ROCKLAND — The Rockland Planning Board agreed Tuesday night, Dec. 7 an application for a new multi-story downtown building was complete, and set a site visit and public hearing for Jan. 4.

The building, titled Candy Harbor, would replace the existing building at 470 Main St. The Planning Board reviewed the proposal at its meeting at City Hall.

Daniel Dalrymple of Rockland urged the city to have the existing building preserved. He said the building is an irreplaceable piece of Rockland’s early history, pre-dating when the community was named Rockland. He said the 1839-constructed building may be the oldest remaining commercial building in Rockland with most of the downtown replaced by brick structures starting in the 1850s.

He said the building is visible in an 1849 panoramic painting of downtown Rockland, located at the Farnsworth.

The property is located in an area of downtown included on the National Register of Historic Places. The properties from 428 to 497 Main St. were added to the register in January 2012. The city had requested the designation.

Owners of buildings in the district are not limited to what they can do to their buildings by the historic designation if no government dollars are being used.

The street level of the new building will be used for a retail or wholesale business. Two apartments will be on the upper floors. The property is owned by Amy O’Donnell of Tenants Harbor. O’Donnell also owns the adjacent building at 474 Main St. The 470 Main St. lot is L-shaped and runs in back of 474 Main and goes to Lindsey Street.

The existing wooden building will be demolished. The current building is two-and-a-half stories with a footprint of about 1,200 square feet. O’Donnell purchased the property in January 2020.

Senior engineer Andrew Hedrich told the Planning Board the developer and engineers initially looked at preserving and renovating the building, but the structure was in great disrepair. He said the foundation is turning to rubble in places and the walls to the building are rotted.

The plan calls for rebuilding the parking lot to the rear of the building, and there is expected to be room for four spaces to serve the tenants of the residential units.

The architect is Zel Bowman-Laberge. The exterior of the new building will have a natural cedar color with white trim and white trim around the double-hung windows.

The project is expected to be completed in 2022.

The Planning Board found the project complete and scheduled a site visit for 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4, to be followed by a public hearing that evening at 5:15. Final approval could be granted that night.

The existing building at 470 Main St. in Rockland would be demolished. Stephen Betts