DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Piscataquis County and state officers need to see a former woolen mill and tannery redeveloped to sort out Maine’s lack of inexpensive housing.
The proprietor of the Brown Mills constructing, on Vaughn Highway in Dover-Foxcroft, is promoting the construction, which has 5 flooring and about 65,000 sq. ft of usable area.
The proprietor didn’t disclose the asking value for the constructing.
Commissioner Heather Johnson of the state’s Division of Financial and Neighborhood Improvement and officers from Dover-Foxcroft and Piscataquis County’s financial council toured the pink brick construction Thursday.
Throughout the state, the repurposing of outdated mills has resulted in flats and area for native companies, all whereas preserving the character and architectural components of notable constructions. Dover-Foxcroft’s historic Mayo woolen mill buildings, for instance, opened as a mixed-use complicated together with residences, workplace area, a boutique inn and cafe in 2015.
If the Brown Mills constructing can discover the appropriate developer, native and state leaders see the construction as a possibility for residing area and presumably different mixed-use area, which may ease the agricultural space’s housing crunch and spur financial progress within the space.
“There’s a lot want proper now for properties and constructing redevelopment,” Johnson mentioned following the tour. “If you get these distinctive buildings which have character and actually leverage the native historical past, that’s a possibility.”
The state’s function is to assist appeal to buyers and produce the appropriate individuals to the desk for conversations, Johnson mentioned. That features utilizing a brand new web site — selectmainesites.com — that reveals properties available on the market in Maine and funding by means of the Neighborhood Improvement Block Grant program.
“We attempt to assist no matter the area people’s imaginative and prescient is for buildings like this,” she mentioned.
The transformation of Mayo’s Mill was a serious success, and city officers have hoped an analogous mission could possibly be accomplished on the Brown Mills constructing, City Supervisor Jack Clukey mentioned. He hasn’t heard of condominium vacancies on the complicated and mentioned there’s normally a ready listing, which highlights the necessity for extra housing domestically.
The Brown Mills construction was in-built 1829, operated as a woolen mill till the Nineteen Fifties after which as a tannery till 1975, mentioned Michael Dugay, who guided the tour together with the constructing’s caretaker. He represents proprietor Charles Fitzgerald, who’s 88 years outdated and wishes help with the sale of the constructing.
“He’s had a possibility many occasions to promote this constructing, and he wouldn’t do it,” he mentioned, noting the 12,000 acres that Fitzgerald owns and plans to offer to the state for conservation. “He simply loves to purchase something that has land or is uncommon, however then he doesn’t tend to do something with it.”
Geoff Spitzer, Chinburg Properties’ vp of economic design and improvement, additionally joined the tour. The development agency — primarily based in Newmarket, New Hampshire — owns mill properties in Biddeford, Saco, Westbrook and Lewiston, amongst different locations exterior Maine, he mentioned.
Though Dover-Foxcroft is sort of a methods from the areas the corporate sometimes works in, certainly one of its specialties is historic mill conversions, which is why Dugay reached out, Spitzer mentioned.
“We’re ,” he mentioned. “We’re simply kicking the tires.”
Discussions about find out how to rework the mill have led to concepts about housing, medical entry and youngster care, which may deliver new residents to Piscataquis County and meet the wants of these already residing there, Johnson mentioned.
Angela Arno, Piscatquis County Financial Improvement Council govt director, sees individuals journey to the area for tourism who need to keep, however the county doesn’t have the housing inventory to accommodate them, she mentioned. That features touring nurses who need to work at Mayo Hospital however aren’t trying to purchase homes and as an alternative need to lease, she mentioned.
Arno pointed to native websites such because the Piscataquis County Ice Enviornment and new Jim Robinson Discipline Home, which might be engaging to households. Johnson famous revitalization in Monson and proposed tasks in Greenville. Brown’s Mill Park, which overlooks the Piscataquis River and is adjoining to the constructing they toured, can be an asset now that the realm is clear and accessible, the commissioner mentioned.
Dover-Foxcroft used $600,000 in state Brownfields grant funding to transform the previous tannery property into leisure land for the general public, a mission that wrapped up in 2013, Clukey mentioned.
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