RUMFORD — Ground will be broken this fall for a 60-room Best Western Plus hotel near the foot of Falls Hill on Route 2, according to a group of local investors.

With the Paul Bunyan statue in the background, a news conference to announce the multimillion-dollar project was held at the Rumford Falls Information Center by Pennacook Falls Investments LTD.

The hotel, which will have about 8,000 to 10,000 square feet on each of the four floors, will include a conference center and an indoor pool.

Tony L. Carter, president of Pennacook Falls Investments, told the 40 people in attendance that the hotel will be “just across from where you’re standing today. The proposed site hasn’t been utilized in many, many years,” he said.

“We’re a group of local investors that saw an opportunity in the town of Rumford,” he said. He said that less than a year ago, 50 rooms were lost in the fire at Linnell Motel in Rumford.

“That just made our business case that much stronger,” Carter said. When people want to stay in the area, he said, they have to go clear to Bethel, Wilton or Lewiston/Auburn.

“It’s all local people from the River Valley, working with local banks, the governor’s office, etc,” he said. “We’ve been working about nine months.”

Carter estimated the cost of the hotel to be between $5 and $7 million.

He estimated an opening by Columbus Day of 2017, “but everything has to go right.”

He said the hotel would create 25 to 35 permanent jobs.

Carter said they still have some work and permitting to do with Federal Emergency Management Administration and the Department of Environmental Protection.

“When (FEMA) determined the floodplain, it was random,” he said. “There was no science put into it. So we have surveyors over there today doing cross sections that actually prove what the flows could be coming off the back of that (Bean Brook).

“I talked to engineers the other day and we’re pretty confident that we’ll get it done. We’ve just got to go through the actions.”

Once that’s completed, he said Pennacook Falls Investments will make a proposal on the land. They have an option on the property, which they will appraise.

Carter said they’re working with the Casalinova Development Group LLC of Oxford and with Building Solutions, also of Oxford.

Joseph J. Casalinova, president of Casalinova Development Group, said, “Our feeling was, in general, that this site really lent itself to its best location to make a statement for those looking to expand, grow or invest in the Rumford community.”

Carter said there are 15 to 20 local investors for the hotel. Once the FEMA piece is done, Pennacook will then seek major investors for the project.

Rumford Town Manager John Madigan opened the news conference by saying, “This is one of the most positive things we’ve seen happen here in a long time.”

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