Michael Eremita. Credit: Courtesy of Kiley & Foley Funeral Home

Michael Eremita, a Bangor developer who with his business partner, Tom Valley, helped to develop the Bangor Mall area in the 1980s, died on March 31 at the age of 89.

According to his obituary, Eremita, the son of Italian immigrants, was born and raised in Dedham, Massachusetts, and studied business at Boston University. In 1953, he joined the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, where he met his friend and business partner, Tom Valley. In 1957, they founded Eremita & Valley, a development firm that would go on to spearhead some of the biggest commercial and residential developments in the Bangor area. The firm still exists today.

In addition to a number of homes and apartment complexes across Bangor, Eremita and Valley were among the first contractors to develop the area around the Bangor Mall and Hogan Road. The company built two strip malls in the area in the 1980s, including the Crossroads Mall on Stillwater Avenue, presently home to businesses including Day’s Jewelers and Firehouse Subs, and the Mid Mall, home to businesses including Bull Moose and Super Slow Zone. The pair also built the building on Union Street that is now the site of Penobscot Community Health Care.

Eremita sought out national chains to occupy those buildings, bringing businesses like Sizzler, Starbucks and the Hampton Inn to the area. Eremita & Valley also did work in southern Maine, including the development of the Ballpark at Old Orchard Beach, which was home to Triple-A minor league baseball teams the Maine Guides and the Maine Phillies in the 1980s.

Eremita met his future wife, Marilyn, on a blind date in 1958; they went on to have five children, all of whom survive him. Eremita and his family were longtime Brewer residents, though Eremita also had a summer home in Stonington. In addition to being a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Italian Heritage Club, Eremita designed and built the bell tower at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Brewer, where he and his wife were longtime parishioners.

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.