MOUNT DESERT — Commercial development of the lot at 145 Main St. in Northeast Harbor is on hold until someone is found to operate a café or soda fountain in the new building at 123 Main St., according to John Boynton, who owns both properties.
And finding the right person to run 123 has proved much more difficult than he had expected, he said at last week’s meeting of the Summer Residents Association.
“We originally thought we could get someone from the Northeast Harbor community, and we’ve had conversations with several folks,” he said. “But we have not been able to find the right operator.
“We’ve spoken to people who have good ideas, but we also want to make sure they have the proper experience, because running a restaurant … is not an easy thing to do.”
Boynton said that starting this fall, he plans to look “farther afield” for someone who wants to lease the first floor of the building and “run a really good operation that’s responsive to what the community needs.”
His original goal was to have a coffee shop or soda fountain that would be open year round.
“I think we are willing to compromise on that,” he said last week. “If someone is willing to come in next summer for four or five months, that would be great.”
The second floor of the building at 123 Main St. is to be shared office space called the Wheelhouse. There are to be five offices and six cubicles that people who need a space in which to work can rent.
With the offices and the proposed café, Boynton said, “We hope we’re going to create a real beehive of activity on Main Street.”
Boynton and his wife, Johanna, bought the 123 Main St. property in the fall of 2013. They bought the 145 Main St. lot a year earlier. He said last summer that he hoped to start construction of a three-story retail and residential building at 145 within a few months and that he was looking for investors to help finance it.
Asked last week about the current status of that project, Boynton said, “145 [Main Street] is on hold until we get 123 figured out.
“123 is meant to be a concept that I can take out and show other folks that it can be done; the impact that one building can have on Main Street.”