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Buyer of Romar bowling alley looks to strike with rooms to spare

The asking price for the Romar building is $1,595,000 with a sale listed as pending, according to the Maine Real Estate Network. 9/29 9/29 9/29 9/29 9/29 9/29 9/29 9/29

Archived Story

The potential sale of the iconic bowling alley in Boothbay Harbor was open for public discussion during a special meeting of the Boothbay Harbor Planning Board on Sept29A large contingent of the business community packed the town hall to hear a preliminary request by 8 Wharf St LLC to create four residential units in the space currently occupied by Romar Bowling Lanes, a 16,000-square-foot lot located in the downtown section known as the By-WayThe debate pivots on a previous town ordinance which places a limit of 10,000 square feet per dwelling unit for downtown construction and allows for strict density limits to be placed on downtown developmentAt a previous regular meeting of the planning board on Sept14, the Knickerbocker Group approached the board with preliminary plans on how to reuse the bowling alley, widely considered a landmark, built in 1946 by Leslie Marr and his son-in-law Charlie Rowe. “Tonight’s meeting is designed to accommodate their schedule in regard to moving forward with the purchase of the property,” said Board Chairman Tom Churchill. “At this point we do not have an application, it’s simply a discussion about ordinance issues and interpretations.” Representing 8 Wharf St LLC, Knickerbocker Group’s Randy Smith told the board he was hoping the buyer would have the flexibility to use the building as it’s always been used by the Rowe sisters, the current owners of the bowling alley. “With a formal application we would be applying for proposed change of uses and development,” said Smith. “It’s the continuance and transference of the existing uses based on the zoning ordinance.” According to Smith, there are currently eight existing uses for the building, all conforming in the current districtThe uses include a retail establishment, indoor recreation, a restaurant, a marina, parking facilities, professional use for property care, and accessory storageThe plan would have the flexibility for three commercial spaces with an exterior walkway to a designated green spaceThe second floor of the structure would have a residential duplex. “We would be looking for six uses,” said Smith. “The parking and marina would remain unchanged with the addition of three commercial spaces and a duplex.” Since the death of Charles Rowe in 2011, the bowling alley has been largely dormant save for hosting events during the Windjammer Days FestivalThe large contingent of the business owners included Cannery owner Clifton Cane, who spoke of the history behind the 10,000-square-foot designation under review. “Back in the 1980s, if Dabney (Lewis, former Boothbay Harbor code enforcement officer) let you do it, it was ok,” said Cane. “Gradually we got more sophisticated as the years went by with planning and codesThe 10,000 square feet was a very quick and arbitrary number to exclude people buying downtown buildings and turning them into residential accommodations from the ground up.” The 8 Wharf St LLC group is led by Rahul Anand of Fairfield, Connecticut who recently purchased a building on 8 Wharf Street and revamped the structure, which now houses Seawick’s Candle Company and a second floor apartment. According to Smith, the next step will involve working with the planning board’s guidance to determine a course moving forward. The asking price for the Romar building is $1,595,000 with a sale listed as pending, according to the Maine Real Estate Network.                             try { _402_Show(); } catch(e) {}

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