Local developers submit lone proposal for RES site

By Gabriel Blodgett | Oct 30, 2019
Photo by: Gabriel Blodgett Rockport Crossing has submitted a proposal to develop the former RES site.

Rockport — The deadline for responses to the Request for Qualifications sent out by the town for the former Rockport Elementary School site passed with a single response from a local developer.

The proposal came from Rockport Crossing, a development group led by Douglas Clayton, which also includes James Clayton, Lauralee Clayton, and Andrew Kaplan, all of Camden.

The proposal calls for “an exciting mixed-use project comprising commercial, residential, and public recreational components.”

The project would “also address a critical shortage of affordable senior housing in Rockport and its surrounding towns.”

At the Oct. 28 Select Board meeting, Town Manager William Post said the next step is for the RES Redevelopment Committee to review the proposal before making a recommendation to the Select Board on how to proceed. Options include working with the developer or extending the deadline and advertising for more submissions.

The committee’s first meeting is scheduled for Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. at the Richardson Room of the Town Office.

The proposal states that Rockport Crossing intends to subdivide the land with 30 percent dedicated to a commercial zone, including parking, 30 percent for a residential zone and 40 percent for “greenspace and landscaped driveway.”

The residential zone, which would primarily be located on the property’s southern and eastern boundaries, would consist of approximately 30 log cabins relocated from the Point Lookout property. These would come in two-bedroom, one-bedroom, and studio options.

The cabins “would be marketed to target ‘snowbirds’ who prefer to spend the winter in warmer climates, but desire an affordable seasonal home in Rockport.”

The proposal includes a comparison to other senior living facilities in the area and states that there is a shortage of options in the $150,000 to $200,000 price range envisioned for the cabins.

The commercial complex would “house one or two commercial buildings of up to 4,000 square feet each… envisioned to attract professional tenants that will benefit from their proximity to a senior living community as well as the site’s high traffic strategic location.”

The developers envision a “traditional ‘Main Street’ look as one might encounter in the nicest parts of downtown Freeport or Nantucket,” with the potential for apartments above the commercial storefronts.

The developers also envision a number of recreational amenities including a village green, a picnic/rest area, a community garden and room for a farmer’s market, and a community center with a meeting room and fitness center.

The proposal states that while the residential portion would target seniors, “the public amenities will be for people of all ages.”

Additionally, the developers would like to promote an “eco-friendly ethos,” which would include on-site hydroponic farming and solar panels.

The proposal also includes a plan for a “focal element,” on the corner of Route 90 and Route 1, “which can serve as both a landmark and welcome center for the Town of Rockport as well as Rockport Crossing’s Commercial Complex.”

The list of potential options includes a gazebo, small tower, or “iconic sculpture or statue.”

According to the summary, the developers have “deep roots in the Rockport real estate market,”

The Developer Qualifications section of the proposal states that Douglas Clayton, the project lead, returned to the Midcoast area in 2016 to “focus on private investment in commercial and residential properties in Rockport Camden in Lincolnville,” after over three decades spent overseas.

It goes on to state that “while managing Leopard Capital he raised over $54 million from over 100 investors to invest in 17 small to medium-sized businesses and real estate projects in least developed countries such as Haiti and Cambodia.”

According to their website, Leopard capital “manages private investments in frontier markets,” and a 2012 article in the New York Times stated that in 2007 Clayton “started the first investment fund focused on Cambodia.”

The same article states that in 2012 Leopard Capital also “started the first big investment fund in Haiti, backed by economic development organizations like the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation” and was considering starting portfolios in countries such as Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Mongolia.”

The Developer Qualifications section states that James Clayton retired from dentistry in Camden to become a licensed real estate broker, before shifting full-time into real estate development and investment. He and his wife, Lauralee, have owned and improved “nearly a hundred local projects.”

Douglas Clayton is James and Lauralee Clayton’s son.

Kaplan is a private investor living in Camden who “has purchased or developed residential properties over the past decade in various parts of Maine,” and “serves as a director of several venture-backed companies.”

The proposal lists 34 commercial and residential projects undertaken by the principals in the Rockport and surrounding towns, including most recently the former auto dealership at 330 Commercial St. in Rockport, which currently houses Midcoast Weddings and Special Events and Salon Suites by the Sea.

The list also includes several commercial properties on Elm Street in Camden including the Wellness Center and the Blue Harbor House Inn, a seven-unit condominium project on Wiltshire Place off of Union Street in Camden, and a number of residential properties they have renovated and sold.

The proposal lists Phi Builders + Architects, Gartley & Dorsky Civil Engineers, Camden Law, and Dwelling in Maine as consultants for the project.

 

 

Comments (4)
Posted by: James Clinton Leach | Oct 31, 2019 20:34

Come on Allen, Saddle up..



Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Oct 31, 2019 17:39

It sounds like there is an effort to zone with a look of our "Maine" as it should be. Preserved!  No High rises.

Progress will come to Maine and thanks to the people it will be preserved as Maine was and should ever be.

I am ever hopeful!



Posted by: Allen Mitchell | Oct 31, 2019 06:29

This plan does not even come close to being realistic. Sure, take away a place for our youth to play sports, and cram in more stuff then zoning should  allow. 30 condos, 2 commercial buildings, multiple parking lots and more  ?????



Posted by: Dale Hayward | Oct 30, 2019 17:57

The best plan to date, tons of money and visionary.

 



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