April 07, 2020

Philanthropist buys Bangor landmark

BANGOR — One of the the downtown’s handsome buildings, the former United Bank Building at 2 Hammond St., was sold this week to a Connecticut man who runs a charitable foundation serving underprivileged children.

John A. Couri of Ridgefield, Conn., who runs the Couri Foundation Inc., purchased the three-story brick, granite and concrete building from Robert Ade, who had owned it with partners for the last 12 years.

Ade had operated his property management business, B & A Property Management, from the building. The building was headquarters for United Bank from 1980 until 1995 when the bank outgrew the 1940s-vintage bank building that was first built for the former Merrill Trust Co.

Ade declined to reveal the building’s sale price and the property transfer had not yet been filed with the city.

Couri could not be reached for comment about the sale Thursday, but Paul Cook of Bangor, who has been hired to manage the property, said the new owner plans to use the building for an elder-care program.

Cook said Couri, through his family foundation, had started programs for children and business students and now was interested in doing something for elders.

Couri and his wife, Elaine, founded a nonprofit foundation in 1989. About 10 years ago, they purchased Sky Lodge, an old hunting lodge in the western Maine town of Moose River near Jackman, and renovated the rambling inn with nine bedrooms, 10 fireplaces and a view of the mountains along the border with Quebec. They use the lodge each summer to host a six-week camp for underprivileged children from New York City and throughout New England, said Joanne Van Camp, the customer services manager at Sky Lodge. Children come for weeklong stays, white-water rafting, camping and hiking.

In December, the Couris started a new program for children from the Boys and Girls Clubs in Portland and Nashua, N.H. The couple invited 19 inner-city children to the lodge for an old-fashioned Christmas weekend. The lodge is also rented out to groups for reunions, weddings and hunting trips throughout the year.

And in June, the Couri foundation will hold a program for business-school students at the lodge. Between 14 and 18 students seeking master’s degrees in business administration will be invited to come to Sky Lodge to meet with prominent business people.

Before founding a family foundation, Couri owned numerous duty-free shops along the nation’s borders. Cook said it was through this business that he came to know the Jackman area.

Cook called Couri’s purchase of the old bank good news for downtown Bangor. He said Couri has plans to renovate the building, which was built sometime during the 1940s for the former Merrill Bank.

“It has vaults on all floors and the wood finish work is really attractive,” Cook said. “It is a beautiful property with a ton of potential.”

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