OXFORD — Groundbreaking on a planned 90-room Hampton Inn began last week, and developers hope to finish the project in time to hook on to the new municipal sewer system, expected to come online this autumn.

The site of the new hotel is on farmland formally owned by members of the Hall family next to the Crestholm Farm Stand on Route 26 directly across from the Oxford Casino.

Construction vehicles from R.E. Coleman Excavation of Portland were at the site Tuesday grading the hillside for erosion control to stabilize the property in preparation for the construction season.

An anticipated start date for full construction is “still up in the air,” according to Glen Holmes, director of the Western Maine Economic Development Group, a Division of Community Concepts Finance Corporation.

“They really felt they needed to get on site and get the erosion control addressed so it was stabilized and ready to go for whenever they get ready to start,” Holmes said.

Speaking at the site, Holmes said that GIRI Hotel Management, the Quincy, Mass.-based company financing the hotel development, is coordinating with the town to time its construction with the development of the town’s new sewer project.

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“Everyone understands that things happen and delays occur, and that’s OK, but we want to get the best information possible as we move into the construction season,” Holmes said.

He confirmed that the hotel will be a Hampton Inn.

The roughly four-acre property where the hotel is to be built was transferred from Suzanne Hall, the owner of Crestholm Farms, to GIRI Oxford I LLC, a subsidiary of GIRI, in November, according to records from the Oxford County Registry of Deeds.

GIRI Oxford I, in November, also took out a mortgage worth more than $5 million from Kennebunk Savings Bank for the property, according to records from the deeds office.

The hotel project, which also includes a restaurant, is expected to cost $15.4 million, according to development plans submitted to the town. It is projected to create as many as 90 construction jobs and employ at least 80 people when it opens.

In December, Selectmen signed a credit enhancement agreement with Thurlow Family LLC, the company representing the family that owns property around the planned hotel. The agreement gives a portion of the new property taxes generated by the hotel back to the developers, for use on pre-approved infrastructure projects.

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One of the requirements in the agreement is that the developers need to have added $4 million in value to the property by April 1.

That deadline now looks impossible to meet, but Oxford Town Manager Michael Chammings said Tuesday that the town will consider the contract satisfied if the total projected value of the project is in place by April 1, 2015.

According to the terms of the agreement, developers are required to add at least $10 million in value to the property by that time.

“We hoped to have some value there before (April 1) to have an early revenue source, but the later deadline will still allow for dedicated funds to be available when the interest and principal payments (on the town’s sewer project) begin to come due,” Chammings wrote in an email. “The agreement is still very mutually beneficial.”

Oxford Code Enforcement Officer Rodney Smith said the town still has yet to receive building plans for the hotel project.

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