MDI businessman buys Ellsworth hotel property

Posted July 24, 2009, at 8:26 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Bar Harbor-based hotelier who has been aggressively expanding his holdings for more than a year is adding another commercial lodging property in Hancock County to his list of hotels.

David J. Witham, owner of the Bar Harbor Inn and six other hotels in Bar Harbor, has purchased the unfinished Hampton Inn on High Street in Ellsworth that is being built on a former Maine Department of Transportation lot.

The sale of the 4.26-acre property from Local Yokel LLC to Ellsworth HI LLC is listed in the Hancock County Resgistry of Deeds as having taken place on July 16. Witham is listed as the registered agent for Ellsworth HI LLC in the Maine secretary of state’s online corporate registry database.

The sale price of the property was not publicly available Friday afternoon. The estimated cost of constructing the 86-room hotel, according to documents on file at Ellsworth City Hall, is $5.3 million.

Witham, contacted Friday afternoon by phone, confirmed that he has purchased the property. He said he hopes to finish constructing the hotel and have it open by Memorial Day 2010.

He said that after he found out a hotel was being built on the property, he approached Peter Anastos, co-owner of Maine Course Hospitality Group, and asked whether the group would be willing to sell. He said he still plans to open the hotel as a Hampton Inn. The Hampton Inn company is owned by Hilton Hotels, he said.

“I always liked the site,” Witham said. “Hilton puts out a quality product.”

Freeport-based Maine Course Hospitality Group, which received city approval in February to begin construction of the hotel, purchased the lot from the DOT in June 2008 for $1.4 million.

The purchase is the second recent one in the Ellsworth area for Witham. In May he bought the White Birches Motel, just over the city line on U.S. Route 1 in Hancock, from businessman Dale Hadlock. The White Birches has 67 rooms and suites and a nine-hole golf course.

Other hotels owned by Witham or the Witham Family Trust, of which he is the CEO, are the Acadia Inn, Atlantic Oceanside Hotel, Aurora Inn, Bar Harbor Grand Hotel, Best Western Inn and Quality Inn, all of which are in Bar Harbor.

The acquisition of the Hampton Inn gives Witham either sole or part ownership of nine hotels in the Ellsworth and Mount Desert Island area. The hotels have an estimated total of more than 900 rooms and an estimated cumulative value of approximately $40 million.

BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY BILL TROTTER

The Hampton Inn, which is scheduled to open by June 2010, has been purchased by Bar Harbor hotelier David J Witham. Witham owns seven hotels in Bar Harbor, including the shorefront Bar Harbor Inn.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/07/24/business/mdi-businessman-buys-ellsworth-hotel-property/ printed on October 1, 2014