The steel ‘skeleton’ frames for new buildings at Lyman-Morse on Camden Harbor are nearing completion, with one more structure to be erected.

The project, which started in January, is on schedule for opening the new buildings in April or May 2022, according to Joshua Moore, special projects director. All the while, the company has continued boat service work through all phases of construction.

When the new buildings open, and the company welcomes people back to walk along the boardwalk, it’s very important for them to know they’re in a working boatyard, Moore said Oct. 1. “That has been a guiding principle right from day one.”

The steel skeletons should be done by the end of October. Then building exteriors will be constructed to close the buildings in and interiors will be finished during the winter.

“The schedule is tracking very closely to what was envisioned. To get a project of this size done in that short a period is a very aggressive timeline,” he said.

The lead construction team is Lajoie Brothers Inc. of Augusta. “They are building and overseeing the project for us, and they are spectacular,” Moore said. The project is using Maine contractors whenever possible.

From the eastern side of the construction site, the steel structures are in place for several buildings: the Blue Barren distillery and bar; the lounge where customers can relax, “feel the ground beneath them,” shower and do laundry; and the company administration building, which includes service manager offices.

From left, are steel skeletons for a new company office building, customer lounge, and distillery and bar at Lyman-Morse on Camden Harbor. Photo by Susan Mustapich

The last steel structure to be erected is for a restaurant, which will be nearly the same height as the other buildings, and has been reduced in size from original plans, according to Moore. The restaurant will be located in front of the large metal boatwork facility building, the only structure not demolished following a June 2020 fire.

At the west end of the complex, a new boatwork building is further along than the rest, with exterior sheeting and siding, windows, and huge bay doors in place.

This building is located towards the back of the yard. It is where rigging will be stored and will contain the mechanic, carpentry, and electronic shops. It runs parallel to and butts up against the large boatwork building.

It replaces the collection of joined wooden buildings, damaged by the fire, that were a familiar sight on the harbor as long as anyone can remember.

A new boatwork building at Lyman-Morse on Camden Harbor will be the first to be completed. Photo by Susan Mustapich

Lyman-Morse is “moving as fast as we can because we need to get up and running,” Moore said. Having the service department operating out of trailers at the top of the hill above the large boatwork building is not ideal, he said.

The large boat facility was completely rehabilitated in summer of 2020, with new insulation, roofing, lighting and heat system. That winter, while the old buildings were removed, and groundwork for the new buildings began, service work on customers’ boats continued inside the building.

The construction project “has not been straightforward in any way, shape or form, just like every boat project,” Moore said. “Everybody’s been flexible and adjusted as we go and it’s gone very well.”

The view of Camden’s inner harbor from the Lyman-Morse dock is beautiful any time of year. Photo by Susan Mustapich