University of Maine System trustees voted Monday to move forward with a project that would turn two long-vacant buildings on the University of Maine’s campus in Orono into an on-campus, boutique hotel.
During a board meeting, the trustees voted unanimously for a resolution to complete negotiations and enter into a 99-year lease agreement with Radnor Property Group, LLC. In April, the university named Radnor as its choice to redevelop the historic Holmes and Coburn halls.
The developer would renovate the two buildings and build a 24,800-square-foot addition to Holmes Hall to create 87 guest rooms.
Under the agreement, Radnor would try to fund the project using a mix of historic tax credits and new market tax credits to reduce building costs, but the University of Maine would provide up to $1.7 million if the company didn’t get the credits. The project is expected to cost $17.2 million.
Construction would begin in February 2022 and be completed in May 2023, with a projected opening in summer 2023.
Before they closed in the early 2000s, Holmes Hall was an agricultural experiment station while Coburn Hall held administrative offices, a natural history museum, a library and classrooms. Both have been vacant since 2009, said Jake Ward, the University of Maine’s vice president for innovation and economic development.
“These buildings need to be something more than what’s just left behind,” said Trustee Emily Cain, who once had an office in Holmes Hall. “They’re so full of history, so full of beauty.”