A take-out salad and sandwich shop will be part of the four-building Marketplace complex being planned for Main Street in Northeast Harbor. IMAGE COURTESY OF WMH ARCHITECTS

Shaw seeks development partners

MOUNT DESERT— Jewelry-maker Sam Shaw would prefer to bankroll development of a mixed-use commercial complex on Main Street in Northeast Harbor on his own, but he has concluded that he needs one or more partners.

“My fantasy … was to create this using alternative materials … and make it super cheap,” he told members of the Summer Residents Association at their July 16 meeting.

“But that was the land of magical thinking. It has become clear that it’s going to be expensive. So, I’m looking for one to three people to partner with me on this.”

Shaw plans to construct four buildings around a courtyard on the half-acre lot at 131 Main St., which he bought last winter. The building nearest the sidewalk would be an eat-in and take-out restaurant. There would be one building with five small retail spaces and one with three retail spaces. The fourth building would be a sit-down restaurant with four residential apartments above.

“This town needs more services, in my opinion,” Shaw said. “The clientele is underserved. Let’s get some stores and restaurants in here. I think it’s possible, I think it’s necessary, and there’s nothing to stop us from doing it.”

The town’s planning board this spring approved plans for the development, which Shaw is calling the Marketplace. He created the design concept for it in collaboration with WMH Architects of Northeast Harbor.

When asked by the Islander, Shaw declined to provide an estimate of the development cost, saying there are still so many variables. But he told the Summer Residents Association, “I don’t have enough money to do it myself. There are times when you have to have partners.

“I want to be absolutely, abundantly clear that this is not a philanthropic project,” he said. “This is a commercial venture that will have an expectation of a return.”

Shaw said shortly after buying the lot that he expected construction to start this September and to be completed in June 2016. But he said last week that he is now looking at a summer 2017 opening because “I don’t think we should hurry it; I think we should do this right.”

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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