Eight months after a devastating fire at 50 Main St. in Newcastle, a new building is nearly complete on the footprint of the old.
Dr. Robert DeWitt Jr., a retired orthodontist, is in the final stages of rebuilding after the fire in September 2017.
“It looks just like the old building,” DeWitt said.
The building was previously home to Midcoast Orthodontics and three apartments. In September, the building accidentally caught fire, resulting in the loss of the structure due to fire and water damage.
DeWitt made plans to rebuild right away, with the help of designer Anna Newbert and builder Paul Garber.
The original building dated to the 1790s or so, according to DeWitt.
It was important for the new building to be historically accurate and to complement “the neighborhood’s architectural heritage,” Newbert said.
Newbert owns Stoneboat Architectural Design in Newcastle, which specializes in custom homes, renovations, and additions.
The design process began in October 2017, about a month after the fire, according to Newbert.
“It’s been a fun project,” Newbert said.
The new building is on the same footprint and looks nearly identical to the previous building, with a few new features, like a decorative chimney.
The original building likely had a chimney, but it was removed in the 1900s, according to DeWitt.
Construction started in December 2017. Paul Garber Residential Builders, of Newcastle, is the contractor.
The business has been in the Midcoast since 1983. It specializes in custom homes and renovations, but does all kinds of residential and light commercial work, according to owner Paul Garber.
“Everything’s been on track,” Garber said of the project. “It’s gone along very well.”
A few features of the original building were saved and incorporated into the new one, such as the front door and corbels, according to Garber.
Garber said “a lot of people were concerned” about what would take the original building’s place, but he has received “a lot of good feedback” from the community.
Dewitt said he hopes the building will be finished within the next couple of months.
“That’s an awesome turnaround,” Newbert said.
The new building will have two business spaces downstairs and two apartments upstairs. Midcoast Orthodontics relocated its Lincoln County practice to Damariscotta after the fire.
One of the business spaces will be used by the media company Open Fences, which prints a national magazine marketing luxury rural real estate.
The company, currently based in Houston, Texas, is owned by David Light, who lives in Maine.
“We needed more space,” Light said. He is also looking forward to the company being in the state where he lives.
Dewitt is looking for someone to lease the second 650-square-foot space downstairs, preferably a business that would not have a lot of traffic coming and going.
The space has a lot of natural light, a water view, and air conditioning, according to Dewitt.
For more information, call DeWitt at 563-5985.
(Correction: An earlier version of this article online and in the May 31 print edition incorrectly identified Anna Newbert as an architect. She is the building’s designer.)