Insurance co. launches construction of Yarmouth headquarters

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YARMOUTH — The expansion of Patriot Insurance began last week with the demolition of the former Down-East Village motel on Route 1.

The insurance company purchased the property at 705 U.S. Route 1 on Oct. 14 for $1.8 million. Negotiations and plans for the $12 million project began earlier this year.

The location will become the company’s headquarters.

“We were interested in getting a home we could stay in for a long time,” Linc Merrill, the company’s president, said Tuesday.

Patriot Insurance, which has been leasing space in the Tyler Technologies building on Route 1 since 2008, has 69 employees, 64 of whom work in Yarmouth. The expansion will allow the company to grow to 100-125 employees within the next five to 10 years, Merrill said.

Merrill said Yarmouth was chosen for the company’s headquarters because it has the potential to attract new employees.

“We’ve got to be in a location where we can get (employees) and where they want to live,” he said.

The expansion was approved by the Planning Board in September. The plan is to construct a new, two-story, 34,400-square-foot building on the property, along with a 2,500-square-foot garage. The building will include three units totaling 9,000 square feet that will be rented to businesses. 

Crews on Nov. 8 began demolishing the motel and office buildings on the site. A.H. Grover, of North Yarmouth, is doing the demolition, as well as building the foundation and the parking lot. The company will also create a new sidewalk along the front of the building, do the landscaping, and create a crosswalk across Route 1.

Denise Clavette, Yarmouth’s economic development director, in January said Patriot intends to create a property with “a building of traditional New England architecture, fitting within Yarmouth’s historical character, a well-designed landscape, gardens, and connecting to the town’s walking path.”

 It is one of the first projects approved under the town’s Route 1 character-based code, which sets standards for the appearance of buildings.

Additionally, it is Yarmouth’s second major expansion project since Clavette was hired as the town’s first economic development director in January 2015. The first was the expansion of Tyler Technologies, which began earlier this year and is expected to add 575 local jobs over the next 10 years.

The Patriot project includes a parking lot with 99 spaces. Also, three cars will fit in the garage and three will be able to park in the driveway outside the garage. 

The building will include a 1,800-square-foot community room that will hold a few hundred people, according to Merrill. The space will be used at times by Patriot Insurance, but will also be available for community groups and organizations. Merrill said when developing plans for the project, he was told by town administrators that Yarmouth needs a large community space.

Merrill, a North Yarmouth resident and Yarmouth native, said getting Patriot Insurance involved in the town is important to him.

“We wanted to be part of a community,” he said.

Construction bids will go out next week, Merrill said, with the hope that work can start in December. The expansion is expected to be completed by October 2017.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

The president of Patriot Insurance, Linc Merrill, said the company’s new headquarters at 705 U.S. Route 1, the former site of the Down-East Village Motel, should be completed by October 2017.

The 34,400-square-foot Patriot Insurance headquarters, which will be completed next fall, will be one of the first projects built under Yarmouth’s new character-based development code.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.