A large section of pre-built roofing is placed by crane Friday on the Best Western Plus Inn and Suites at 50 Prospect Ave. in Rumford. This first piece was placed over the main entrance, where the Best Western sign will also go. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD — Onlookers pointed their camera phones as large sections of pre-built roofing were placed by crane Friday on the future three-story Best Western Plus Inn and Suites at 50 Prospect Ave.

“I’m pretty excited. Excited for the town, for the hotel, the investors,” said Tony Carter, president of Pennacook Falls Investments, Ltd.

Located on the former Puiia Hardware property, the project began in 2016 but stalled due to permitting and financial issues. There’s 29 local community members who have invested in this project.

Carter, who sees this hotel as a catalyst for economic development, said construction has taken a little longer than they anticipated.

He added that COVID-19 didn’t help things as everyone had state and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) regulations to follow.

“We still plan on opening in the spring. We’re pretty much on schedule with that,” said Carter.

He said the project cost “has elevated some” from the planned $5.5 million budget. Carter said that’s primary due to rising product costs due to COVID-19. A good part of that increase is the price of lumber, which has tripled during the pandemic.

An architectural drawing shows the 63-room Best Western Plus Inn and Suites at 50 Prospect Ave. in Rumford. Submitted photo

Amenities for the 63-room hotel include 12 suites, an indoor pool, a fitness room and a meeting room.

“The pool will be one of the last things we do, and that’s for guests. We took the spa out of the project. We’ve got a modest-sized conference room,” said Carter.

He noted that they have utilized local contractors wherever they could. The project has also maintained the same design that they started with, with a few subtle changes.

The hotel’s builder is Tom Lund of Lund Inn Construction of Seminole, Texas. The firm has built 15 hotels, including five with the Best Western flag.

Melan Hotel Group, based in New Hampshire, will be the hospitality management company for the property, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the hotel.

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