June 16, 2019

Former Holiday Inn coming down soon Gaming complex to replace hotel

BANGOR – Though an implosion isn’t part of the game plan, the Holiday Inn that has stood across Main Street from Bass Park for more than three decades is coming down soon.

“It could be a wrecking ball or an excavator – or a combination of a wrecking ball and an excavator, but no imploding,” Amy Kenney, manager of marketing and public relations for Hollywood Slots at Bangor, said Tuesday.

The only explosives that will be used in the project, she said, will be those needed for a small amount of underground blasting to remove some bedrock.

Hollywood Slots debuted as a temporary facility featuring 475 slot machines in November 2005.

Now its Pennsylvania-based parent company, Penn National Gaming Inc., is getting ready to raze the inn to make way for its $90 million-plus permanent gaming complex. The new complex will replace the company’s temporary facility, which opened in the former Miller’s Restaurant building, just a few blocks up Main Street.

Demolition of the 121-room hotel and adjacent buildings is scheduled to begin in early February, once the racing and gaming company receives permits from the state Department of Environmental Protection, Kenney said.

Construction of the new facility is slated to start in April, Kenney said. If all goes to plan, the new complex will open in mid-2008.

The new facility will house, among other things, a 116,000-square-foot gaming facility featuring up to 1,500 slots, an attached four-story parking garage for 1,500 vehicles, and a seven-story hotel.

It will include a new simulcast facility for off-track betting, a 350-seat buffet restaurant, a 125-seat specialty restaurant, two smaller private dining rooms, and a small cafe offering lighter fare. It also will house retail space and a full-service bar with entertainment including dancing.

The effort to clear the site of existing buildings actually began in June, when the Main Street Inn and two houses behind it were torn down. The site on which the motel stood is being used as an overflow parking area for the company’s temporary facility.

Kenney said the demolition work will be handled by the company’s contractor, Cianbro Corp., which also was tapped to convert the Miller’s building into an interim slots facility, tear down the Main Street Inn, and make improvements to the grandstand at Bangor Raceway.

A contract for building the permanent complex has yet to be issued, Kenney said.

The former hotel properties, across the street from Bass Park and Bangor Raceway, were among the few commercially zoned parcels large enough to accommodate Penn’s permanent facility within the 2,000-foot radius of Bangor Raceway, as required by state law.

Referred to as the Riverside Block in city documents relating to the project, the 8-acre site encompasses all the land between Lincoln and Dutton streets and from Main Street to the railroad tracks along the Penobscot River.

Penn National negotiated to acquire the parcels making up the block from their owners for a total of about $7 million.

The Holiday Inn-Civic Center opened in February 1974 as a Sheraton Inn through its original owners, Bangor-area businessmen Thomas Walsh and Forrest Grant.

It became a Holiday Inn in early 1975, when Bangor businessman Larry Mahaney acquired an interest.

Mahaney, an Easton native who also owned the Holiday Inn on the Odlin Road, died last February at age 76 in West Palm Beach, Fla., after suffering a stroke.

Over the years, the inn was expanded from its original 60 guestrooms to 121.

Built at a cost of $750,000, the Holiday Inn was valued when it closed at nearly $1.25 million by the city’s tax assessor.

The inn closed on Halloween in anticipation of the sale.

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