WATERVILLE — Work has begun to demolish the first of four Colby College-owned buildings as part of multimillion-dollar downtown revitalization efforts that will include a new student dormitory and a possible boutique hotel.

On Friday, the front brick-and-mortar steps of the former Elks building at 13-15 Appleton St. had been removed in preparation for tearing the building down and replacing it with a parking lot. Demolition of the building will take about two weeks, and then Costello Dismantling Co., of West Wareham, Massachusetts, the company doing the work, will begin tearing down the former Levine’s building at 9 Main St., according to Kate Carlisle, Colby’s director of communications.

The Appleton Street building most recently was used by Resurrection Life Church, which moved to Ridge Road. Carlisle said two large white columns on front of the building are being saved and will be donated to the Waterville Elks Lodge, which hopes to use them at its Industrial Road location.

Workers have removed debris inside the Appleton Street building and have set up dust and safety control measures.

“That location is really key to continued progress downtown, as its intended re-use will ease concerns about parking at the north end of Main Street,” Carlisle said in an email.

Workers on Friday were continuing to remove debris from inside the former Levine’s store. In about two weeks, they will start removing debris from inside 173 Main St., also known as the Hains Building. That building will be renovated and the technology firm Collaborative Waterville, a subsidiary of Collaborative Consulting, will inhabit the upper two floors of the building when renovation is complete.


“I am told that some of the beautiful trim and millwork in the building will be saved and incorporated into the new interior design,” Carlisle said. “I’ve been in the building, and there are some great decorative features.”

A schedule for demolition of the former Waterville Hardware building at 14-20 Main St., across the street from Levine’s, has not been determined, according to Carlisle.

Colby is investing millions of dollars as part of efforts by the college, the city and business advocates to revitalize downtown and draw more people to live, work and visit there. Colby is partnering with investors to develop retail sites, arts entities, offices and other uses downtown and plans to buy the northeast corner of The Concourse at the heart of downtown to build a student housing complex there with retail shops on the first floor. The housing would be for students and staff members affiliated with a special community service program Colby is developing.

The city agreed on a $300,000 selling price for The Concourse property. City Manager Michael Roy said Friday that it has not been sold yet.

“I certainly hope that it’s within this month that the sale is completed — in September,” he said.

Colby officials have said they want to develop a boutique hotel downtown and have identified the former Levine’s property as a possible site for it.


Meanwhile, visitors to downtown will see a lot of activity in the next few weeks.

“Things are really moving along, and by October, signs of progress toward a revitalized downtown will be very visible on Main Street,” Carlisle said.

Roy said he is confident that Costello will do a fine job of ensuring the razing of structures will be done safely because of what he has been told by Colby officials about the contractor. Like Carlisle, Roy said revitalization efforts are ramping up and the demolition work is just the beginning of more exciting things to come.

“I think it’s certainly another example of Colby’s commitment to continue with their part in the downtown revitalization,” he said. “It certainly represents a very definite commitment on their part to continue.”

Mayor Nick Isgro concurred when reached Friday for comment on the efforts.

“I think this is very exciting because it’s exactly what we have been waiting one-and-a-half years to see,” Isgro said Friday. “We’ve talked about it since before I was elected, and now we’re really seeing something happening downtown.”


Isgro praised Colby’s hiring of Paul Ureneck, Colby’s director of commercial real estate, to oversee the revitalization efforts and said the city is lucky to have him on Main Street.

“I think, with all of these projects in his hands, the community can feel like we have probably one of the most knowledgeable people in the state handling this,” Isgro said. “Paul’s an amazing person who has had an amazing career, and this is what he does.”

Others who have followed in Colby’s footsteps in purchasing buildings downtown.

Bill Mitchell, owner of GHM Insurance agency on Main Street, bought two historic buildings last year on Common Street and is developing those buildings. He partnered with The Last Unicorn to open The Proper Pig restaurant in one of the Common Street buildings.

Colby alumnus Justin DePre and his father and his brother, both named Thomas, bought two buildings on Main Street next to the Hains Building and are working to renovate them, and Massachusetts businessman Mark McLeod bought the former Ken-A-Set building on Main Street recently and hopes to develop a brew pub and nightclub there.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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