WATERVILLE — City councilors Tuesday night took 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 vote represents the final step in Colby’s negotiations with the city to secure parking for the hotel, which officials plan to open next year.

As part of the vote, the city will lease 30 spaces on the west and southeast sides 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 the agreement between the city and Colby.

City Solicitor Bill Lee noted that the only change from the initial lease proposal to the final one is that there are 29, not 30, spaces in a row to be leased on the west side of the lot and an extra space on the extreme southeastern corner of the lot, for a total of 30.

The parking lot is at the south end and on the east side of Front Street, across the street from where the hotel will be built. After 20 years, the cost to lease the 29 spaces on the west and one on the southeast side of the lot would increase to $50 per parking space per month 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.

Councilors Lauren Lessing, D-Ward 3, Nick Champagne, R-Ward 5, and Winifred Tate, D-Ward 6, recused themselves from voting on the lease, just as they did April 4, when the council took a first vote to approve the lease. Lessing and Tate are Colby employees and Champagne works for A.E. Hodsdon Engineering, whose employees park in the Front Street lot. 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, as they did on April 4. There was no discussion from the council or public before Tuesday’s vote.

City and Colby officials developed the lease, 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 no longer will have to maintain the lot, for a total of $34,000 a year. A city ordinance requires that the hotel have one parking space per room.

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 the hotel would pay about $37,000 in annual property taxes, according to Colby officials. The project is expected to create 140 construction jobs, they said.

In other matters Tuesday, the council voted 7-0 to postpone indefinitely a request to sell the former Elden Inn property off Main Street to Sidney H. Geller Trust. The vote effectively kills the proposal. The plan was that the Geller Trust would use the lot as parking space for tenants of not only an office building the trust owns at 177 Main St. typically referred to as the “Professional Building,” but also for others who work in that area.

The city’s parking study committee recommended not selling or leasing the property. That committee last week reviewed 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.

Bruce Fowler, property manager for the Geller Trust, stood to say that the trust was withdrawing its offer, since the city plans to develop the lot into public parking. He said the trust did not know the city had planned to do that prior to asking the city to sell it.

“We’re just excited that it’s going to be developed as parking,” Fowler said.

Mayor Nick Isgro said the Geller Trust made a respectable offer for the property in an attempt to help solve parking problems, and he thanked the trust for doing so. City Manager Michael Roy said he thinks the lot needs a light surface coat of gravel before it can be paved. He said he thinks the lot is large enough for 16 parking spaces to be developed.

The council also voted 7-0 to give to the Central Maine Growth Council $2,000 the city had received from Flemish Master Weavers, of Saco, as part of an application by Flemish to use the city’s foreign trade zone. The city will forward the money to the Growth Council as compensation for its work in establishing and maintaining the zone, according to Roy. The Growth Council, a public-private collaborative regional economic development partnership funded by municipalities and businesses, did the work to secure Flemish as an applicant within the zone, according to Roy.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

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Twitter: @AmyCalder17