MOUNT DESERT — Jewelry maker Sam Shaw wants to boost the economic revitalization of Northeast Harbor by filling a gap in the downtown streetscape with restaurants and shops.
He has bought the vacant lot at 131 Main Street, across the street from his jewelry store. He plans to construct a two-story building with up to 12,000 square feet of space on the empty parcel.
“My intent is to attract seasonal businesses of a very high quality, which is what our customers want,” he said. “And the businesses will be able to make money because the rents are going to be extremely cheap.
“Northeast Harbor does not suffer from lack of customers. Northeast Harbor suffers from lack of opportunities for our customers to receive the services they would like.”
Shaw said he hopes to rent space to retail businesses such as a men’s clothing store, bookshop, flower shop, antiques store or hair and nail salon.
“The intention also is to have a take-out lunch place, a high quality dinner place and an evening libations place,” he said.
Shaw said he expects construction to start in September 2015 and to be completed in June 2016. He plans to design the building in collaboration with WMH Architecture in Northeast Harbor.
“The architecture will look like it belongs in Maine. But there will be richness and detail and use of materials that make it unique and lively,” he said. “It will be restful on the eye, but then when the eye sees the details, they will be curiously amazed.”
Shaw said anyone with an interest in opening a business in the new building may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He bought the .45-acre lot from the heirs of Daniel M. Kimball. Shaw declined to disclose the purchase price. The town’s assessed value of the lot for tax purposes is $226,200.
Buildings on the lot housed the Impressions shop and Sherman’s bookstore before they were deemed derelict and were torn down about five years ago. The lot has been vacant ever since.
Shaw joins seasonal residents John and Johanna Boynton in trying to breathe new life into downtown Northeast Harbor. The couple is replacing the building at 123 Main Street, where they plan to open a soda fountain and coffee shop on the ground floor, with shared office space on the second floor. They also have bought the lot at 145 Main Street, where they would like to have a restaurant or retail store on the ground floor and residential apartments for rent above.
The Swan Agency/Sotheby’s Real Estate brokered the deal.