The sale of Pier 1 in Boothbay Harbor to Lafayette Hotels was finalized the morning of Friday, Nov. 30, according to Ramsey Lafayette. Lafayette Hotels is a family-owned and run group of 26 hotels in Maine and New Hampshire along with some retail spaces in Ogunquit and Old Orchard Beach.
The Pier had been in the Blake family since 1961 when Fred Blake bought it from Gulf Oil. Prior to listing it on the open market, Neil Blake stopped in to see Ramsey Lafayette at Fisherman’s Wharf Inn, abutters to the south, to ask if they had any interest in getting the property. The terms of the sale were later sketched out within a day.
According to Neil Blake, “The long and short of it is we felt it was time to sell, the three of us try to spend our winters in Florida, and we're busy at the Boatyard in the summer. We're very happy the Lafayette family has bought the dock and feel they will be a good fit for the tenants and vice versa. We wish them many years of success.”
The property includes the pier and the structures that are home to the Downeast Ice Cream Factory, McSeagull’s, Boothbay Harbor Marina, Mine Oyster, Mystic Mermaid, the new Windjammer Emporium and facilities Cap’n Fish’s Boothbay Harbor Boat Trips occupies.
Lafayette said there are no major plans for redevelopment anytime soon. All tenants plan to stay except for a change in ownership of Mystic Mermaid, also recently finalized. There are a few small things he hopes to accomplish in the short term like improving the dumpster's appearance. He also envisions hosting pop-up events such as tastings or concerts to bring new energy to the space at the heart of downtown.
Lafayette Hotels already owns four properties in Boothbay Harbor: Seagate Motel, Fisherman’s Wharf Inn, Boothbay Harbor Inn and Tugboat Inn. The new purchase is not slowing down its reinvestment in the other properties.
At Tugboat, a new roof deck including a full-service bar will open in 2019 to double its seating and give customers a 360-degree view of the entire harbor.
Nearly $500,000 is being invested in the bulkhead project rebuilding the seawall under Fisherman’s Wharf. The project has been overengineered to last at least 50 years and to fit with the character of the community. This hotel is also getting a dining roof facelift, bathroom renovations, all new beds and an upgraded Wi-Fi system.
A stronger focus on weddings and special events is driving improvements at Boothbay Harbor Inn. There, the company is renovating the event space and focusing on marketing it to weddings and corporate events of up to 250 guests.
For the first time, Seagate is open for Boothbay Lights and has nearly sold out. Lafayette is a board member of the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce and supports extending the tourism season to a full eight months in the region. He has plans for an adult guitar camp in late October 2019 to fill rooms during the lag between fall and Boothbay Lights. He’s a musician and is hoping other professionals will appreciate the off-season timing.
Lafayette added, “It’s the kind of thing I have always wanted to do but it’s only offered in the summer when I am too busy to do it.”