UPDATED: New 65-room hotel planned for Rockland's waterfrontArchitect: 'Evokes style of grand hotels of 100 years ago'
Rockland — Plans for a 65-room hotel overlooking Rockland Harbor and the boardwalk near Boston Financial have been submitted to the Rockland Code Office.
Stuart Smith, of Rockland Harbor Park, LLC., submitted the proposal Feb. 3. He said it will be called the Rockland Harbor Park Inn.
The project is expected to cost about $6.5 million, Smith said.
Architect John Hansen said Wednesday, Feb. 5, as he was working on drawings for the project, that this will be a luxury hotel.
"It evokes the style of the grand hotels of 100 to 150 years ago," he said.
He said the goal is to create something that will look like it belongs on the waterfront, to attract people and serve as an asset to the community.
The proposal calls for the hotel to be constructed along Ocean Street, which is the area adjacent to the gazebo next to the boardwalk on the waterfront. (It is listed as part of the property at 12 Water Street in paperwork on file at the Code Enforcement Office). The gazebo would be moved toward Boston Financial as part of the plans.
The building will be built out from the slope along the harbor and will appear to have varying heights depending on where you are standing, according to Bill Lane of Gartley & Dorsky Engineering, which provided drawings for the project. He said it will be as high as four stories in places.
The project also includes converting the former Amalfi on the Water restaurant, which was located in the bottom floor of the Boston Financial building, into a fitness center and daycare.
In total, it is estimated 27 employees would be needed for the hotel and eight for the fitness center and daycare.
On Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 5:15 p.m., the Planning Board is expected to have a pre-application meeting on the project.
Smith said the inn will be open year-round and will be a family-owned and operated business.
Smith is also the owner of the Breakwater Marketplace on Camden Street, Maine Sport in Rockport, the Grand Harbor Inn in Camden and Lord Camden Inn, along with several other area properties.
He said the rooms in the Rockland Harbor Park Inn will be similar to those in the other two inns he and his wife, Marianne, own. These will not be the typical rooms seen in chain hotels, he said.
Smith said he sees the inn becoming an integral part of the community, drawing guests for a week or more at a time. It is located close to the downtown and would allow guests an opportunity to walk to the city's shops, museums, galleries and restaurants.
He also stressed that the public will still have access to the boardwalk and water. In fact, he expects some enhancements to the boardwalk including new benches and seating. Since the inn will be open year-round, he said going forward snow will be cleared from the boardwalk to allow full access.
He said he sees a demand in the community for hotel rooms, especially during Rockland's summer festivals including the North Atlantic Blues Festival, Maine Boats Homes & Harbors and the Lobster Festival. During those events, he has seen demand for rooms in his Camden inns rise.
Smith said there are no plans to include a public restaurant in the inn, but it will serve breakfast to guests.
Lane said the construction of the hotel may be planned for the off-season, perhaps in fall, to minimize disruption to other activities in the area during the busy spring and summer tourist season.
He anticipates work on converting the restaurant space will start before work on the hotel itself.
Smith said construction may start in the late fall, but that depends on its approval at planning board.
In addition to Planning Board approval, the project will require approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to modify an existing permit.
Rockland Harbor Park, LLC owns the property.
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Daniel Dunkle is editor of The Courier-Gazette and news director for Courier Publications. He lives in Rockland with his wife, Christine, who also works for Courier Publications, and two children.
Dunkle has previously served as editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast. He has worked as a reporter and photographer in the Midcoast for 15 years.