MOUNT DESERT — Northeast Harbor jewelry maker and businessman Sam Shaw has revised his plans for a commercial development to be called The Marketplace at 131 Main St.
Instead of demolishing two old shingle-sided buildings on the lot, he now plans to renovate both and relocate one so that it no longer encroaches on a utility right of way.
“I had assumed they were tear-downs, but then I went inside and saw they were OK. I don’t like tearing things down,” Shaw said. “My feeling is that, here in Northeast Harbor, people prefer authenticity.”
In the early years of the 20th century, at least one of the two buildings was Stella Hill’s high-end antiques and bookstore. Hill co-founded the Women’s Literary Club of Northeast Harbor in 1908. In 1923, she edited and published “Directory and Handbook Northeast Harbor, Seal Harbor, Mount Desert and Adjacent Islands.”
Her husband, P.P. Hill, a jeweler and optician, had a shop at the front of the 131 Main St. lot. Shaw bought the half-acre parcel in late 2014.
In addition to renovating the two existing buildings, Shaw plans to construct two new buildings on the front half of the lot, which stretches from Main Street to Tracy Road.
The building at the very front of the lot, on Main Street, is to house a take-out restaurant, which Shaw described as “a glorified food truck, a food truck without wheels.”
He wants The Marketplace complex to include a bar, a hair salon and two or three retail shops, with apartments on the second floor of two of the buildings. Parking will be at the rear, off Tracy Road.
Shaw said that at least some of the establishments in The Marketplace will be open next summer “if I’m lucky.”
“Otherwise, it will be 2018. These are things that can be done incrementally.”