WATERVILLE — Downtown revitalization efforts are ramping up on Main Street, with construction of a high-end boutique hotel expected to start soon at the former Levine’s store site, $5 million in renovation work progressing in the former Hains building and requests being sent out to developers to identify uses for the former Waterville Hardware site.

Colby College, which is working to infuse millions of dollars in investments downtown, has signed a contract with The Olympia Companies of Portland to build and manage the hotel, which will be owned by Colby.

“They have done a lot of hotel development and management, including the Brunswick Hotel & Tavern,” said Kate Carlisle, Colby’s communications director. “They have done hotels that are at or near college campuses, for example, Rollins College in Water Park, Florida. They will build it, and they will manage it.”

Olympia officials will choose an architect for the hotel with input from Colby, which has developed a limited liability company for the hotel ownership called Elm City 9, according to Carlisle. Olympia hotels include the Inn By the Sea in Cape Elizabeth; Hampton Inn, South Portland; Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Portland and Holiday Inn in Bangor.

The renovated former Hains Building on Main Street in Waterville, seen Friday, is due to house information technology firm CGI Group Inc. and a retail use.

The renovated former Hains Building on Main Street in Waterville, seen Friday, is due to house information technology firm CGI Group Inc. and a retail use.

Workers are renovating the former Hains building at 173 Main St., owned by Elm City 173, a limited liability company Colby created. The $5 million project to renovate the building is expected to be completed in a few months, according to Carlisle.

“By this summer there will be people working in there,” she said.

The Waterville Hardware block of buildings at 14-20 Main St., across from where the former Levine’s clothing store was torn down late last year, also is targeted for development, and officials are working to identify new uses for that lot.

“Very soon we’re going to put out requests for proposals in the development community – what would you do with this?” Carlisle said. “That’s stuff that’s all going to be happening this spring.”

Paul Ureneck, director of commercial real estate for Colby College, inspects the 1902-era safe from the former Waterville Savings Bank that first occupied the former Hains Building, which is being renovated as part of a $5 million project.

Paul Ureneck, director of commercial real estate for Colby College, inspects the 1902-era safe from the former Waterville Savings Bank that first occupied the former Hains Building, which is being renovated as part of a $5 million project.

Revitalization efforts started after Colby College President David Greene last year led meetings with city officials, businesses, arts organizations and downtown advocates to discuss ways to help revitalize downtown, draw more people to live and work there, enhance arts and cultural offerings and help boost the economy.

The city continues to negotiate the sale of the northeast corner of The Concourse downtown to Colby, which plans to build a student residential complex there. City Manager Michael Roy says the city is making progress in its discussions with Colby on final terms of the sale.

“The city staff, mayor and I still need to have conversations with the City Council, but I think we’re getting very close to that point,” Roy said. “I would hope that within a month that (sale) would be completed.”

City councilors last year voted to approve selling The Concourse lot for $300,000, but continue to work on details.

“There’s more involved than just the $300,000. There are other pieces to it that we need to finally conclude,” Roy said.

Amy Calder can be contacted at 861-9247 or at:

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