BAR HARBOR, Maine — A proposal to construct a 103-room hotel on a hilltop site where a vacant former nursing home now stands has been approved by the local planning board.
A building permit application from the Witham Family Partnership and DBL Enterprises to build the hotel on the former Summit House property on Norman Drive was approved Feb. 6, according to Angela Chamberlain, the town’s interim planning director.
Stephanie Clement, conservation director for the group Friends of Acadia, said Friday that the developers have agreed to put a pitched roof on the building and to use a darker color scheme that should help the hotel blend in with the surrounding landscape. The existing flat-roofed building, though shorter than what the new hotel will be, is a light shade of pink and is fairly visible from parts of Acadia National Park, she said.
“I’m thankful they were willing to work with us,” Clement said. “I think this [design will be] better than what is there now.”
Clement added that, in keeping with local ordinances, the developers plan to install night sky-friendly exterior lighting on the hotel property.
According to David C. Witham, an official with the Witham Family Partnership, the four-story hotel is expected to be a Hampton Inn. He has said that because the site is not visible from Route 3, which is the main road to and from Bar Harbor, having an affiliation with Hampton Inn’s marketing and reservations network will help ensure that the hotel gets a steady stream of customers during the busy tourist season.
The Witham Family Partnership is headed by hotelier David J. Witham, David C. Witham’s father, who owns or co-owns 10 other hotel properties in Bar Harbor, one in Hancock and three in Ellsworth, including the Hampton Inn in Ellsworth. Of the partnership’s 10 hotels in Bar Harbor, only one of them — the Best Western Inn in the local village of Salisbury Cove — is affiliated with a national lodging chain.
DBL Enterprises has owned the 6-acre lot for at least the past 25 years, according to the town’s official assessing database. For tax purposes, the town has assessed the value of the property at approximately $850,000.
According to documents filed with the town, the existing three-story building, which has been empty for at least the past decade, will be demolished. A new hotel four stories tall and with 103 rooms will be built in the same approximate location as the existing building.
The new building and parking area is expected to take up roughly the same area as the existing building and parking lot, according to project officials. It also will have an outdoor swimming pool, which the lot currently does not have.
The estimated cost of the project is $8.8 million, according to documents. Belmont, N.H.-based Opechee Construction is expected to build the hotel in time for it to open by the spring of 2014.