ROCKLAND, Maine — A local businessman has proposed building a $6.5 million 65-room classic old New England hotel on the city’s waterfront.
Stuart Smith of Rockland Harbor Park LLC submitted plans this week to the city’s code enforcement office. Those plans will be reviewed by the Rockland Planning Board on Feb. 11 at a pre-application meeting.
The hotel would be located on Ocean Street on land currently occupied by a large gazebo and parking lot adjacent to the Boston Financial Data Services office complex. Smith is part owner of Rockland Harbor Park LLC which will continue to lease most of the office complex to Boston Financial. Rockland Harbor owns about 10 acres on the site which includes an existing marina and a restaurant that is leased to Archer’s on the Pier.
The hotel would have footprint of 20,000 square feet and consist of multiple levels with four stories on the water side and three on the street side. The hotel will include a restaurant but Smith said this will be primarily for hotel guests.
Stuart said he and his wife Marrianne saw a need for quality hotel rooms in Rockland.
“We want to recreate the look of the old classic New England hotels,” said Smith, adding that the design would include turrets.
The hotel will be located within walking distance to the downtown. This was important, he said, to allow guests who do not want to drive to be able to enjoy all that downtown Rockland has to offer. He said that the Grand Harbor Inn in downtown Camden often has guests who fly up to the airport in Owls Head and do not take cars with them as they spend time in the midcoast.
Space formerly used by Amalfi Restaurant in the adjacent office complex will be converted into a fitness center and day care center, according to the developer’s application.
The hotel, restaurant, fitness center and day care center would employ 35 people, the document states.
The proposed hotel and existing office building, marina and restaurant will require 495 parking spaces, according to local regulations. The plans call for 518 spaces.
Smith said it was important to him and his wife to keep public access to the waterfront. A boardwalk runs along the harborfront in front of their property.
Smith has developed many projects in the region including the Maine Sport Outfitters in Rockport and the Lord Camden Inn in Camden, the Grand Harbor Inn in Camden, and Bayview Landing in Camden. He also converted the Breakwater Marketplace in Rockland to offices and retail space.
He said he expects the planning and the approval process to take up much of this year with construction of the estimated $6.5 million project to begin in the fall.
This is the second hotel project being proposed in Rockland. The Lyman Morse boatbuilding company in Thomaston has proposed a five-story hotel at 250 Main St. but its future is in question because of a lack of parking on site.
Pleasant Street area residents turned out Monday night to oppose a plan to convert a residential lot in Pleasant Street to a valet parking lot for the Lyman Morse hotel.