WATERVILLE — More details — though scant — are beginning to emerge about Colby College’s plans for a boutique hotel on Main Street.

The school’s vice president of planning, Brian Clark, noted on Friday that the building probably will be four stories high and contain 50 guest rooms, up from the initial projection of 42. He attributed the expansion to Colby’s July acquisition of the 33 Main St. property, formerly the Camden National Bank building, which provided more space for development. Initially, the hotel was scheduled to be erected only on the adjacent site of the old Levine’s clothing store, which the college razed in 2016.

Demolition of the former bank building near the corner of Main and Front streets began two weeks ago and should conclude in March. Construction of the hotel is set to start this summer, with an anticipated 2020 opening date, according to Clark.

“The new and expanded site, which includes the parcels at 9 and 33 Main Street, allows for a hotel that will include about 50 rooms and suites, meeting space, a fitness area, and a restaurant and bar,” Clark wrote in an email to the Morning Sentinel. “The hotel will be a new gateway on the southern end of Main Street and we anticipate a 4-story building, consistent with the height of other buildings on the street.”

Clark was unable to provide an estimate of the maximum number of guests the hotel could host at one time. While Clark and the hotel committee continue to discuss potential amenities and service offerings at the facility, he noted that the restaurant will be one of its most important elements.

“The restaurant and bar will be designed to serve the local and regional community as well as hotel guests,” he wrote. “As an independent hotel, we are focused on an intimate, high-quality guest and visitor experience that is distinctive from other hospitality options in the area.”


Most of Waterville’s current hotel offerings are franchises of national chains, clustered by Interstate 95 on Kennedy Memorial Drive and the upper part of Main Street.

Rubber and an excavator remain on Friday where the old Camden National Bank building once stood on Main Street in downtown Waterville. The space is being cleared for construction of a new boutique hotel.

Clark previously has mentioned striving for a Four Diamond rating for the boutique hotel’s dining service. AAA issues hotel and restaurant ratings of one to five diamonds based on “the extensiveness of services, facilities and amenities typical of each rating level, indicating the type of experience to expect,” as well as “a combination of the overall food, service, decor and ambiance offered by the establishment,” according to its website. To achieve the second-highest rating of four diamonds, a restaurant must feature “distinctive fine-dining,” which AAA defines as featuring “creative preparations, skillfully served, often with (a) wine steward, amid upscale ambiance.”

In January, Clark suggested that the restaurant “will open to the pocket park on the north part of the site and create a really great public venue on Main Street that also helps to enliven the Silver Street corridor.”

Clark said the architect and developer for the site will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We are developing architectural and operational plans now and expect to share more details soon,” he wrote.

Evidently, the old bank vault will not be incorporated into those plans, unlike what happened at Mainely Brews Brewhouse and Restaurant, a neighbor up Main Street. The pub, which occupies the former downtown post office, renovated its historic site’s vault into a special function room. Though the Camden National Bank’s safe was visible from Main and Front streets earlier in the week, it had been crushed into pieces by Friday afternoon.


Clark said the hotel will be “an important destination in downtown Waterville for attracting visitors,” though much of its clientele probably will be Colby-affiliated people including parents, alumni, speakers and visitors. The Colby Museum of Art reportedly draws 50,000 visitors annually. The hotel probably will serve a smaller population associated with neighboring Thomas College as well.

Last year, Clark said that for parking, Colby planned to use the 30 spaces that it leases from the city’s Front Street lot but also is looking to identify other options for locations where hotel guests can leave their cars.

Colby has expressed serious interest in and contributed millions of dollars to helping to revive downtown Waterville in the past several years and now owns a number of Main Street buildings. On the 14-20 Main St. lot across from the former Levine’s location, the College has been preparing the site for redevelopment. Clark said no decisions have been made about its future use, though it could end up as a mixed office, residential, gallery and retail space. Workers cleaned up mold, bird droppings and asbestos from the building, which has been in “terrible condition” since a 2013 fire burned its northern side and exposed it to the elements.

At 150 Main St., also known as the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, 200 Colby students have moved into the upper floors, while Camden National Bank now occupies one of several retail spaces on its ground level. The college still is looking to fill the building’s remaining storefronts. It also owns and renovated 173 Main St., which houses Portland Pie Co. on the first floor and offices upstairs.

“We continue to field a lot of interest in both of those spaces and are working through the possibilities — and hope to have an announcement soon,” Clark said earlier in January.

Meg Robbins — 861-9239


Twitter: @megrobbins

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: