Jonathan Bates at his property on soon-to-be Ruger Way, off Washington Street. Bates closed his roofing company in 2012 to focus on developing and has since been behind a flurry of construction activity in the area, including several commercial buildings on the Bangor Road and two luxury townhouse developments on Washington Street. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY KATE COUGH

Bustling builder Bates a man of many hats



ELLSWORTH — If it feels like Jonathan Bates is everywhere these days, that’s because in a way, he is.

Bates is office manager, developer, landlord and just about everything else behind Stone Park Properties LLC.

“I often struggle with delegating,” Bates admitted.

But so far the long hours have been worth it.

“This is my dream come true,” said Bates, standing amid the framework of one of his properties on a bitter December morning, looking out over the Union River.

“I’ve always had a dream of developing, ever since I was 5 years old.”

Bates grew up in Dedham. His parents weren’t in construction (“My old man’s a food salesman”), but Bates fell in love with building in high school. He planned to continue, but put those thoughts on hold to get a bachelor’s degree in business and sports management at Husson University.

After college, Bates spent time in Colorado, where he saw developers doing things a bit differently.

“Here, you’re a builder. You do everything,” Bates said. “Out there it’s different. I realized there was a great opportunity for specifying.”

So, around 2006, Bates returned to the area and started a roofing company.

“I hired a couple of really good, talented guys. It grew fast,” Bates said. “The opportunity was there and we seized it.”

The company, Bates Roofing, expanded, taking on large commercial jobs around New England.

“We went where the opportunity was,” Bates said.

The roofing business, he said, “was very kind to us.” It allowed him to think bigger, and in 2012 he closed Bates Roofing to focus on developing, which he’s been doing in earnest ever since.

In recent years Bates has been behind several commercial projects, including the one he was overseeing on Tuesday, a luxury townhouse development on Washington Street slated to open in the spring.

His first was a commercial building at 567 Bangor Road. (Bates’s wife, Amy, owns a salon based out of the space, which is how the two met.)

Stone Park Properties now has 39 units under its belt, not including Washington LUXE.

“That’ll be around 60,” said Bates, adding that his goal at one time was to construct 100 units. “That seems small now.”

Stone Park Properties is also involved in what Bates refers to as a “cluster development” of 10 homes on Denver Way (off Bangor Road near 1A Relics) intended for baby boomers who are downsizing but still want privacy, community and garages.

Washington LUXE, Bates said, will be a “hotel-type feel,” with four furnished units on each level and two “penthouse suites” with picture windows and sweeping views of the Union River.

“You get the most beautiful sunsets,” he added.

The apartments are geared toward young professionals who don’t want to deal with lugging furniture and picking out paint colors.

“Bring your linens, silverware, gym bag and wallet and you’re in,” Bates said.

Prices for the two-bedroom, one-bath apartments will range between $1,200 and $1,600 per month, including everything except electricity. This is slightly less than the $2,000 monthly price commanded by Washington Lofts, another Stone Park Properties space just down the hill from Washington LUXE.

“People told me I was crazy,” for pricing them in that range, said Bates, referring to Washington LUXE. “But within 20 hours they were full.” He expects he’ll have no trouble filling these new units.

Bates said he is developing in Ellsworth because demand is high and “because we love it here.”

“For what we do, this area is great,” he continued. “We try and focus on making sure everything stays local.”

From financing (Bates works almost exclusively with Bar Harbor Bank & Trust: “They have bent over backwards for us.”) to framers, roofers and engineers, Bates said he is committed to hiring locally.

His workers will likely be kept busy, as the company shows no signs of slowing down. Along with the cluster development on Denver Way, commercial units across from Storage Plus and Washington LUXE (located on what will soon be christened Ruger Way), Bates also is exploring development possibilities farther afield in Freeport and is in the process of acquiring land near Jackson Lab.

Bates shies away from projecting too far into the future. But asked where he wants to be in five years, he stated a goal for Stone Park Properties LLC: “We want to be the most prominent multi-family housing developer in the area.”

Kate Cough

Kate Cough

Kate covers the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. She lives in Southwest Harbor and welcomes story tips and ideas. She can be reached at [email protected]

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