ELLSWORTH – The Maine Department of Transportation has sold its former garage and office site on High Street to a Freeport development group for $1.4 million.
Maine Course Hospitality Group purchased the 4-acre lot and plans to build an 80- to 90-room Hampton Inn on the site.
“Ellsworth is a hole in the market for us,” said Peter Anastos, co-owner of the group. “This is a perfect fit.”
The group will make a proposal to the Ellsworth Planning Board within 90 days, said Anastos.
The site was up for sale for nearly a year before the sale closed on June 3, according to Mike Burns, DOT assistant director of the Bureau of Maintenance and Operations.
Maine Course Hospitality Group builds Marriott and Hilton hotels and has construction sites throughout New England.
They most recently finished a Fairfield Inn and Suites in Augusta and have plans for hotels in Bangor, Guilford and Topsham. They hope to build another Hampton Inn in Augusta as well.
The Ellsworth hotel would take up about half the purchased site, according to Anastos.
“We hope to use the rest for a Margarita’s or an Applebee’s or something along those lines,” he said. “Of course, this is all subject to approval.”
Anastos wants construction to begin soon.
“We love the location and there is a good tourist market here,” he said. “If we get approved [by the planning board] we would start breaking ground immediately.”
Opechee Construction Corp. of Belmont, N.H., is the planned contractor for the hotel.
Anastos estimates the hotel will bring around 20 jobs to the Ellsworth area, mostly chambermaids and management.
The money from the sale will be used by the DOT to “build something more permanent for our highway crews in Ellsworth,” said Burns.
The crews use the DOT’s bridge lot in Hancock and also lease space on Bucksport Road. The DOT site went unused after it consolidated from seven divisions to five, he said.
The state has owned the property since the early 1960s.
“When it was first built it was actually considered out of town,” said Burns. “Now it’s in the commercial district.”