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Joyce Endee

Preliminary discussion on downtown hotel held with city counsel

August 15, 2012
BERLIN - The Berlin City Council was presented with a preliminary proposal for a hotel in the downtown area.

Chris Thompson, president of Parallax Partners, which is a hotel development company based in Lewiston, Maine, told city council members that that company is in the preliminary stages of developing plans for an 80-90 room Hampton Inn on one or two possible lots downtown.

Their first choice, he said would be the lot recently vacated bordered by Pleasant, Main and Mason Street. That lot was to have been developed by Rite Aid several years ago, but never came to fruition. It is still owned by Rite Aid and they are talking with them about purchasing it, Thompson said.

The second lot being considered is the city owned parking lot at the corner of Cole and Mason Streets. Thompson said he has negotiated an option to purchase that lot and last week the city council approved selling it to Parallax Partners for $125,000. This would happen only if Thompson could not reach an agreement with Rite Aid.

Should the city owned lot be the site, it would take the entire lot. But city officials said the city owned "Tondreau lot", located off Mason Street behind City Hall could be developed for public parking.

The option agreement with the city is initially for nine months but can be extended for two year. Parallax Partners must pay an initial $1,000 down payment, with a second $1,000 if they chose to extend the option. The next step will be to commission a market feasibility study for a hotel in Berlin's downtown.

At the meeting last week, Thompson said in addition to the hotel, there would be space for a restaurant or retail space and that it was expected to generate about 21 jobs, about half full-time.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
Garnett HIll
Varney Smith
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