These townhouses, now owned by the College of the Atlantic, will be used as student housing during the academic year and vacation rentals in the summer. ISLANDER PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

Bayview Hotel under new ownership, townhouses sold to COA

BAR HARBOR — An Eden Street hotel is set to reopen next month under new ownership, and six townhouse units on the property have been split off and sold to College of the Atlantic.

Last fall the Cough family, who have been hoteliers in Bar Harbor since the 1950s, sold the Bayview Hotel at 111 Eden Street to Kennebec Cottage Associates, LLC, which is controlled by Kimberly Swan of Bar Harbor. The Cough family continues to own and operate the nearby Atlantic Eyrie Lodge.

Last week, Kennebec Cottage Associates and COA completed the sale of a 0.74-acre parcel with the buildings formerly known as the Bayview Townhouses, for $2.2 million. The college will pay property taxes on the parcel, representatives said, since it will not be used for any educational activity.

The property is just north of the COA campus, but not directly adjacent to it. The college will “engage with a property management company to manage the rentals,” a statement released Monday said. The units will be rented to students during the academic year, but it won’t be considered on-campus or supervised student housing.

When school is not in session, the townhouses will be vacation rentals.

The property is located in the Bar Harbor Gateway district, where multifamily dwellings are allowed.

“As the tourism season has lengthened over recent years and the local housing market has evidenced shifting dynamics, it has become increasingly difficult for our off-campus students to find housing that matches up with our academic year,” COA President Darron Collins wrote in a 2017 letter to the editor of the Islander.

“All first-year COA students live in campus dorms, but the majority of our second-, third- and fourth-year students rent houses or apartments in Bar Harbor and other Mount Desert Island towns.

“Increasingly, returning students have found themselves without a place of their own to stay in during the month of September — and often into October — while they wait for their rental housing to become available. In fact, about half of the 200 or so COA students who rent locally are dealing with this issue.”

In response to that need, Collins wrote, MDI Biological Laboratory began offering to let COA students stay in the summer housing that institution owns in September, before winter rentals become available.

Bayview renovations

Swan, who owns inns in Portland, Rockland, and Boothbay, said in a statement that she is delighted to again own a lodging property in her hometown.

“For many years I have been focusing on the brokerage side of the hospitality business in Bar Harbor, but have always thought that if The Bayview became available, I would want to pursue it,” she said. “All of the stars lined up.”

Swan Hospitality Group, the design and retail arm of Swan’s businesses, is redesigning the hotel, collaborating with Betsy Stires of Frog Hill Designs.

“We have embarked on a two-year redesign plan,” Swan said. The first phase includes the common spaces and top floor guest rooms.

The design is inspired by the 19th century “rusticators” who began visiting Mount Desert Island because they were “looking for dramatic natural landscapes, fresh air to breathe, and oceans and mountains to explore.”

The Bayview Hotel is scheduled to open on May 10.

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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