Downtown Waterville. Colby College on Thursday named an architect and operator for its planned downtown boutique hotel. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik

Colby College, which plans to open a 50-room boutique hotel in downtown Waterville next year as part of that city’s downtown revitalization project, said Thursday that it has named an operator and architect for the hotel.

Baskervill, a Richmond, Virginia-based architecture and engineering firm, has been named as the architect and designer.

And Charlestowne Hotels, a hotel operations management company from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, will run the hotel and its bar and restaurant.

The restaurant will be on the ground floor and have seasonal outdoor dining in a park adjacent to the building.

The hotel was delayed at least a year after Colby fired the original developer and prospective hotel manager, The Olympia Companies, in January 2018, and took over the project itself.

The dismissal came after a woman filed a lawsuit against Kevin Mahaney, owner of The Olympia Companies, alleging he was connected to a sexual assault case. She later withdrew her claim against him, but the college did not reinstate the contract.

Brian Clark, vice president of planning at Colby and head of the committee that is developing the hotel, told the Bangor Daily News in February that the relationship with The Olympia Companies is terminated and declined to comment further.

Colby expects to begin construction on the hotel later this year with an anticipated opening in 2020. Colby’s development arm, Elm City LLC, owns the hotel.

The hotel is on the south end of Main Street in the former Levine’s clothing store and Camden National Bank location.

Colby recently expanded the hotel’s room count from 42 to 50 after it was able to purchase a bank property abutting the clothing store.

“This hotel is a critical component to our shared efforts with the city to bring new life to Waterville’s core, which are already resulting in significant new investment in the city, hundreds of new jobs, an increased population and rising property values for homeowners, “ Colby President David Greene said.

Waterville hasn’t had a downtown hotel since the heyday of grand hotels from the late 1800s to mid-1900s. At the time, The Elmwood Hotel, whose location is now a Rite Aid, attracted events to its ballroom. The Crescent Hotel greeted visitors driving into the city from Winslow.

Today, chain hotels are clustered near Interstate 95.

“It is possible to stay in Waterville at one of these hotels and not come downtown,” Clark said in a February interview. “A great [downtown] hotel can serve as a business and tourist attraction.”

Clark said the new hotel will not be part of a chain and will remain independently operated.

“It will have distinctive elements,” he said.