CAMDEN, Maine — A local developer has started converting a historic two-story, 12,000-square-foot brick building downtown into a 22-room hotel.
Developer Stuart Smith and his wife, Marianne Smith, expect the renovations at 16 Bay View St. will be done in June. Smith said once the Camden project is done, they plan to focus again on their proposed 65-suite, four-story waterfront hotel in nearby Rockland.
The Camden building most recently housed Peter Ott’s Restaurant and the Bay View Street Cinema which closed in 2007.
The new hotel also will feature a function hall and a restaurant that will seat 30 to 36 people.
Smith said Monday there is a need for more hotel rooms in Camden during the peak season and many visitors want to be right downtown. The hotel will be open year-round.
The building was constructed in 1907 by the Knights of the Pythias for their meeting hall. They rented a large portion of the building for Knox County’s first horseless carriage dealership, Smith said. There was one large elevator in the structure used to move motor vehicles from one floor to the next.
A new elevator is being installed in the four-story brick building for guests. The seats that had been used for the movie theater are being put into storage in the event some group such as the Camden International Film Festival is interested in them. The theater’s speakers are being donated to Camden Hills Regional High School.
The original metal beams in the building — which were erected by workers from local Camden shipyards in 1907 — are being retained.
The start of renovations on the Bay View Street property was delayed slightly because construction crews were finishing work on the new YMCA in Rockland. The Rockland code enforcement office issued the project a certificate of occupancy on Friday. The YMCA is leasing space in the waterfront building — co-owned by the Smiths — where Amalfi’s Restaurant had been.
The proposed 65-room hotel is proposed adjacent to where the YMCA is located.