BAR HARBOR, Maine — An international resort hotel company is hoping to tap into the popularity of Maine’s signature seafood dish with a pier renovation project on West Street.
Ocean Properties, which owns 10 hotels in Maine and more than 100 hotel properties in the United States and Canada, is rebuilding the pier that housed Stewman’s Downtown restaurant and Stewman’s Scoops, an adjacent ice cream parlor and souvenir shop.
Eben Salvatore, Ocean Properties’ director of local operations, said Thursday that the rebuilt Stewman’s Downtown will resemble a traditional Maine dock restaurant.
“We want to promote Maine lobster as much as we can,” Salvatore said.
The new pier and the buildings on it will be the same size as the ones they are replacing, Salvatore said. According to documents on file at the town’s planning office, the new 13,000-square-foot pier is expected to cost $2 million to build.
The main purpose of tearing everything down and starting from scratch is to move one of the buildings closer to the West Street sidewalk and to build a new, more modern kitchen for the restaurant, Salvatore said. The pier will have steel pilings drilled into rock ledge beneath the buildings and more traditional wooden pilings under the open part of the pier, he said.
“Both buildings will be right up by the sidewalk,” Salvatore said. “We wanted a new, up-to-date kitchen.”
Each of the buildings on the pier will have direct access to the West Street sidewalk from their second floors, he said. The buildings are being pre-fabricated so they can be loaded onto the rebuilt pier and completed as quickly as possible, he said.
Access to the main part of the pier will be by a ramp that will slope down toward the pier deck between the buildings, as was the case with the old pier. The new ramp off West Street will have less of a slope because the pier deck is being built a few feet higher off the water than the previous one. The new ramp will be built to support vehicles, Salvatore said, which will enable fishermen and seafood trucks to drive onto the pier.
He said there will be enough open space on the pier for trucks to load and unload and to turn around. According to plans on file at the town’s planning office, there will be a pedestrian ramp leading to a dock float on the northeast corner of the pier.
The company’s only commercial plans for the pier are to continue using it for the restaurant and ice cream and souvenir shop, Salvatore said, but it might also end up serving a more traditional waterfront purpose.
“It could, someday, be a traditional lobster pound,” he said.
Salvatore said the company hopes to have the pier and buildings complete and open for business by Memorial Day.