Algonquin closure carries economic ripples into Maine

Tourism operators from around the Passamaquoddy Bay are looking forward to the fall when the Algonquin Hotel is expected to reopen, after going without the key attraction for two straight summers.

Tourism operators in Eastport say they're feeling the impacts of hotel's renovations

Tourism operators around the Passamaquoddy Bay say the ongoing closure of the historic Algonquin Hotel in St. Andrews has impacted their business for a second straight summer.

The resort began renovations in the winter of 2012. It was to re-open in June, but delays pushed that opening back to this fall, meaning a second tourist season has been lost.

Linda Godfrey, the co-owner of The Commons Eastport, a Maine-based gallery representing more than 100 artists from the Passamaquody Bay area, said tourism on the two sides of the bay are more closely linked than many suspect.

"And with them not opening it made other things, the domino effect, a reality to us," said Godfrey.

"Quite often we'll call over and say, 'How's it going? When do you think it's going to open?'"

Godfrey said it was a good summer tourism season for Eastport, however, she said it was apparent that a key link in the chain of attractions around the bay was missing.

"We're always asking ourselves, 'What are the patterns?' And it was during that discussion … that we realized the Algonquin's a really key part of that," she said.

"We always have to think about what's going on in St. Andrews, Deer Island, Campobello, Lubec, looking at our whole geographical area here. And that's when [we realized] the Algonquin didn't get to open in their plan and that does make a difference."

Godfrey said while the construction delays are a concern, she is happy a decision was made to invest heavily in the famous resort hotel.

In March 2012, the New Brunswick government sold the Algonquin to New Castle Hotels and Resorts and Southwest Properties.

The Tudor-style hotel was built in 1889 by the St. Andrews Land Co.

When it opens its doors again, the Algonquin will be a part of Marriott's Autograph Collection, a brand of luxury hotels.

The business community in St. Andrews has been told to expect big changes when the Algonquin is up and running again, especially in the winter months.