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Updated: November 12, 2021

Proposal would create four-season event venue in Oxford County

drawing with green border Courtesy / Sebago Technics, Left Turn Enterprises The proposed site layout for the lakefront property includes Norway Brewing, events space, recreation areas, a “great lawn,” docks and a walking path.

An investor group with local roots is hoping to create a four-season venue in the western Maine town of Norway.

The group, Left Turn Enterprises, is calling the proposal Lakeside Norway and envisions using two lakefront properties to create a site for year-round events. They would include live music, festivals and weddings; waterfront activities such as kayaking and ice skating; and demonstration areas for green landscaping and sustainable building practices.

The vision includes renovating a former corn canning factory, building a taproom and brewery, and installing a lawn and gardens.

The group recently hosted a walkthrough by Norway’s planning board and a public open house, Colin Ulen, one of the investors, told Mainebiz. 

“All have generated a significant amount of community support and input to our plans,” he said. “We are on track for a January submission of our development plan.”

Old ‘corn shop’

The project would be sited on two adjacent parcels on 6.5 acres, with 1,500 feet of lake frontage on the eastern bay of Lake Pennesseewassee, where there are already outdoor recreation and tourism attractions.

blue building exterior with pumpkins
Courtesy / Left Turn Enterprises
A proposal is in the works to renovate the blue building, an old corn canning factory, and the building with the rusted roof, an old train depot, to become centerpieces of a multi-use destination location in Norway.

The parcels have the addresses of 61 Lake Road and 0 Lake Road and are about a five-minute walk from Norway’s downtown, according to a project prospectus.

Existing infrastructure includes the 22,000-square-foot corn canning factory, which once packed sweet corn and succotash and is locally known as the “corn shop,” plus several smaller detached buildings and a landing area once owned by C.B. Cummings & Sons, a Norway wood products business dating back to the 19th century.

The project is the brainchild of Jason Shiers, who owns and operates Pleasant Hill Property Services LLC, a landscape company in Norway that caters primarily to second-home and lakefront property owners.

Shiers is the founder of Left Turn Enterprises and serves as the proposed project’s director of operations and business development.  He grew up on a farm in Gorham, taught school for a number of years, and started Pleasant Hill Property Services in 2008.

He said another downtown business owner introduced him to the corn shop property.

“I fell in love with the building,” he said. 

The owner offered to sell him the property, but Shiers didn’t have the money at the time.

Good at networking

Several years went by.

“My business grew,” he said. “I got involved with Maine Landscape & Nursery Association and with the Maine Flower Show, and it became clear to me that I was good at networking with folks.”

lake with shore
Courtesy / Left Turn Enterprises
The Lakeside Norway site — with docks, aquatic parking, and the old train depot and corn shop — is seen here from Lake Pennesseewassee.

Caring for lakefront properties, he said, he also learned about factors that affect the health of that ecosystem, such as water quality, erosion, and innovative landscaping technique to mitigate stormwater runoff. 

Shiers said he began to think about the corn shop property as a two-pronged opportunity — to initiate innovative landscaping techniques to demonstrate how they benefit the ecosystem; and to create a multi-use location that would benefit the larger community.

“I decided I wanted to do something with the property — not change it, but make it better,” he said. “The bones of the building are really good.”

Anchor tenant and investor

Shiers recruited a friend, Charles Melhus, who owns Norway Brewing Co.

“I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you could expand your brewing company to an actual canning facility with deep roots in Norway?’” said Shiers. “So we came up with the concept of creating a company called Left Turn Enterprises, to acquire this property so we could do some of these things.”

Shiers also recruited Ulen and Ulen’s wife Melissa, who had a home on the lake. Colin signed onto the project as its CFO and Melissa as its business development consultant. 

5 people at picnic table
Courtesy / Left Turn Enterprises
From left, Jesse Shiers; Left Turn Enterprises principals Jason Shiers, Colin Ulen and Charlie Melhus; and Melissa Ulen. Pending permits, Jason plans to run Lakeside Norway as a four-season events company. Melhus is the owner and master brewer of Norway Brewing, which has agreed to be a major tenant in the building. The Ulens are primarily investors and silent partners.

Over the following year, they started devising a plan for how Shiers would buy the corn shop property. The property’s owner liked the group’s vision and offered generous financing terms, he said.

With the Ulens as a significant investor and Malhus projected to be an anchor tenant, Shiers bought the property in June 2020 for $500,000 at a low interest rate and some deferment of payments. 

Looking into permit requirements, Shiers learned that the town would require him to build a parking lot for the type of project he had in mind.

He bought the next-door property, a vacant lot at 61 Lake Road, for $300,000.

“The terms weren’t as good, but we needed the property,” he said.

South Portland civil engineering company Sebago Technics and Portland law firm Kelly, Remmel & Zimmerman are working on site planning and permitting reviews for the project. Municipal and state permits will be needed to address building repairs, shoreland stabilization, stormwater runoff and environmental site remediation.

Pending permits, Shiers plans to run Lakeside Norway as a four-season events company. 

Ulen said the group has sought community feedback on the proposed project.

“Many people have appreciated our focus on the preservation, clean-up and improvement of the environment and stormwater management,” he said. “They have also appreciated our desire to maintain free community access to the lake for trails and fishing. Something that certainly wouldn’t happen if developed into private homes.”

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April 12, 2022

We hope for success. We view this as a "big" bucks project that will take 4+ years to develop if everything goes smoothly.

November 14, 2021

What will happen to the current tenants storage areas?

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