ROCKPORT — Residents were given a tour of the unfinished interior of the Rockport Harbor Hotel on Friday, Jan. 21 as part of a two-day open house.

The hotel has been under construction for about a year and Tyler Smith, who is developing the project with his parents, Stuart and Marianne Smith, said he was excited to have people see the progress.

Tyler Smith points out that most of the materials used in building the Rockport Hotel are from Maine. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

The highlight of the tour was seeing the view from the top floor overlooking Rockport Harbor. Stuart Smith said this would be the location of a restaurant and bar. He noted the bar will likely be one imported from England that used to belong to Charles Cawley of MBNA.

In the lobby area, residents were offered a chance to write a messages on the underside of slates that will be installed on the roof, which Tyler called a “living time capsule.” He said most of the exterior was built with materials from Maine.

The curious got their first look inside the unfinished interior of the Rockport Hotel on Jan. 21. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Tyler said between 40 and 60 people have been employed in the construction project and the hotel will likely have as many as 35 employees, and perhaps more during the busy summer season.

The project will be going back to the Planning Board Jan. 27 due to an order from Knox County Superior Court Justice Bruce Mallonee. The board will consider the project in respect to parking requirements and architectural harmony.

Friends of Rockport, a group of residents in town, filed a court appeal of the original Planning Board approval of the project, arguing it blocks a scenic view and worsens the downtown parking shortage. The neighbors also led a petition drive that led to approval of new town ordinances, including one limiting the number of rooms to 20.

The plan has been for 26 rooms. Stuart Smith said that was reduced by combining some of the originally planned separate rooms into larger suites within the hotel.

The open house event drew about 20 visitors in its first hour. In addition to a tour of the building they were offered hot cider and cookies.

The top floor of the new Rockport Hotel will be a restaurant and bar with a view of the harbor. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

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