At the south end of Main Street in Waterville, the four-story Lockwood Hotel is rising where the Crescent Hotel—originally Lockwood House owned by an 1868 Colby graduate Reuben W. Dunn—stood a half-century ago. It’s also where Levine’s department store for men and boys, owned by Colby alumni Lewis “Ludy” Levine (Class of 1921) and Percy “Pacy” Levine (Class of 1927), was 23 years ago.
As the only hotel in downtown, the new Lockwood is expected to welcome guests by fall 2020. But even before its doors open to them, the hotel project is sparking significant economic activity in the area.
“It’s directly supporting local businesses and construction jobs in this area,” said Vice President of Planning Brian Clark. “The construction of the hotel and the plans for this hotel, just like the other investments of Colby is making on Main Street, are spurring significant private investment as well.”
From the foundation to the roof, hotel’s general contractor Landry/French of Scarborough is working with local subcontractors to build the Lockwood. Since the project began last summer, it has already put nearly $12 million into local businesses, while the construction has also supported close to 250 jobs. The 53-room hotel is projected to cost $26 million in total.
“It is always a pleasure working with Colby on all their projects. It is also nice to see that they are using as many local businesses as possible, as they always do,” said Mike Fortin, owner of Fortin’s Home Furnishing in Winslow, in an email. Fortin’s has worked with Colby for over 25 years and is providing appliances for the Lockwood.
Tobias Parkhurst, president of O&P Glass in Augusta, is a longtime partner with Colby, including on other downtown projects like the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons. “I think their [Colby’s] investment downtown is very impactful,” he said. “It’s been good for our business, it’s been good for the community, it’s been good for the whole region.”
The hotel’s interior framing, drywall, and limestone exterior façade—which will blend with existing structures along Main Street—will be supplied by Bilodeau Drywall Corporation of Sidney. “Colby College has made a significant commitment to the local community, and we are very proud to play a small role in their development plans both as a Central Maine business and as residents,” said Steve Bilodeau, president of the company, in an email. “This is a landmark project, right in our backyard. We are grateful to be part of the process and have employment opportunity for our valued workers so close to home.”
Opportunities will continue after construction, as the hotel is expected to have around 60 full-time employees. In addition to creating jobs and bringing overnight visitors to the heart of the city, the hotel’s restaurant and bar, which will be called Front & Main, aims to further generate economic activity.
“We hope that the restaurant can become a new and different living room for the community,” said Colby’s Director of Commercial Real Estate Paul Ureneck.
This hotel and its restaurant are likely to be followed by other new spaces and businesses downtown. Since Colby’s investments, over 20 commercial buildings changed hands. This was the intention all along, Ureneck said.
Colby is a catalyst, he said, citing recent Main Street investments by local business owner and developer Bill Mitchell, along with Colby alumni Tom Nale ’05 and Tracy Nale ’07, and Matt Hancock ’90, and new restaurants, including the Greek restaurant OPA and the West African and European bistro Mé Lon Togo.
“The plan is being fulfilled in front of our eyes,” said Ureneck. “It’s working.”