WATERVILLE — City councilors Tuesday night will consider taking a final vote to lease spaces in the city-owned parking lot on Front Street to Colby College for use by a boutique hotel Colby plans to build at 9 Main St. on the site of the former Levine’s clothing store.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of The Center at 93 Main St. and will be preceded by an executive session at 6:45 p.m. to discuss a legal matter, according to City Manager Michael Roy.

The vote on the lease represents the final step in Colby’s process of negotiating with the city so the hotel can be built.

Councilors took a first vote April 4 to lease 30 spaces on the west side of the 60-space parking lot on Front Street exclusively to Colby for 40 years at a cost of $28 per space per month, which totals $840 a month, or $10,080 per year. Also, 12 spaces on the southeast part of the lot would be allowed for hotel use from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and for public use between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., according to a proposed agreement between the city and Colby.

After 20 years, the cost to lease the west side of the lot would increase to $50 per parking space per month as part of the proposal, for a cost of $1,500 per month, or $18,000 per year. The lot has 60 spaces, so 18 spaces on the northeast part of the lot would continue to be available for public use 24 hours a day.

In the first council vote April 4 on the lease, councilors Lauren Lessing, D-Ward 3, Nick Champagne, R-Ward 5, and Winifred Tate, D-Ward 6, recused themselves from voting. Lessing and Tate are Colby employees and Champagne works for A.E. Hodsdon Engineering, whose employees park in the Front Street lot and Champagne’s employer, Al Hodsdon, is a member of the city’s parking study committee and has been an outspoken critic of leasing spaces in the lot.

Council Chairman Steve Soule, D-Ward 1, and councilors Nathaniel White, D-Ward 2, Sydney Mayhew, R-Ward 4, and Jackie Dupont, D-Ward 7, voted to approve the agreement with Colby.

City and Colby officials developed the lease proposal, which says Colby will be responsible for all plowing, striping, maintenance and repair of the lot. They estimate leasing the spaces will provide the city $10,000 per year in income as well as another $24,000 in savings because the city will no longer have to maintain the lot, for a total of $34,000 a year. The city ordinance requires that the hotel have one parking space per room. City officials said they expect the hotel will not be fully occupied every day and shared parking on the southeast corner of the parking lot could help accommodate the hotel when it is full. When it is not full, those spaces may be shared by everyone, according to city officials.

Colby officials say the 42-room boutique hotel with a restaurant will employ 45 people, mostly in hospitality services, providing $1.7 million in salaries per year, and that the hotel would pay about $37,000 in annual property taxes. It also is expected to create 140 construction jobs.

Roy said Sunday that the cooperation between city and Colby officials on the proposed lease has been very productive and they worked well together, ironing out the details of the agreement.

“We feel good about bringing this lease to the council for a final vote Tuesday night,” Roy said.

In other matters Tuesday, the council will consider selling the former Elden Inn property off Main Street to Sidney Geller for use by tenants of an office building he owns at 177 Main St. near the lot.

However, the city’s parking study committee recommends not selling or leasing the property, which has space to develop about 20 parking spaces, according to Roy.

The city’s parking study committee met April 26 to review a request by councilors to explore the matter and make a recommendation, and the committee voted unanimously, after substantial discussion, not to sell or lease the lot. The committee also decided unanimously that the city should keep the property for public parking and make improvements to the lot for that purpose as soon as possible.

The council will consider giving $2,000 the city received from Flemish Master Weavers to the Central Maine Growth Council. The city received the money in October for use of the city’s foreign trade zone and it would be forwarded to the growth council as compensation for its work in establishing and maintaining the zone, according to Roy. He said the growth council did all of the work to secure Flemish Master Weavers as an applicant within the zone.

“I think Flemish Master Weavers definitely will use the zone if they can get through all of the bureaucratic hurdles,” he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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