Penquis wants to buy the Pine Tree Inn on Cleveland Street in Bangor.

A Bangor social services agency wants to buy a small hotel in the city and convert it to an apartment building with efficiency units.

Penquis is proposing to buy the Pine Tree Inn on Cleveland Street, and the city’s planning board on Tuesday unanimously approved the agency’s application to rezone the property to allow for efficiency units.

Jason Bird, Penquis’ housing development director, told the board that the agency was in the process of finding funding to finance the purchase of the hotel from owner John Karnes, and did not yet know how many units there would be.

The efficiency units would come as Bangor faces a dearth of housing for all income levels and the city has considered a handful of similar zoning proposals in recent months aimed at encouraging new housing development.

The city has also seen growth in its homeless population during the pandemic. The Pine Tree Inn is located just up the hill from the Hope House shelter and across the street from an encampment used by homeless residents.

Penquis and Karnes signed an option to purchase agreement on March 25, according to city planning records.

Bird said that the agency would “finalize work” with its architect to discuss what the building would look like after its application was approved on Tuesday. A Penquis spokesperson on Wednesday said the agency couldn’t yet provide additional details.

The approved application means that the property would be rezoned from shopping and personal services to government and institutional uses. The 22 Cleveland St. property had previously been zoned for government and institutional uses before the Pine Tree Inn opened, according to Penquis’ application.

The Pine Tree Inn has operated there since 2018, manager Todd Kindler said.

Karnes declined to comment.

Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to