June 06, 2020

Art museum lease before panel> Under proposal UM gallery would use Freese’s space rent-free

BANGOR — A sample lease for the University of Maine Visual Art Center will be on the agenda of the community and economic development committee at 5 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

The draft, marked “for discussion purposes only,” would have the city lease 12,395 square feet of space on the bottom three floors of the former Freese’s department store to the university for use as an art gallery with studio and class space, gift shop and offices. The university would not pay rent for the term of the lease, to run Oct. 1, 2000, to Sept. 30, 2005.

The space would comprise: 2,940 square feet on the first floor, 4,355 square feet on the second floor, and 5,100 square feet on the third floor.

The university’s permanent collection, valued at $6 million, would be moved from Orono to Bangor, although officials have emphasized that there would continue to be exhibit space on campus.

The university would maintain an operating budget for the center of $200,000, employing at least 4 1/2 full-time employees and 15 work-study students. It also would pay utilities, insurance and security costs. Another component is the offer of scholarships for Bangor residents, although that is not addressed in the sample lease.

In order to lease the space to the university, the city would lease or purchase it from JMC Partners LLC, an affiliate of the Rockport-based Realty Resources Chartered.

The sample agreement between the city and JMC Partners, similar to the one that provides 21,400 square feet of space for the Eastern Maine Children’s Museum, would reserve space for the art center through the end of 2000.

If the city were to take on the cost of providing the space to the center in the long term, the value would be $663,000 — the cost of renovating the space to the point it could be finished off according to the planned use.

There would be other costs — as much as $600,000 more to finish out the space, install climate control and security, for example.

“We hope to raise funds from outside sources” to cover that amount, McKay said Monday. The city has retained a part-time grant writer, and a “friends” group of the UM Museum of Art has pledged to help raise money, as well.

In other business, the committee will discuss:

The demolition of property at 30 Highland Ave. on Jan. 23. Plans call for the Bangor Fire Department to use the property for fire training that day, with public works completing the demolition and cleanup afterward.

A request for the city to sell land at 1286 Union St. A real estate agent from Lincoln has told officials that his client wants to purchase the Econo-Storage of Maine buildings if the city will sell the land where they are located in the Bangor International Airport Commercial-Industrial Park. The city’s usual policy is to continue to lease the property rather than sell it, and the BanAir board of directors is recommending that the policy be followed.

A request by the U.S. Census Bureau to allow free parking for 40 employees in the unpaved lot across Hancock Street from Fleet Bank — 30 of them during the daytime. The staff recommendation is not to provide the parking free because it “would create an unfair precedent and could result in similar requests from other parkers.”

Meeting today at City Hall will be: municipal operations committee, 5 p.m.; finance committee, 5:30 p.m.; planning board, 7 p.m.

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