The new owners of an inn that was a fixture near downtown Orono for nearly 60 years want to tear it down and build a new office space for 100 workers.
Texas-based Tyler Technologies wants to demolish the University Inn on College Avenue to make way for a new office building on the property, according to an application the company submitted to the town.
The University Inn closed last December after 57 years in business following its sale to Tyler Technologies, which provides software to the public sector.
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The updated plans for the property mark a change from the technology company’s original plans when it bought the property and said it wanted to convert the hotel into an office space for up to 75 employees.
The proposed new office building would provide workspaces for 100 employees and student interns, according to the company’s application. Designs for the office indicate that it will be just under 15,000 square feet and would have about 69 parking spaces.
The company chose the location because of “its proximity to the University of Maine and the opportunities for research synergy,” the company said through its agent, Jeffrey T. Aceto of SMRT Architect and Engineers, in its application to the Orono Planning Board.
The new building would sit on the footprint of the now former inn. It would feature a patio for employees outside that faces the Stillwater River. A walking path would stretch across the approximately four acres of land the property contains, according to project renderings.
Before the company can begin to tear down the inn, it has to gain approval from the town to change the zone in which the land currently sits.
Tyler Technologies is seeking a contract zone agreement, which is different from the town changing the zone in which the parcel is located, Town Planner Kyle Drexler said.
Currently, the inn is considered legally nonconforming, as it is a commercial business located inside the town’s medium-density residential zone. If the planning board and the town council approve a contract zone agreement, the property would then be a part of the Village Commercial zone and the building would conform to that zone’s use, Drexler said.
Rather than changing the parcel’s zoning entirely, the contract agreement allows the town to put in place more safeguards and conditions that would prevent the use or future use of the property from being a nuisance to those in the surrounding area, he said.
Aside from the changes to the parcel’s zoning, the town’s planning board will have to approve the overall site plan associated with the project, Drexler said. Both items will come before the planning board during its meeting Wednesday night.
When the company announced it had purchased the building it said nearly 40 employees working in its Bangor office would move to the new Orono location. Tyler Technologies has about 1,200 employees in Maine between its offices in Bangor, Falmouth and Yarmouth.
If approved, the company plans to begin construction in winter 2023, and work will last about 14 months.
Tyler Technologies did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday.