July 13, 2020

Bangor council to consider housing project at Freese’s

BANGOR — A Rockport company hopes to sew up an option on the empty portion of a local landmark with a positive vote from the City Council tonight.

Realty Resources Chartered, which already has purchased and developed the rear one-third of the Freese’s building at 74-96 Main St., is looking for an option on the part of the structure the city still owns.

Three of the eight councilors — those attending last week’s community and economic development committee meeting — already have endorsed the proposal. The 17-page document would give Realty Resources an option through Nov. 30, and allow for a six-month extension.

The company would pay $3,000 as an option fee, plus $300 a month for the extended period. The sale price would be $100,000.

According to the proposal submitted two weeks ago by William Hahn, vice president of Realty Resources, the building would be developed into one floor of retail space, two floors of offices, and three upper floors of congregate housing.

The housing would comprise 40 small apartments for senior citizens, each with access to a common dining area, lounge and library. The Eastern Agency on Aging would provide “assisted living” services to the tenants, who would need more help than those in the regular apartments on the back side of the building.

Realty Resources has built several housing projects and other structures throughout New England, and last year opened several units of congregate housing in a new project in Camden.

Construction is scheduled to start within three months of the sale of the building, and would be completed by Dec. 31, 1999.

Hahn and company President Joseph Cloutier have said that they already have a commitment of $2.7 million from investors in the $6 million project. They also would apply for low-income tax credits through the Maine State Housing Authority and seek funding through banks and city resources such as tax-increment financing.

The city sought proposals on the Freese’s building in December after cutting off its relationship with the Northern Conservatory of Music, which held a previous agreement to develop a Maine School for the Arts there.

The conservatory considers its January 1997 agreement to be still in effect and has asked that it be honored, although the city says the agreement has expired.

The city acquired the building a couple of years ago on a matured tax lien and eminent domain, but former owner Charles Fitzgerald is contesting the taking in Penobscot County Superior Court. The trial is scheduled for March.

Also this evening, the council will hold several hearings on liquor licenses and special amusement permits. One applicant for a liquor license is Diva’s, an exotic dance business at 65 State St.

The business is owned by Diane Cormier, who as Diane Hilyard previously operated dance establishments in Ellsworth and Exeter.

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