Plans for Colby College’s hotel in downtown Waterville are moving forward with two leaders in hotel design and management. Nationally ranked architecture and interiors firm Baskervill is designing the new building, which will be located on the south end of Main Street. With more than 120 years of experience, the firm is one of the oldest full-service design entities in the country. Charlestowne Hotels, which has an extensive portfolio that includes several independently owned hotels, will operate the hotel as well as the restaurant and bar.
Colby expects to begin construction later this year with an anticipated opening in 2020.
Plans for the hotel emerged from a downtown planning process that included local stakeholders and civic leaders. Key elements of the downtown revitalization framework, adopted by the City Council, were to enliven the southern gateway of Main Street and attract visitors to downtown.
“This hotel is a critical component to our shared efforts with the city to bring new life to Waterville’s core, which are already resulting in significant new investment in the city, hundreds of new jobs, an increased population, and rising property values for homeowners,” said President David A. Greene. “Visitors to Main Street will shop in local establishments, dine in nearby restaurants, and enjoy the many attractions in the area, including the arts and outdoor activities. This renewed vitality will make the city an even better place to live, work, and recreate.”
The hotel, restaurant, and bar will reflect the distinctive nature of central Maine through their décor and menu options. The restaurant will occupy the building’s ground floor and will feature seasonal outdoor dining in the adjacent park on the northern end of the site, creating a lively public venue on Main Street that will help enliven the Silver Street corridor and reinforce Waterville as a dining destination.
“Baskervill and Charlestowne have been exceptional partners in the development of this property,” said Vice President of Planning Brian Clark. “Through their expertise and creativity in hotel design and management, they have provided us with plans for a hotel that will become a destination for people from afar looking to take advantage of all that the region offers and for Waterville-area residents seeking a different kind of dining experience.”
The hotel will include approximately 50 rooms as well as meeting rooms, a fitness center, and a restaurant designed to complement existing local establishments. The design will reflect the streetscape and incorporate local materials into a contemporary building that will bring new life to the southern end of Main Street. Combined with Charlestowne’s expertise in defining and fulfilling a unique hospitality experience, the hotel will offer lodging and dining unlike anything currently available in the region.
“The design really speaks to the rhythm of reinvention and rebirth that’s happened over time,” said Baskervill Principal and Lead Architect Robert Tierney. “Trade-inspired details and evocative references to Waterville’s past will blend with eye-catching nods to the forward-thinking attitude of diversity that energizes Colby and the entire City of Waterville, laying the foundation for a bold architectural statement featuring contemporary art and furnishings.”
The reintroduction of a hotel to Main Street builds upon Waterville’s history of having great hotels downtown to support a thriving city core. On the southern end of Main Street once sat The Crescent Hotel, and The Elmwood anchored the northern end of the street. Like these great hotels, the new hotel will serve guests visiting the area and will be an important center of life for all of Waterville.
Among the clientele Charlestowne expects to attract are those seeking to explore the mountains, lakes, and forests in the area as well as visitors to the Colby College Museum of Art and the forthcoming center for contemporary art and film on Main Street. The restaurant and bar will be designed and operated with both hotel guests and area residents in mind.
“We were thrilled to be selected as we see great potential in Waterville and know the project will fill a need in the market,” said Charlestowne President and COO Michael Tall. “We’ve seen a rise in interest in smaller, culturally significant towns and believe Waterville is the perfect candidate for an independent hotel and restaurant that will draw people from across the street to across the state.”
Colby College is making other significant investments in downtown Waterville. In 2017 the College completed a $5-million rehabilitation of a historic but long-vacant bank building at 173 Main Street, which now houses CGI, Inc., a technology company, and Portland Pie Co. on the street level. In 2018 Colby opened the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons to house more than 200 students, faculty, and staff, as well as Camden National Bank and other new retail. The College has partnered with Waterville Creates! to develop the property at 93 Main Street, currently known as The Center, into a downtown arts destination, and a recent $7.3-million federal BUILD grant will allow for major improvements throughout downtown, including new sidewalks and streetscape, improvements to Castonguay Square, and traffic enhancements on Main and Front Streets to make downtown a safer and more pedestrian-friendly destination.
New businesses and investors, recognizing the opportunities in Waterville, have begun to emerge: new restaurants and businesses have opened, and commercial real estate transactions in the downtown have transcended the number seen in recent decades. Similarly, Waterville’s residential real estate market is in the midst of unprecedented growth: the city’s population, long in decline, has reached its 1997 level while the median home price has risen 18 percent; sales are up 43 percent the past two years. In 2018 the City of Waterville completed its redevelopment of the Riverwalk at Head of Falls on the Kennebec River, offering a beautiful space for recreation and highlighting the historic Ticonic suspension footbridge, known fondly as Two Cent Bridge, which was used by factory workers walking to and from Winslow in the early 20th century.
Rooted in the belief that great design is the result of asking the right questions and truly listening to the answers, Baskervill offers creative architectural, interior design, and MEP engineering solutions to a varied client base, from hotels and resorts to workspace, healthcare, manufacturing, and cultural institutions. Founded in Richmond, Va., in 1897, Baskervill is one of the nation’s oldest continually operating architectural firms. While a sense of history grounds Baskervill, it’s the idea that design can solve problems of the future that keeps the group inspired. To learn more about Interior Design magazine’s 19th-ranked “Hospitality Giant,” visit Baskervill.com.
About Charlestowne Hotels
Founded in 1980, Charlestowne Hotels is a leading full-service hospitality management company offering innovative expertise in hotel development, operational controls, marketing management, revenue optimization, and financial reporting. Now regarded as one of the top hotel management companies in the U.S., Charlestowne Hotels leads its properties to consistently achieve RevPAR growth nearly double the national average. The brand offers a robust portfolio of properties around the country, from independent inns and resorts to franchised hotels and condos. By employing a proficient management style that hones in on the guest experience, Charlestowne Hotels drives its properties to regularly receive industry accolades on Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List and Readers’ Choice Awards, Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards for “Top City Hotels in the Continental U.S.” and “Top 100 Best Hotels in the World,” and top standings on TripAdvisor. For more information, visit CharlestowneHotels.com.
Colby College—Ruth J. Jackson, 207-859-4353 | [email protected]
Baskervill—Katie Walley-Wiegert, 804-343-1010 | [email protected]
Charlestowne Hotels—Casey Galasso, QUINN PR, 212-868-1900, ext. 560 | [email protected]
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