A 33,000 square foot redevelopment project nearing completion on Camden Harbor will bring two new waterfront restaurants this summer in addition to improved facilities for the boat building company that owns the property.
Thomaston-based Lyman-Morse, which operates a shipyard and marina in Camden, is working to rebuild its waterfront facilities after a fire in 2020 caused extensive smoke damage to the series of interconnected buildings that housed its operations, restaurant and distillery.
The reconstruction project is expected to be completed in late May or early June.
“There’s a real energy there in the summer, but even in the winter, with the yachts moored outside, the crews coming and going, work is being done on these pretty amazing vessels. It’s a really fun and everyone really reacts to it,” said Joshua Moore, Lyman-Morse Special Projects Manager. a few more audiences come in to experience it.”
During construction, Lyman-Morse was able to maintain its marine services operations at the Camden site using a large building that was undamaged by the fire, as well as temporary office and store space that was installed outside the building. area, but still on the property.
The new facility will include space for the company’s rigging, carpentry, electronics, mechanical and canvas shops, as well as offices for project managers. It will also include an improved lounge for transient boaters who use the marina’s docks and moorings.
Although Lyman-Morse had no plans to rebuild the Camden facility, which it has owned since 2015, before the fire, Moore said that ended up allowing the company to upgrade the space and make it more efficient from a workflow perspective.
“A lot of the facilities had done many, many years of service and worked well, but they needed updating,” Moore said.
With an improved boardwalk and two new restaurants, the facility will also provide non-boating space for marina users and the public to come and enjoy one side of the harbor across from scenic downtown Camden. .
Jeremy Howard and Andrew Stewart, the local men behind Blue Barren Distillery, will return to the waterfront site in May with a new venture, Barren’s Restaurant.
The distillery opened at the Lyman-Morse site in 2019, but after the 2020 fire operations moved to a Blueberry in Hope, owned and operated by Howard’s family.
The distillery itself will continue to be housed in Hope. But the new restaurant will give Stewart and Howard a place to showcase their growing line of locally made spirits, as well as blueberry products from Howard’s family farm.
While Howard’s roots are in growing blueberries, Stewart previously operated the Drouthy Bear in Camden, which closed during the pandemic.
The Barren’s restaurant will offer pub-style comfort food, as well as upscale seafood dishes, Howard said. The 100-seat restaurant will feature a large indoor-outdoor bar as well as a courtyard.
“We want it to be this really welcoming and cozy place to have a drink and a burger,” Howard said.
The Blue Barren Distillery will also have a storefront at the Lyman-Morse facility where people can purchase spirits and other products like candles and soaps, Howard said.
A second restaurant, Salt Wharf, is set to open on the property, likely in June, according to Moore. The restaurant will be seafood-focused with a raw bar and a rooftop bar “that’s really going to blow some people away, it’s a pretty spectacular place,” Moore said.
The new facility also has several commercial or retail spaces that Lyman-Morse envisions for local artisans functioning as a showroom for their wares or gallery space.
The redevelopment project stands out on the harbor as a modern construction facility, but Moore said the firm had worked to incorporate design elements that serve as a nod to the history of the building styles that existed in the region. This includes designing each of the building spaces with its own architectural style as opposed to one long building, as well as using gable-style pitched roofs facing the water.
“Is this a change? Yes absolutely. But I think it will be a positive change and something that will really help make Camden the special port that it really is,” Moore said.
Apart from the redevelopment of the dockyard, Lyman-Morse is also looking to develop a marina in Camden’s outer harbour. The proposal is still in the planning stage, Moore said.