WATERVILLE — Demolition work has begun on the first of four Colby College-owned buildings as part of a multimillion-dollar downtown revitalization that will include a new student dormitory and a possible boutique hotel.

On Friday, the front brick-and-mortar steps of the former Elks building at 13-15 Appleton St. had been removed in preparation for tearing the building down and replacing it with a parking lot.

Demolition of the building will take about two weeks, and then Costello Dismantling Co., of West Wareham, Massachusetts, will begin tearing down the former Levine’s building at 9 Main St., according to Kate Carlisle, Colby’s director of communications.

The Appleton Street building most recently was used by Resurrection Life Church, which moved to Ridge Road. Carlisle said two large white columns on the front of the building are being saved and will be donated to the Waterville Elks Lodge, which hopes to use them at its Industrial Road location.

Workers have removed debris inside the Appleton Street building and have set up dust and safety control measures.

“That location is really key to continued progress downtown, as its intended reuse will ease concerns about parking at the north end of Main Street,” Carlisle wrote in an email.

Workers on Friday were continuing to remove debris from inside the former Levine’s store. In about two weeks, they will start removing debris from inside 173 Main St., also known as the Hains Building, which will be renovated and, upon completion, the technology firm Collaborative Waterville, a subsidiary of Collaborative Consulting, will inhabit the upper two floors.

“I am told that some of the beautiful trim and millwork in the building will be saved and incorporated into the new interior design,” Carlisle said. “I’ve been in the building, and there are some great decorative features.”

A schedule for demolition of the former Waterville Hardware building at 14-20 Main St., across the street from Levine’s, has not been determined, Carlisle said.

Colby is investing millions of dollars as part of efforts by the college, the city and business advocates to revitalize downtown and draw more people to live, work and visit there.

Colby is partnering with investors to develop retail sites, arts entities, offices and other uses downtown. It also plans to buy the northeast corner of The Concourse at the heart of downtown to build a student housing complex that will have retail shops on the first floor. The housing would be for students and staff members affiliated with a special community service program Colby is developing.

The city agreed on a $300,000 selling price for The Concourse property and City Manager Michael Roy hopes the sale will be completed by the end of the month.

Colby officials have said they want to develop a boutique hotel downtown and have identified the former Levine’s property as a possible site.

Meanwhile, visitors to downtown will see a lot of activity in the next few weeks.

“Things are really moving along, and by October, signs of progress toward a revitalized downtown will be very visible on Main Street,” Carlisle said.


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