WATERVILLE — Construction of a $26 million, 53-room hotel on Main Street in downtown Waterville is on schedule, with crews installing permanent sheathing on the outside of the building in preparation for removing temporary enclosure materials and allowing trade workers inside the structure.

“It’s going well,” said Paul Ureneck, director of commercial real estate for Elm City, LLC., an affiliate of Colby College. “November was a little bit of a setback for us, temperature-wise. November was the coldest on record in Maine. But, all in all, the project’s on schedule.”

Construction started on Colby’s Lockwood Hotel in July. It is slated to open in October.

The hotel will reflect the city’s history in both name and style — it is named for the former Lockwood textile mill complex to its south on Water Street and will have a restaurant and bar called “Front & Main.” The hotel will have entrances on both Main and Front streets and include meeting rooms and a fitness center for guests.

The Lockwood construction is part of ongoing efforts to help revitalize the downtown. Completed projects include the $25.5 million Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons; a Colby residential complex father north on Main Street which houses about 200 students, faculty and staff; and a renovated office building at 173 Main St. which houses Portland Pie Co. The ground floor of that building also will become home this year to Bixby & Co, a chocolate maker. Colby and others expect to invest more than $100 million downtown as part of revitalization activities.

Ureneck,who oversees downtown construction for Colby, said Friday that the hotel building has a temporary enclosure of wood two-by-fours and polyethylene sheets that keeps the heat inside. That enclosure will remain until the entire building is enclosed with permanent exterior sheathing material several weeks from now. The permanent sheathing stands out with its purple color.

After the temporary enclosure materials are removed, the window openings will be enclosed until the actual windows arrive and are installed, according to Ureneck.

Natural gas is on the site now and large heaters are being used to keep the enclosed area warm.

“We’ve got the entire building heated now, and we need that because we have to pour those topping slabs over pre-cast planks,” Ureneck said. “We can’t have the concrete freeze.”

Construction crews enclose the Lockwood Hotel as they work on the new Colby College hotel in downtown Waterville on Friday. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

Once the topping slabs are poured, crews can start laying out where the walls will be located and start installing interior framing of metal for the guest rooms, bathrooms, corridors and the like, he said. Once framing starts, then electricians, plumbers and mechanical workers who do heating, ventilation and air conditioning will arrive, according to Ureneck. There’s been a limited number of people working on site until now, but once the working trades come in, the numbers will increase significantly, he said.

Ureneck said workers are now laying topping slabs on the second and third floors on the south side of the building. The concrete planks installed earlier are the structural base for the floors and have a rough finish, according to Ureneck. The topping slabs poured over them are smooth, level, two-inch layers of concrete, on top of which carpet and tiles are installed.

“The topping slabs are a little more than half completed on the south side of the building,” Ureneck said Friday.

Construction crews enclose the Lockwood Hotel on Friday as they work in downtown Waterville. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

A roof has been installed on the south side of the building so as to create a water-tight, enclosed space to allow the trades to work in a relatively dry and warm environment, he said.

The limestone exterior of the building is expected to be installed in the spring, according to Ureneck.

The construction manager for the hotel is Landry/French Construction Co. and the designer is Baskervill. The hotel, as well as the restaurant and bar, will be managed by Charlestowne Hotels. Landry/French also built the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons.

The hotel is being built on the site of the former Crescent Hotel, previously the site of the Lockwood House, which opened in 1880. Its patrons were overnight passengers of the narrow gauge railway. The building owner was Reuben W. Dunn, an 1868 Colby graduate who became a Colby trustee.

Later, that spot was the site of Levine’s clothing store, and Camden National Bank was in the building to the north of Levine’s. Camden National has moved to the Alfond Commons building at 150 Main St.

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