HALLOWELL — A prominent vacant downtown lot has changed hands, thus scrapping the previous owner’s plans to put a building there with storefronts and condominiums.

Instead, the lot at 116 Water St. could become home to outdoor seating or other uses for the adjacent Quarry Tap Room, the owners of which bought the property Wednesday.

Quarry Tap Room co-owner Steve LaChance said the partners in that business bought the lot because it is next to their business, but they haven’t made plans yet for how they will use it.

However, he said the possibilities include outdoor seating or other uses associated with the bar and restaurant. For now, he said, they’ll use it for parking.

“We’re not quite sure right now. We’ll use it for parking but plan to do something with it longer term,” said LaChance, a partner in the business with Chris Vallee and Larry Hunter. “We own next door, so it makes sense. If we want to grow anything there, it makes sense we’ll need it. We just closed yesterday afternoon, so it’s a little premature. We purchased it and we’re looking to develop it down the road.”

Vallee, a local real estate agent, said the purchase gives the Quarry Tap Room more waterfront and space for plans they’ll develop over the fall and winter and unveil in the spring.


“It will be big, and something awesome for the city, something everybody in town is going to love,” Vallee said. “And we’re going to do it right.”

He said their plans are not for a building on the spot.

Terry Berry, a local real estate agent and the former owner of the property, said he sold it because he was offered what he thought was a fair market price, which will free up money to put toward other projects, including a plan to develop a property at the corner of North and Water streets.

“The offer was something I was willing to accept, and it freed up some of my cash to go and do some other things,” Berry said. “I’d just started with the architect. We’d come up with a concept we were going to propose to the Planning Board. Now I’ll just move the architect from that up the street” to his planned project redeveloping the lot at North and Water streets, in the area of Bolley’s Famous Franks.

Berry had planned to construct a new building on the 116 Water St. lot, which has been vacant since a former furniture store there burned decades ago. His plans included a building with space for three storefronts at the street level and six condominiums on the upper two floors.

Now, obviously, those plans are off.


The lot, like much of downtown Hallowell, is in the floodplain, so a new building there would have to meet federal flood insurance rules, including that it be watertight to prevent floodwater from entering.

Vallee said for now the lot will remain available for parking for their business and the Easy Street Lounge.

“We need some time to make some plans and see how it fits into our plans next door,” LaChance said. “It’s a nice piece of property. It’s been vacant for a while. When (Berry) decided he might want to let it go, we took the opportunity.”

Vallee said the Quarry Tap Room, which opened in May, has been very busy.

Berry said he sold the lot for $155,000.

“I was offered what I felt was a fair market price, and I’ve got a couple of other projects coming up,” Berry said when asked why he decided to sell rather than develop the lot.


His other local projects include one he said is wrapping up, putting in condominiums in the area behind Slates restaurant. His next project is likely to be developing about an acre of land he bought, which now has three older buildings on it, at the corner of North and Water streets. He said he could see businesses such as a Mobile on the Run, Dunkin’ Donuts, a bank branch or retail shop as potential occupants of the site.

Berry, whose real estate office is about 20 feet from the vacant lot, said he’s interested in what ends up being put there.

The lot was home to Verstein’s Furniture Co., which is believed to have burned in 1949. It has remained undeveloped since then. Berry bought the property in 2008.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647


Twitter: @kedwardskj

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