Hotel deal gets strong support from Bangor City Council

Posted July 08, 2013, at 10:09 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Ocean Properties’ plan to build a 130-room hotel in a prime spot received enthusiastic support from the Bangor City Council on Monday night.

With no opposition, the council authorized the execution of a development agreement between the city and the hotel developer. Ocean Properties, which owns more than 100 hotels and resorts in North America, plans to build a 130-room hotel on the property, according to city officials. The company has said it will invest at least $18 million in the development with construction beginning no later than July 2014.

The city announced the $565,000 sale of the 3.13-acre Dutton Street lot behind the Irving gas station on July 5. The hotel would be built next to the Cross Insurance Center, which is expected to open this fall.

The development will be vital for the city, as more people come in for concerts, events and conferences at the new arena. A recent appearance by the band Phish highlighted the need for more hotel space, as there were few rooms to be found in the Bangor area, councilors said.

Councilor James Gallant said that having a hotel next to the new arena would draw more and larger conferences to the city because it could provide a satellite venue for speakers and shows that overflow from the new convention center next door. Those larger conferences, events and shows could create a need for even more hotel space, restaurants and entertainment offerings.

“It’s a very exciting news for Bangor,” Councilor Ben Sprague said. “It’s really a sign that we’re on the move.”

Sprague said he would like to see property taxes from the hotel be used to fund tax relief for the city’s taxpayers.

“This is really a vote of confidence in the city of Bangor,” Councilor Joe Baldacci said.

Tanya Emery, Bangor’s economic development specialist, said after Monday’s meeting that Ocean Properties is scheduled to submit preliminary plans by the end of August, with a final plan to be presented in November for review by the city’s planning board in winter.

An Ocean Properties subsidiary previously had signed a purchase and sales agreement with Bangor Publishing Co., owner of the BDN, to purchase its headquarters on the corner of Main and Buck streets. That deal fell through.

Ocean Properties has offices in Portsmouth, N.H., and Delray Beach, Fla. It owns several hotel and resort properties in Maine, including the Samoset Resort in Rockport and the Bar Harbor Regency.

Also at Monday night’s meeting, the council voted to:

• Authorize a contract of up to $2 million to allow JM Brown Construction of Hermon to design and build an office complex at Bangor International Airport for C&L Aerospace.

• Accept a nearly $1.9 million bid from Lane Construction to complete paving projects for the year. The city received three bids, with the lowest being Lane’s and the highest coming it at nearly $2.5 million.

• Accept a deed from the owner of 177 Pearl St., who owes nearly $34,000 in unpaid taxes. The owner offered to hand over the deed in return for forgiving the outstanding tax obligations. Technically, because the liens against the vacant home had matured, the city legally owns the property but had not taken possession of it. The city could fix up the property, which is assessed at $82,000, recoup the lost taxes and turn a profit, according to officials. City councilors and staff have expressed interest in cracking down on property owners who are delinquent in their tax payments, some by nearly 20 years. Of the city’s 10,743 taxed properties, 117, or a little more than 1 percent, have matured liens against them, according to city records.

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