OXFORD — After ups and downs, lawsuits and setbacks, Oxford’s first hotel, the Hampton Inn is finally open for business.
The 93-room, five-floor hotel at 153 Main St. on Route 26 in Oxford opened its doors to guests on Monday, Dec. 19.
According to the central reservation desk, only 20 of the 93 rooms remained unbooked for Tuesday, Dec. 20.
“It’s time,” said Front Office Manager Andrew Cavanaugh early Monday afternoon as he and other associates waited for the final permission from parent company Hilton Hotels to open up for guests.
The long-awaited opening date of the hotel has been pushed back several times since the company broke ground in March 2014. An occupancy permit was issued on Monday, Dec. 12.
Completion of the hotel has been beleaguered by liens from contractors. In October, general contractor Calamar Construction of New York sued a local framing company for nearly $470,000, citing deficient work and failure to complete the scope of work, which Calamar says delayed the overall project.
The complaint filed in Oxford County Superior Court on Oct. 5 against Stephen Bourassa, owner of Alexander Construction in Minot, asks for a judgment of $469,564 for breaching the subcontractor’s contract, including not having an adequate workforce, not completing work on time, causing delays to other subcontractors and major deficiencies in its work. Bourassa has filed a counter claim.
Alexander Construction was hired by Calamar Construction, which was hired by developer GIRI Oxford I of Massachusetts, to build the hotel on Route 26. The company was fired in January.
Framing of a building is one of the first steps taken in construction and considered to be the foundation for all other work on the building.
At least three other liens have been placed on the project by subcontractors throughout the construction process. Most have been resolved, according to Calamar Construction.
In November, local officials refused to sign off on a occupancy permit citing deficiencies that needed attention.
A conditional certificate of occupancy was issued Nov. 17 by Joelle Corey-Whitman with nine items, ranging from addressing holes in the main lobby and cafeteria area to electrical conduit work that needed to be addressed. Additionally, all state inspection forms had to be forwarded to the town.
Plumbing that was found to be incomplete or incorrect during the Nov. 17 inspection had to be reinspected, according to the conditional certificate of occupancy.
On Dec. 12, Corey-Whitman issued the certificate of occupancy to GIRl Hotels, LLC for the Hampton Inn .
The roughly 4-acre property on Route 26 was sold by Suzanne Hall, owner of Crestholm Farms, to GIRI Oxford I, a subsidiary of GIRI, in November 2013.
It is located directly across the street from Oxford Casino where construction is now going on for a hotel of its own.
Cavanaugh said the hotel hopes to attract not only casino patrons but skiers coming down Route 26 to the large ski areas and others. There is no other chain year-round hotel directly on Route 26 between the Exit 63 in Gray on Route 95 and the Bethel area where several major ski areas, such as Sunday River ski resort, are located.
The area of the western foothills of Maine is considered a four-season vacation destination attracting a large population of tourists.
The opening of the nearby Oxford Casino in 2012, with two subsequent expansions, has also impacted travel to the Maine’s lakes and mountain region but until now no chain hotel has taken advantage of the traffic.