BRUNSWICK, Maine — For years, different owners have struggled to make the Capt. Daniel Stone Inn a good option for those staying overnight in downtown Brunswick.
Now the Brunswick Housing Authority, working with the Midcoast Senior Community Housing Association, is investigating the possibility of redeveloping the inn on Water Street into mixed-income senior housing, BHA Executive Director John Hodge said Tuesday.
“For reasons beyond my understanding, it seems as though this property has had great difficulty in operating as a hotel/inn during the last several years,” Hodge wrote in a March 8 memo to the Brunswick Town Council, which Monday voted unanimously to submit a letter of intent to the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. He added that the BHA intends to apply for a housing assistance grant of up to $500,000 to allow it to purchase the inn from Saco and Biddeford Savings and renovate the building into housing units.
In November 2011, Saco and Biddeford Savings assumed ownership of the inn from John and Kim Verreault of Tourism Properties LLC, just two years after the couple spent more than $1 million renovating the inn and restaurant.
As envisioned by BHA and the group Midcoast Senior Community Housing Association, seniors would “live independently … in a community-based model in which they support one another.”
The proximity to services on Maine Street would be critical for seniors on fixed incomes, Hodge said, and the amenities at the inn, such as a weight room, hot tub and sauna, would be attractive to those who could pay market rate, making the project economically feasible for the developers.
Hodge said the group is scrutinizing the cost of the project — likely $2 million to $4 million — and financing options, including the state housing grant.
Plans are “very preliminary,” Hodge said, and the BHA will likely take the rest of 2013 to determine if the project is even feasible. If costs are not prohibitive, the project would still require rezoning by the town.
“We’re not certain we want to buy the property, but we definitely feel it’s worth looking into,” he said. “It’s a great location and, given where we are, it makes sense.”