In the spring of 2020, architectural and construction firm Barrett Made of Portland, Maine bid on a Saddleback remodel job that would prove to be a pivotal time for Codie Keane, director of construction services.
âWe have visited Saddleback Mountain and have walked the lodge with them on several occasions and come up with a design proposal and corresponding price to renovate the lodge mainly focusing on the third floor pub area, and luckily they selected us , which was awesome. We tend to seek out, pursue, these truly unique one-off projects. You know, not just your everyday cookie cutter project. So this one was really special for us. “
At the time, he probably hadn’t realized how special this was, as it turned out to be the start of a new chapter not only for the Barrett Made company, but for him and his family as well.
âI grew up in Poland, Maine, and until about two weeks ago, I lived in New Gloucester, Maine, and now live in Sandy River.
He inherited his passion for projects of all kinds from his father.
âWe have always worked on the house. My father is like a jack of all trades, in fact the master of many trades. So I grew up, you know, we worked on our own cars, we raced, we did all of our own construction projects. So I think I have a pretty good grasp of the actual work, but luckily I was able to get a good degree and get into management right away. So I don’t work in the field but I am a very practical leader. I really like being on the job site. I love to interact with the guys and girls on site and lend a helping hand wherever I can.
Although Keane had always loved building, he wasn’t always sure where his chosen profession would take him.
âI went to school at Worcester PolyTech, WPI, it’s in Worcester, Massachusetts, I studied civil engineering and I always wanted to get into construction, to work with my hands. I never really wanted to be a computer designer. So after college, I worked for Turner Construction in Boston for a few years, and decided I wanted to come back to Maine. My wife and I got married and wanted to have kids and wanted to bring them back to Maine.
Due to the time spent working at Saddleback, Keane saw an opportunity to further his career in the mountainous region which he quickly appreciated.
âLast year we did the renovation of the lodge. Mainly the 3rd floor pub. So I was only here part time. I came once a week. You know, like spending a night, say two days with the crew, then going back to Portland, and then through our process of working with them, I think they got a liking to how we operate and how efficient we are. and the quality product that we produce, so we started talking to them about projects like the A-frames, the staff house, and there is a mid-mountain lodge project and we also really enjoyed working with Saddleback. So it was this winter when we got an idea of ââwhat to do if we open a second location rather than commuting from Portland and only being halfway there and I said I would love to go there. go all out. So, I asked my boss if he would trust me and he did. So this winter, last winter, I was planning that.
Soon after, the company bought and renovated an office in downtown Rangeley on Main St. Keane then made plans to sell their home and, just over a month ago, bought a new home in Sandy River.
After the holidays, Keane’s wife and children came to join him.
“I’m 6 in kindergarten so he’s going to start here in the school district, which is exciting.”
From 2 employees who traveled from Portland during the initial Saddleback renovations, they now have 13 employees at the Rangeley site and are hoping for more.
âI would say our biggest hurdle that everyone faces now, not just Rangeley, is staffing. It’s just the climate of the country we live in right now. It is very difficult to find help and even more in a remote community like Rangeley, but I think we strive to be a full member of the community and promote the benefits of living here. I think it’s a wonderful place to live, a wonderful place for a family, and there is money to be made, and there will be more and more money to be made as the beauty of Rangeley grows and reaps the benefits of reopening the mountain. I think a lot of people, even like me growing up in southern Maine, you know you had that stigma, you know there is no money to be made in Maine, let alone in the northern Maine. You know, you basically had to run after that money around town or something, but I think times have changed a lot. There is a lot of homework these days. It’s just a growing economy here. So we do our best to present this to the people we meet and talk to and through our publicity efforts to let them know that you know this is a place where you can raise your family, make a living and really enjoy your life. . So, hoping that we can bring an influx of people here and hopefully can build enough housing for them as well. “
For now, he is focusing on his current Saddleback projects.
âThere are three projects on the mountain that we are currently working on. One is the middle mountain lodge. It’s like a 2,700 square foot lodge at the top of the Rangeley elevator. So two-thirds of the way up the mountain. It’s funded by a donor, and it will essentially be a smaller version of the main lodge. He will have food, alcohol, a warm seating area. It is a very unique project but very specific to the mountains and just an extension of their current services.
Then, heading for the South Branch elevator, we make a community of 22 A-frames. So single-family homes.
Right now we are finishing 8 this year and the remaining 14 will be next season. So it’s about providing accommodation, but more for growing families who want a three-bedroom house on the mountainside, ski-in / ski-out. Very unique though. Something all the other great mountains, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, don’t have. You think of a simple A-frame. They are not. They are very big. They are large in size. Very high-end finishes. I think these will be highly sought after homes.
There weren’t many photos there. There have been a few renderings from a computer model of / from what we’re building, but you don’t really get the scale and breadth like proximity to the ski slope too. We’re talking 20 feet from the ski slope, those giant tall A-frames, that’s very cool.
The third project is staff accommodation. It’s sort of a hybrid of a college dorm, hotel, and hostel.
Like the A-frames, the staff quarters will be ski-in / ski-out.
âSo that will be pretty cool for the staff or the housing in the short term. This is something that a lot of people could benefit from. As soon as the sludge season gives way in the spring, we’re going to start this.
He hopes the Rangeley site will gain more employees from the area and, of course, future work.
âWe would like to spread our name more and attract more people from Rangeley, Oquossoc, Sandy River, you know the surrounding towns and we hope to work in Northwestern Maine as well, either in one of the towns around. Rangeley. So we hope people see our work, like what we do, and reach out.