parking lot of the bank, because the bank wouldn’t allow us to come in,” said Daigle.

Courtesy / Daigle Commercial Group
The sale of the York Microtel finalized just as the pandemic was taking hold.

Daigle Commercial Group represented the sellers in each deal. Sale prices were undisclosed. 

Under contract

The firm now has four lodging properties under agreement, three of which are scheduled to close soon. They include a resort on Mount Desert Island, a franchised inn in Bangor and an Ogunquit motel that consists of a four-building complex on 1.15 acres with 42 guest rooms and suites. The list price is $4.2 million.

Among Daigle’s active listings is a property that has generated considerable interest lately — Brunswick’s Daniel Hotel, formerly known as Captain Daniel Stone Inn, which dates to 1819. Inquiries from potential buyers have nearly doubled since the pandemic hit.

“We’ve had quite a few showings recently,” he said. “It’s as if there’s a frenzy to acquire properties and to explore hotel-motel opportunities of all types and prices from $1.5 million to $20 million. There are buyers who are looking for deals, thinking that owners will be looking to get out of the hotel business because of the pandemic. Those buyers and investors are looking at the long term prospects and hoping things will rebound in 2021.”

He recently listed five new properties, including the Rangely Inn, two Old Orchard Beach properties, a Ramada Inn, and off-market properties in Wells and Saco. 

Buyers are investors or owner-operators, both from Maine and out-of-state. Some, but not all, have backgrounds in the hotel industry, Daigle said. Some of the sellers are retiring. Others are taking advantage of the strong market, he said.

“This has certainly been a summer season like no other over the course of my 35 years in this great industry,” he said.


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