Everything old is Newagen: Historic Southport inn undergoes renovations

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 8:00am

    There's a lot happening at the Newagen Seaside Inn on Southport — even though it's closed for the winter.

    January 15 was one of those “January thaw” days. It was a balmy 47 F, the sky was blue and the sun was shining. And the southern tip of Southport Island was buzzing with activity.

    The sounds of power saws and hammers heralded major renovations taking place at the resort. Three big projects are in the works.

    General Manager Jason Schlosser was in the main office with event planner Jeremy Constanzer and Lin Koch, who's in charge of guest services (and a multitude of other tasks, according to Schlosser). The three were full of positive vibes about the renovations.

    Scott and Corinne Larson bought the inn 2000. According to Schlosser the renovations taking place now have been in the works (in Scott Larson's head) for a number of years.

    Sue Mendleson, an architect with the Knickerbocker Group in Boothbay Harbor, was responsible for most of the overall design, and assisted in the permitting. She said it was a good fit for her. “My father owned a historic inn on Cape Cod when I was growing up, so having the opportunity to work on a similar building is very nostalgic for me.”

    Paul Golden of Bremen has played a big part in the construction. A full-time employee and facility manager at Newagen, he was working alongside other construction workers on Wednesday and has been overseeing the building projects.

    For starters, the inn’s first floor function room is being extended out 14 feet to allow for more large groups to hold meetings and conferences, and for events, including weddings.

    Schlosser said that the main impetus for enlarging the area was to keep peace with nearby landowners. He said that bands playing outside at events and weddings were sometimes a tad loud for some. “One of the primary reasons for the expansion is to host inside events and weddings,” he said. “We want to be good neighbors.”

    There will be new flooring installed and a new coffered ceiling in the function room. The space will open up to a half circle extension to mimic one that is already in the pub, next to the renovated area.

    Another project in the works is at the “Little Inn” outside the main building. There are presently four suites with mini-kitchens and private decks. Two more suites, a fitness room and an executive board room to accommodate up to 16 people for meetings are in the process of being added.

    The third major project in the works is a complete overhaul at the “Bayberry Cottage,” a quaint little guest house on the grounds facing the tennis courts.

    Koch said that the cottage has been there since the 1950s and is one of the original ones at the resort. “It was in desperate need of some love,” she said. The small cottage, which had a low ceiling and small rooms is now open and airy, with a cathedral ceiling. It will be completed by mid-May, in time for the grand reopening.

    The original inn, built in the early 1900s with over 200 rooms, was destroyed in a fire in April of 1943, and was rebuilt and reopened in July of 1943. It's been going strong ever since.