MEREDA: Describe the building and project.
J.B. Brown & Sons: The project consists of a 132 room Courtyard by Marriott, 7,000 sf Tiqa restaurant, 14 residential condominium units, and 34 on-site parking spaces. We also constructed a pedestrian way connecting York and Commercial Streets.
MEREDA: What was the impetus for this project?
J.B. Brown & Sons: The gravel parking lot was not the highest and best use for the property, so we looked at a variety of development options for the site over the years. Parking was a challenge for most development ideas, but because of the diversity of hotel and residential parking needs, we were able to utilize our existing parking lots in the area to satisfy the development’s parking demand.
MEREDA: That sounds like quite a process. How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?
J.B. Brown & Sons: We began exploring development options for the site back in 2005, but the current development did not gain momentum until the spring of 2012. Once we decided to pursue the hotel development, the process went quite smoothly. Planning and approvals were completed by January 2013 and construction completed in May 2014.
MEREDA: Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed.
J.B. Brown & Sons: Actually the development was pretty uneventful, which was due to the experienced team of Dugas Development, Opechee Construction, Group One Design, and Maine Course Hospitality – all of whom had worked with Marriott previously. The most challenging aspect was changing the 6th floor from rental apartments to condominium units. I underestimated the amount of time (and patience!) needed to build custom homes. That said, the David Banks Team and Opechee helped make the final project a success and all of the units either sold or went under agreement.
MEREDA: Something unexpected you learned along the way was….
J.B. Brown & Sons: Before the project began, I underestimated the time and energy a team needs to set aside to complete a project of this size.
MEREDA: Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable?
J.B. Brown & Sons: We have received many compliments on how the building fits so nicely into the neighborhood with respect to the materials used and the scale of the building as it related to the adjacent Baxter Building.