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May 19, 2021

Presque Isle's historic Northeastland Hotel has new owners

Courtesy / Louise Hamlin A nonprofit group, Ignite Presque Isle, has purchased the Northeastland Hotel and plans to build out a portion of it as a co-working space.

The Northeastland Hotel, a fixture in downtown Presque Isle for nearly a century, has a new owner.

Ignite Presque Isle, a nonprofit community development organization, closed Monday on its purchase of the 50-room inn, according to a news release. The group plans to renovate the Northeastland and continue operations, while also building out some of the property as a co-working space and business center.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Ignite PI agreed to the purchase two months ago, backed partly with a $1.5 million grant from a local philanthropy, the Rodney and Mary Barton Smith Family Foundation. Ignite PI fundraised over $280,000 through individual gifts to come up with the balance, the release said.

All employees are staying on at the hotel and it will continue to be managed by Robin Doody, now under two Ignite PI staff, Jan Lucas and Clint Deschene. The hotel, at 436 Main St., may expand its food and beverage operations, according to the release.

Ignite Presque Isle was formed last December with help from the foundation and the Northern Maine Development Commission. The nonprofit is now working with the NMDC and the city of Presque Isle to seek Community Development Block Grant funding for new equipment and furniture.

City Manager Martin Puckett said, “Collaborating with Ignite PI and the Northern Maine Development Commission is exciting [opportunity] to pursue funds that can continue to revitalize our downtown. We are keeping a positive outlook and are hopeful to receive a notice of award in June of this year.”

The Northeastland is already beginning work with a construction consultant on the renovation plans. Deschene told Mainebiz in March that the hotel will add a 2,500-square-foot shared space for up to a dozen local startups, who will likely “graduate and find new spaces of their own" in the Presque Isle area.

The Northeastland opened in 1932, on the site of a former hotel that had burned down. The current establishment, which includes a restaurant and bar, has served as a popular hub for the Presque Isle community, hosting generations of travelers as well as local weddings, business meetings and civic events.

In 1950, the Northeastland added an elevator, one of the first in Presque Isle, according to the hotel. In 1988, the property was purchased by the local Hedrich family, who owned and operated it until this week’s sale.

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