WATERVILLE — Camden National Bank drew a crowd Monday for a ceremony marking its new home in the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons downtown, making the bank the first commercial operation to move into the newly completed mixed-use building.

Camden sold its former location on lower Main Street downtown to Colby College, which plans to raze the building and build a boutique hotel there starting next year. Construction started in May on the new bank branch, which opened Oct. 29 on the ground floor of Colby’s dormitory building, where 200 students, staff and faculty are housed on the upper floors.

About 70 bank and Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce officials, business people, customers and representatives of Waterville Creates! turned out Monday morning at 150 Main St. to celebrate the opening of the 3,500-square-foot bank branch with floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the downtown. Camden has eight employees at the site.

Mike Perreault, executive director of the Maine Film Center, filtered through the crowd, touring Camden’s new home.

“I think this is an incredible space for Main Street,” he said. “It’s state-of-the-art, it’s modern and it’s so convenient, right in the heart of downtown.”

Attendees applauded the new digs as symbolic of ongoing efforts by the city and Colby College to revitalize and invigorate the downtown.

“It’s beautiful — it is absolutely a great space,” said Nathan Towne, marketing director of Waterville Creates!, to which the bank gifted a check for $2,000 Monday as part of the celebration. Towne also is co-owner of Christopher Hastings Confections on Common Street.

“We banked in the old location for the chocolate shop, so it’s great they’re still downtown, within walking distance,” Towne said.

The bank’s spacious interior sports blue and pine nut-colored walls with a glassed-in conference room, offices, a lobby and open floor concept designed to be welcoming to customers.

Greg Dufour, the bank’s president and chief executive officer, welcomed the crowd Monday and said the bank is very proud to have been in the Waterville area for many years. It initially was the Federal Trust Co.

Dufour said Monday’s event was the grand opening of its new location but more importantly, it is part of the economic revitalization the city is experiencing. He thanked Colby, which came up with the idea of partnering with Camden, offering space in the Alfond Commons and creating an opportunity for building a new hotel downtown.

“What a great, great thing for Colby to continue its commitment to Waterville, and we are fortunate to be a part of that,” Dufour said.

He thanked all who were involved in the bank effort, including the architect, WBRC Architects-Engineers, of Bangor; Landry-French Construction, of Scarborough; and Cordjia Capital Projects Group, of Camden, which was the construction management consultant on the project. He also thanked bank employees.

“Our banking center staff really stepped up for this,” he said, to a round of applause.

Before presenting the $2,000 check to Shannon Haines, president and chief executive officer of Waterville Creates!, he said the bank has a program whereby it donates $100 to a homeless shelter every time a mortgage is made and financed through Camden. So far, the bank has donated $300,000 to homeless shelters, with much of it going to shelters in the Waterville area, he said.

Before the check presentation, Haines said the $2,000 gift to her organization was “totally unexpected,” and it was special that Camden sees the work Waterville Creates! is doing in the community and wants to support that work.

“That feels really good,” she said.

Mayor Nick Isgro told the crowd the opening of the bank branch represents a milestone for the city which, four years ago, discussed ways to breathe life into Waterville. Colby brought the city and others together in a dynamic way to determine what was needed to inject life into downtown and have that energy spread to other areas, according to Isgro.

The enormous “gap tooth” created on Main Street during Urban Renewal efforts was identified as an area that needed to be revitalized and Colby built the residential complex and new home of the bank on the site.

Larry Sterrs, chairman of Camden National Corporation and Camden National Bank, and outgoing chairman of the board of directors for Waterville Creates!, said the bank and arts organization are pleased to be part of downtown’s rejuvenation.

“This is a really wonderful event to celebrate what’s been going on here,” he said.

Colby is investing some $65 million into the downtown, with projects including the new $25.5 million Alfond Commons, which opened in August; the office and retail building across the street at 173 Main St. which houses CGI Group, Colby offices and Portland Pie Co., and the planned boutique hotel. Colby also is working with Waterville Creates! to transform The Center at 93 Main St. downtown into an art and film hub. Camden has 60 locations throughout Maine and two loan offices in Maine and Massachusetts.

Another Camden branch is on Kennedy Memorial Drive and the bank has an ATM on upper Main Street near Elm Plaza. The new location at 150 Main St. has a 24-hour ATM off the Main Street entrance.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17