Attractions like the Piscataquis County Ice Arena have led an economic development group to seek a developer to put an 80-room hotel in Dover-Foxcroft. Credit: Stuart Hedstrom / Piscataquis Observer

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The Piscataquis County Economic Development Council has put out a request for proposals to develop a hotel with at least 80 rooms in Dover-Foxcroft.

The group has identified two potential sites for the hotel — an undeveloped lot on West Main Street behind Community Health & Counseling Services and Penquis Rental, and any available lot within the Pine Crest Business Park off Route 7. The group said it has the consent of the owners of the sites — Pinecrest Development Corp., and Speedway Inc., respectively — to pursue the project and facilitate a deal. Market prices for the parcels are to be determined between the buyer and seller.

Angela Arno, executive director of the economic development council, outlined the plan to the Dover-Foxcroft Select Board during a meeting on Monday evening.

According to the proposal, a hotel would be built in Dover-Foxcroft but neither the economic council nor the town would develop or own the property. A developer with hotel experience would purchase a parcel for an exclusive use with deed restrictions. The vision for the development is an upper-midscale, limited-service hotel that will serve the needs of a variety of stakeholders. The building would have a minimum of 80 rooms.

Arno said there is demand for such a hotel because of local attractions, including Sebec Lake, Moosehead Lake and Katahdin, and the Piscataquis County Ice Arena. The hotel could house families coming to Dover-Foxcroft for ice hockey tournaments.

The RFP is to identify a qualified and experienced developer which either has developed and owned hotels or will be in partnership with a hotel operator. The economic development council chose to take this approach rather than using a more traditional real estate broker because of the organization’s desire to influence the parameters of the development. It does not wish for development of any real estate category other than a hotel and the parcel acquisition would be contingent upon certain deed restrictions.

Arno said the RFPs were issued at the beginning of the month. Site tours will be in early December, with questions to be submitted and answered a few weeks later, and proposals are due by Jan. 12, 2024 with a finalist to be selected in early February. Design, permitting, and zoning would follow and ideally the hotel would open in September of 2026.