PORTLAND — The work was so close to being done it made the disaster that struck even more tragic.

The redevelopment of the last historic structure on Great Diamond Island, part of the circa-1900 Fort McKinley, seemed doomed after a fire ripped through the structure on the night of Nov. 23.

“We were about three or four weeks away from a certificate of occupancy,” remembers Gerard Kiladjian. “The floors were down, the carpet was down,” and the furniture was ordered and on its way.

Instead, the building was reduced to a shell. So it’s appropriate that the company that’s rebuilding is called Phoenix Management.

The cause of the fire was never determined, but Kiladjian, who manages the Portland Harbor Hotel for the same ownership group rebuilding the hotel, said the historic brick part of the structure survived the blaze intact.

Part of the city of Portland, Great Diamond Island became a battleground for development catering to the high-end second home and seasonal housing market decades ago. In 1984, a proposal was made to turn the 100-plus brick buildings that comprise Fort McKinley into a 215-unit luxury condominium complex, including shops, a restaurant and other amenities.

The project was not built as proposed, but today, the island hosts the 121 year-round residences that make up the Diamond Cove development, also owned and managed by the group building the hotel, as is the Diamond’s Edge restaurant and marina.

The latter two amenities will play roles in attracting visitors to the new hotel, Kiladjian said.

The hotel will feature 44 units, mostly 1-bedroom suites, with a few 2-bedroom suites and a few single rooms, he said. Rooms will rent for $200 to $400 per night, with a 2- or 3-night minimum, depending on the season.

“It’s pretty much a destination hotel,” he explained, meaning that guests travel there in large part because of what the lodging offers. The market that owners are imagining the hotel will appeal to include families with children, “because the kids can let loose” on the island, “and the older crowd,” who will embrace the isolation an island offers.

Other market sectors include family reunions and corporate conferences. Corporate retreats also might book at the hotel, Kiladjian said, because of the proximity of Rippleffect, a non-profit camp facility on nearby Cow Island that offers teambuilding exercises and outings.

“You can literally swim to Cow Island,” he said.

The isolation of the island is central to the plan, Kiladjian said. Once the building is complete and the hotel open, staff will meet guests at a kiosk in Portland and take their luggage and ship it to the island.

“Give us your car, give us your luggage, we’ll give them their ferry tickets and tell them, ‘Go have fun,'” he said.

“Part of the charm and the whole experience is the boat ride there. We feel the ferry trip is part of that experience,” underlining the reality that guests are island-bound.

Once on-island, guests can relax and enjoy the grounds or be active. The hotel plans to partner with area schooners and charter fishing boats so guests can take excursions directly from the marina there.

Like the Portland Harbor Hotel, Kiladjian said, the new property will cater to what’s known as the “independent hotel” traveler.

“They’re looking for something different, not a chain, something authentic,” he said.

The Portland Harbor Hotel, opened in 2002 and aimed at the same sort of traveler, has been “pretty successful,” he said.

The new hotel is expected to be completed in 2015.