CUSHING — About 450 wooded acres along the Medun-cook River that once held a promise for development of homes worth $300,000 to $900,000 are going up for public sale.
The Meduncook Bay Colony, proposed in 2004 by Glenburn developer Jim Tower, 62, was planned to be three communi-ties on multiacre lots with pier access, common areas and community associations.
Now, mortgage holder Ma-chias Savings Bank is exercis-ing its power of sale in certain mortgage deeds given to the bank by Cushing Holdings LLC, Last Resort Holdings LLC, Out-to-See LLC and Sisters Wilder-ness Trust, companies created to market the land in the devel-opment.
The auction is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 4, at the intersection of Pleasant Point and Gaunt Neck Roads in Cushing, for multiple parcels in Cushing and Owls Head.
The Meduncook Bay Colony sparked controversy from the beginning, according to Bangor Daily News reports. Some neighbors believed the devel-opment might cause irreversi-ble destruction to the health of the river and to the lobster and shellfish industries. The devel-opment’s proposed four wharves also were a concern.
Bangor attorney Michael Haenn, who represents the bank, said the property is to be sold in its entirety. Each bidder will have to put up a $1 million deposit before registering for the auction.
Machias Savings Bank offi-cials said they could not com-ment on the matter.
Nathan Dane, attorney for Tower and the Cushing hold-ings, as they are now called, said he was not authorized to disclose how much money is involved.
“Anyone interested in buy-ing the property would have to do an awful lot of homework from the foreclosure notice,” Dane said.
People who have bought houses already on the property are protected, Dane said. “Indi-vidual homeowners are not affected by the sale in any way,” he said.
Tower would not discuss the matter on the telephone Wednesday.
Cushing Code Enforcement Officer Scott Bickford said the 450-acre colony was to be a low-density, single-family residen-tial community that would have become part of Cushing, 10 miles southwest of Rockland, with its own community school.
Tower’s “colony” encom-passed three subdivisions, with 53 lots on which two houses existed at the time of the origi-nal sale. Four more houses were built, and three are under construction.
Also, a proposed 13-lot subdi-vision known as Robbins Mountain, which Bickford said has never been approved, will be included in the sale, accord-ing to the bank’s legal notice.
Bickford said a lot of groom-ing of the land took place and infrastructure work had been done since the beginning that doesn’t show and an abatement request for assessment hasn’t been resolved.
Bickford said he couldn’t de-termine the value of the prop-erty because of the construction that’s been done and infrastruc-ture added, such as roads.
The Cushing holdings in-clude an 80-acre lot and an 85-acre lot in Owls Head. Accord-ing to the Owls Head town of-fice, the property has not been subdivided.
Bickford, who also is code enforcement officer for Owls Head, said Tower had proposed a 59-lot plan, but never got it past the preliminary stage.
Tower reportedly estimated that his three communities would have added between $40 million and $50 million to Cushing’s assessed valuation once all the homes were built. The homes would have brought in $500,000 a year in new tax revenue.
Tower, who owns Engineer-ing Dynamics Inc. of Bangor, reportedly paid $6.5 million for the two-tract property in 2004.
Bickford said the 13-lot Hornbarn Hill subdivision is on the smaller, 130-acre tract, while Meduncook Plantation in the Colony is on the larger 260-acre tract, which includes Gaunt Neck and Meduncook Point subdivisions.
Some acreage Tower re-tained for future use, he added.
Bickford said there was noth-ing wrong with Tower’s pro-posal.
“It was just the economy,” he said.
Haenn said details about the property are at www.haennlaw.com. Bid pack-ages are available on the day of the public sale.