The site of the planned Best Western in Rumford, with U.S. Route 2 in the background. Pennacook Falls Investments closed Wednesday on a loan that finalizes the capital needed to proceed with construction of the three-story, 63-room hotel. Rumford Falls Times photo by Bruce Farrin

RUMFORD — Pennacook Falls Investments closed Wednesday on a loan that finalizes the capital needed to proceed with construction of a 63-room Best Western Plus Inn and Suites at 50 Prospect Ave.

The loan agreement with the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, in addition to a previously secured business loan from First National Bank for the majority of the project’s funding, is combined with personal investments from 29 shareholders who make up Pennacook Falls Investments.

The Finance Authority of Maine in February approved 75% commercial loan insurance on a $4.1 million loan by First National Bank to Pennacook Falls Investments.

“We’ve reached another milestone and we’re ready to take it to the next level,” Tony Carter, president of Pennacook Falls Investments, said Thursday.

He said they will have a groundbreaking ceremony in the near future.

The investment group is working with hotel builder Tom Lund of Lund Inn Construction, who has built 15 hotels, including five with the Best Western flag. Melan Hotel Group, based in New Hampshire, is the hospitality management company for the property, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the hotel.

Carter said he had just received the grading plan for the elevations on the site for review.

“Once approved,” he said, “it will get stamped and we’ll be able to start putting equipment on the (2.75-acre) site to build the grades according to this drawing.”

Carter said the Planning Board “gave us a conditional building permit to do earthwork, foundations and underground utilities last month.”

“Once we have all the drawings completed and stamped,” he said, “we’ll submit those (to the Planning Board) for the full building permit.”

On April 26, Pennacook Falls Investments also paid in full to the town of Rumford three promissory notes totaling $125,000 plus interest and late fees for a total of $138,270.

“With the town of Rumford, the state of Maine, (the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development), all those regulatory agencies have been truly helpful to us,” Carter said. “The town Planning Board has been very receptive with everything we’ve brought to them.”

The effort to build the hotel has been in the works since Best Western gave its approval in 2016.

Originally, the plan called for a four-story hotel, but Carter said that after meeting with the builder, a three-story facility proved to be more economical.

“With three stories,” he said, “we do not need a second elevator, a savings of $200,000.”

Carter said fire protection is also different with three stories.

“With four stories,” he said, “you need 3 inches of Sheetrock, and only an inch and a half with three stories.”

The savings is about $1.5 million, reducing the overall cost to about $5.5 million.

Pennacook Falls Investments is a group of 29 small-business leaders and community members who came together to initiate a project to build a brand-name hotel in Rumford.

The effort is considered a first step toward fueling business and tourism growth in the region and revitalizing Rumford’s downtown.

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