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ATLANTIC HOUSE, York Beach, MAINE
The Atlantic House, a dilapidated monolith across from the Goldrenrod and otherwise known as “Pop's Shell Shack” will finally breath new life! ALLELUJAH!!
Developer Don Rivers, Project Manager Peter Dunfey, and principals Harold Anderson and Lorri O'Brien would like to thank everyone who helped turn this dream into reality. A sincere thanks goes to Town of York Officials including Town Manager Ron Yandow, the York Planning Board & Selectman, The York Beach Renaissance Committee, The York Historical Committee, and last but not least, all the townspeople who live here year round and vacationers who come and visit to help York thrive- Thank you to all!
Almost one hundred and twenty years after the Atlantic House was originally built in 1887, York Beach will make history again by breaking ground on a dramatic renovation and rehabilitation. On Tuesday, November 21 st , the Atlantic House Team encourages and welcomes all those who have supported the Atlantic House Project and everyone who loves York and is enthused about seeing York Beach's continuum of tradition and grandeur are invited to the Atlantic House Groundbreaking at 2PM to join the celebration of York Beach's renaissance!
The gathering and celebration will take place at the Atlantic House on Beach Street.
This 12 million dollar redevelopment project will create about 50 new jobs and comes at a time when York Beach residents and business owners with support from the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce have been working steadfastly through the Chamber's Renaissance Committee to develop a set of recommendations for revitalizing York Beach.
The original Atlantic House was sold in 1894 for $9,000. The Atlantic House was built as a grand hotel, four stories high with shops below, a long open air balcony with ocean views above and a win-win location right in the heart of York Beach's bustling summer business center. By the end of the 20 th century, the building was nothing more than an enormous eye sore and a dangerous safety hazard.
Donald Rivers, owner of Rivers By The Sea Real Estate Sales and Rentals, understood the need for a dire face-lift and transformation of the old Pop's Shell Shack to help maintain York Beach as a quality family vacation destination.
A dream and vision ensued. A sales contract was drawn up and plans began… Four years later, after town-wide votes needed to initiate change were successful, after numerous planning board meetings attended over a three year period and endless details pondered, the Atlantic House team will finally be able to implement its plan for a rejuvenation of an anchor establishment in downtown Short Sands Beach.
The 12 million dollar project also includes renovating the historic Kearsarge House, currently known as Shelton's Gifts and Gabby Sullivan's Restaurant.
The Atlantic House will have 9 luxurious resort residences on the top floors, an upscale restaurant and bakery on the 2 nd floor run by celebrity chef, Lydia Shire, and retail space on the main floor. Plans to open are for next summer 2007.
Phase 2 of the project entails the transformation of the Kearsarge House into 17 luxury condominiums, another fine dining, family oriented restaurant also owned and operated by Lydia Shire, and six gift shops. Construction is scheduled to begin next fall.
TMS Architects, noted for their much heralded design work at the Wentworth By The Sea Hotel in New Hampshire, have been working on the plans for the past year and a half. By partnering with one of the best architects in the area, Rivers is ensuring that the original beauty and integrity of the buildings' architecture will remain intact. Also deserving of credit for involvement in the project is the construction management company, John DeStefano and Associates- a commercial management company that will coordinate contractors and construction schedules making sure project stays on track for a summer 2007 opening of the new Atlantic House. Joanne Fryer from CLD Engineering has also played a major role in the development process from the planning stages and will continue to work as point engineer on the project.
The renovations of these buildings are in concert with the York Beach Renaissance Committee's goals for the beach area. Nearly three years ago, Cathy Goodwin, president of the York Chamber of Commerce, assisted in spearheading a committee made up of a handful of York Beach business owners to create a joined force to enhance York Beach. Known as the Renaissance Committee, members have worked diligently over the past three years to identify what the York Beach area needs to safely grow while also preserving the character and mission of York Beach, Maine. In the recent November election there was a landslide vote to apply for Tax Incremental Financing which will finance needed capital improvements and will pave the way for improving and beautifying the area allowing it to flourish. The Renaissance Committee has already begun a movement to increase the welcoming atmosphere near the entrance to the beach area on Ocean Avenue and Railroad Avenue. Banners were displayed this summer announcing the York Beach Renaissance and benches were placed every few feet on Railroad Avenue. This fall, cornstalks were decorated all the way down Ocean Avenue, inviting all who traveled by to enjoy the beauty of the season in York Beach. Not only is York Beach a summer destination, but the Renaissance is helping turn York into a year-round destination.
The York Beach Renaissance Committee believes that their plan along with the Rivers redevelopment project, embody all of the elements called for in the recently released Brookings Report calling for major investments in Maine's “Quality Places” as a way to revitalize the state's economy.
With all the improvements planned for York Beach, it will certainly remain one of the top family destinations. Our pride in York Beach will only grow as we continue to follow the path set by the Renaissance Committee.
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