May 24, 2020

Ex-research barns, 45 acres sold in Salisbury Cove

BAR HARBOR – Two large red barns that once housed The Jackson Laboratory’s dog and rabbit genetics programs and the roughly 45-acre parcel in Salisbury Cove that surrounds them were sold last week to two local men.

Owner Ellen Emery of Bar Harbor sold the barns, several homes and land to Brian Shaw, a Bar Harbor builder, and Tim Gott, owner of a trash disposal company in Southwest Harbor, for an undisclosed sum.

The land and buildings are valued by the town at about $500,000.

The new owners have not yet decided what their plans for the property will be or what will be the fate of the barns, although some sort of development is likely in their future.

“We just want to look at our options,” Shaw said. “We may leave the barns, both of them.”

Shaw said that he and Gott may consider using the town’s new planned unit development guidelines as they determine what to do with the property.

Those guidelines were created to entice developers to include in their plans such desired options as playgrounds or affordable units in exchange for being allowed to build more units, planning board chairman Ellen Dohmen said Monday.

“It’s incentive zoning,” she said.

Because Bar Harbor is in the midst of its six-month moratorium on residential development, Shaw did not give a project timeline or planned start date.

“I think it’s interesting,” he said of the incentive zoning guidelines. “I’m considering it … we’re trying to work with the town.”

The red barns were given to The Jackson Laboratory in 1941 by the trustees of Mr. and Mrs. William Pierson Hamilton’s estate. In 1946, thanks to funding by the Rockefeller Foundation, a large colony of dogs was established there for a behavior-study program that lasted until 1968.

Laboratory officials later added a rabbit research program at the facility, known as Hamilton Station, that lasted until 1982, when it was decided to focus on mouse research, a lab spokesperson said Wednesday.

The barns were listed for sale by the lab after the termination of the rabbit research program.

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