BAR HARBOR — Destination Health will be moving to a new building in June. The vacant lot at 124 Cottage Street will be the home of a new 4,000-foot studio with four apartments, founding owner Sheridy Olsen announced at a groundbreaking ceremony last week.
The new building is designed by Stewart Brecher Architects of Bar Harbor, and will be constructed by Blue Ledge Carpentry of Brooklin.
With a building permit expected any day, construction could begin as soon as next week, said co-owner Andrea Lepcio, with a projected completion date of June 1.
Olsen, Lepcio, co-owner Maija Leyendecker and their architectural team appeared before the Design Review Board three times during the planning process. Originally they had planned for “a more modern flat roof design,” said Lepcio.
Most Design Review Board members felt the flat roof was not compatible with other buildings in the neighborhood. At an Aug. 22 meeting, board member Andrew Geel said he did not want the new building to be a “box sticking out on the end of the street.” Board member Pete Bono asked the architects to “try to take the edges off this building.”
The applicants came back with a new design for a partly flat, partly pitched roof which was accepted unanimously by the Design Review Board Sept. 12. “You balanced the essence of the old neighborhood with a new design,” said Bono. “Now there is a conversation, I feel, between this building and its neighboring buildings.”
It was important to have at least part of the roof flat, Lepcio explained in an email to the Islander. “We will eventually add a roof deck for yoga and Tai Chi classes and relaxation,” she wrote.
Olson said she founded Destination Health in a 500 square foot cottage in Otter Creek. She worked alone as a massage therapist and licensed trainer, and the business quickly grew. “I was also the first business in Maine to offer infrared sauna therapy,” she said.
Olson added a partner, Maija Leyendecker, and moved the business to a larger house on the same property. Adding indoor cycling classes to their other services, Olsen said they “got really busy really fast, with a waiting list.”
A little over four years ago, Olson said, she got a call from Laura Neal, the owner of the former Cattitude yoga studio, asking if she would like to take over her studio space in Bayside Landing, “I knew it was time to grow again,” Olsen said.
With rental cost a significant factor at the downtown location, Olsen said, “I made a plan to expand services to include infrared sauna, massage, personal training, yoga, and fitness classes.”
Lepcio joined the business as co-owner, adding Tai Chi to the course offerings.
After two years at the Bayside Landing location, Olsen said she started looking for property to buy. “I knew I would have about three to five years in our current space … before hitting a wall due to rising rent,” she said.
With Destination Health’s announcement to move from the Bayside Landing location, building owner Tom Testa is working on renting the space for next season. “We currently have several people looking at the space for 2020,” he wrote in an email to the Islander.
At the new Cottage Street building, Olsen said, there will be an open workout room, a retail space, locker rooms, three treatment rooms, two infrared sauna rooms, a float room, a class studio, and a spin studio.
“Additionally, we will have a small apartment building with four apartments to help with housing,” Olsen said.