WATERVILLE, Maine (WABI) - A ceremonial beam raising took place in Waterville Monday morning as the 26-million dollar Lockwood Hotel starts to take shape.
It's one of several downtown revitalization projects going on.
A signed beam was raised to the roof of the Lockwood Hotel project Monday. The four-story, 53-room hotel in downtown Waterville is the latest in a list of collaborations between Colby college, the city, the Harold Alfond foundation, community and business leaders.
"As someone whose been working in community development in Waterville for more than 15 years, I can say I've never been more optimistic for the future of this city than I am right now," says Shannon Haines, President and CEO of Waterville Creates!
Five years ago, David Greene, the president of Colby College, gathered a meeting of the minds to form a vision for revitalizing Waterville. Since then, several projects have been completed.
"The Haines building, vacant for 40 years, has undergone an extensive renovation by Colby and is now substantially occupied," says Bill Mitchell, Waterville business owner and entrepreneur.
The Bill and Joan Alfond Commons recently opened, providing housing downtown for more than 200 college students, staff and faculty.
JOY STAND-UP- "There are 250 construction jobs because of this hotel. And once open, it will create 60 permanent positions. In all, $12 million dollars is being invested in local business."
"All in all, Colby has invested more than $70 million in downtown Waterville and we're not done yet," says Greene.
The Lockwood Hotel is set to open next year. It's named after the former textile mill just down the road which is also about to undergo a major facelift.
"It is going to be transformed into a $20 plus million dollar project to house Waterville's future workforce," says Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro.
All this as an $18 million dollar fundraising campaign is underway to build the Paul J. Schupf Art Center downtown.
"Maine needs a great city," says Greene. "And Waterville will be that place. People will invest here, people will live here. People will make their lives here and this downtown will be the beginning of an extraordinary resurgence."
The Lockwood Hotel will include a full-service restaurant called Front and Main with glass walls and seasonal patio sitting. There will also be a bar.