Point Lookout cabins one of the design elements, to ‘honor Maine’s status as most forested state’

Local family submits development proposal for former Rockport Elementary School site

Tue, 10/29/2019 - 5:15pm

    The Town of Rockport received one proposal by a local group to develop the 7.6-acre of parcel of property at the corner of routes 1 and 90 into “Rockport Crossing” – a mixed-up commercial, residential and recreational site.

    The proposal is the only application received after the town circulated last month a request for qualifications (RFQ), hoping to engage private businesses in brainstorming, and possibly engaging, in the redevelopment of a ballfield and open space that has been owned by the town since School Administrative District 28 (Camden-Rockport K-8) relocated its elementary school half a mile west on Route 90, in 2009.

    Deadline for the RFQs was Oct. 16 deadline, and the proposal for the RES site was received by Town Planner Bill Najpaeur on Oct. 15.

    Project lead for the Rockport Crossing concept is Douglas Clayton.

    Clayton owns the lot at 330 Commercial Street, which was once an automotive dealership but has recently been referred to in signage as “Rockport Center.” There is currently a bridal gown shop renting a storefront at the site, and on Oct. 24 Clayton appeared before the Planning Board to outline plans for possibly turning that property into subdivided residential housing and/or a long term parking facility.

    Others team members or principals listed on the RES or Rockport Crossing include Clayton’s parents, James and Lauralee, as well as Andrew Kaplan, who is described as a private investor from Camden with experience developing residential properties in the area.

    Consultants on the project are Phi Builders and Architects, Gartley & Dorsky Engineers and Camden Law; Phi Builders and Gartley & Dorsky are involved in constructing the new Rockport Library, and last week Gartley & Dorsky submitted a rendering of a proposed five-story hotel to be built at 20 Central Street to the Planning Board.

    The 16-page proposal outlines seven principles or elements of the new facility:

    Focal element

    Commercial complex

    Residential community

    Rcreation area and other amenities

    Green space and landscaped driveway

    Farmers market and eco-friendly ethos.

    “The RES site faces one of Rockport’s important intersections that connects the Town’s various settlements.... [Rockport Crossing] therefore proposes to construct a visible, structural ‘force element’ on the site’s prime northwest corner, which could serve as both a landmark and for the Town of Rockport as well as RC’s commercial complex. This focal element might be an oversized gazebo, small tower, iconic sculpture or statue or other idea...”

    The complex would include a 100,000 square foot commercial zone, which would feature one or two commercial buildings. each up to 4,000 square feet in size. 

    “It should be emphasized that the envisioned buildings are not soulless strip malls, but rather individualized two-story constructions designed to create a traditional ‘Main Street’ look such as one might encounter in the nicest parts of downtown Freeport or Nantucket,” reads the proposal, adding that Phi Builders would construct the buildings to evoke a “New England-village look.”

    The residential element of the project involves a 100,000 square foot area of 30 “luxurious Maine-made log cabins that will blend into the forest behind the site to honor Maine’s status as America’s most forested state.”

    The cabins proposed would be transported to the property, having been built previously by MBNA and used at Point Lookout in Northport.

    The cabins would be marketed toward retired seniors and snow birds, and would feature high speed internet and public water and sewer service. 

    The proposal states that approximately 134,000 square feet of the site would be allocated as open or green space as well as the complex’s landscaped driveway, and that Rockport Crossing would offer public or recreation amenities to those of all ages. The envisioned farmers market would feature a “hydroponic container farm,” and the repurposed cabins on the property would “enable residents to reduce their carbon footprint by living in compact homes which by their size alone reduce the requirements for electricity, heat and air conditioning.”

    The Rockport Crossing proposal was on the agenda to be discussed by RES Redevelopment Committee at an Oct. 30 meeting, along with introductions of newly-appointed committee members, but the meeting has since been removed from the calendar on the town website.

    At this point no other meeting of the RES Redevelopment Committee has been listed.

    Reach Louis Bettcher at news@penbaypilot.com