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112-room hotel, elderly housing proposed for Kittery Developer would have to demolish former Homestead Nursing Home structure

Portsmouth Herald - 7/11/2018

KITTERY, Maine - On a Route 1 parcel that holds a vandalized and now decrepit former nursing home, a developer is proposing to build a 112-room hotel, 32 elderly housing units and 16 residential units.

The proposal for the 459 Route 1 property will go before the Planning Board on Thursday, where owner DSS Land Holdings LLC and applicant Michael Brigham of Landmark Hill LLC will seek a site and subdivision sketch plan review. The approximately 20-acre site is near the York border.

Brigham said he had already received preliminary approvals on the same site for two apartment buildings in the front and single-family homes in the rear when he was approached by a hotel, asking if there was a possibility to allow it to occupy the front of the property. Brigham said he believes the land is "one of the last, least obvious spots for a reasonable-sized hotel" in Kittery.

With the hotel's proposal, Brigham switched gears and scrapped the single-family homes. In the current proposal, the elderly housing would be designated for 55 and older, while the additional residential units would sell or rent at market rate, he said.

Brigham noted he is not seeking any variances and his proposed uses fall within the current zoning.

"This second proposal is more in keeping with what I think that zone was looking for," Brigham said, adding he is currently not allowed to disclose the interested hotel.

As part of the development, Brigham would have to demolish the former Homestead Nursing Home, which has sat abandoned on the property for years. In 2013, it was determined a "dangerous structure" under state law. Brigham said he will have to clean it out, remove it and take care of asbestos issues. He called the structure "an eyesore in town for a long time."

"Both of these projects will be cash projects," he said of the hotel and residences. Brigham is the same developer who gave a significant facelift to the Landmark Hill Plaza at 518 U.S. Route 1, taking a dilapidated mall, renovating the existing building and converting some space into condominiums.

The Planning Board will meet Thursday, July 12 at 6 p.m. in Town Council chambers.

 
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