Newport businessman buys Bangor YMCA building

Posted Oct. 06, 2011, at 8:29 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Three months after going on the market, the former Bangor YMCA building at 127 Hammond St. has been sold by the Bangor Y to a well-known entrepreneur from Newport.

Greg Lovley, a developer who owns several businesses in the Newport-Palmyra area including motels, eateries, the Newport Entertainment Center and a gas station, is branching out in Bangor with the purchase of the 51,000-square-foot building and the 1.6-acre lot on which it stands.

Mike Seile, CEO of the Bangor Y, confirmed the sale was official on Monday but would not disclose the purchase price or the buyer, which is listed as Lovley Development Inc. of Newport on official documents filed with the city of Bangor. Greg Lovley is the owner of Lovley Development.

“My understanding is it’s potentially some sort of housing project by an area businessman,” Seile said.

Attempts to reach Lovley for comment on the purchase were unsuccessful Thursday.

Other parties showing strong interest in the property were the Penobscot County commissioners and Bangor businessman Dan Sykes and his wife, Elena.

The asking price for the property was $725,000, which works out to $15 a square foot.

“Downtown properties have been selling for anywhere from $10 to $40 a square foot,” said Epstein Commercial Real Estate broker Bev Uhlenhake, who negotiated the sale. “But that building will require extensive renovations and anyone looking at it realized that to make it profitable or usable, the cost of the property isn’t the only thing they’ll be paying and the follow-up costs will be way higher.”

The building also will require its new owner to apply for a zoning change since the property sits in a zone allowing governmental and institutional use only.

“The city’s got to be thrilled they’re going to start getting tax dollars out of that property for the first time,” Uhlenhake said. “It’s been off the rolls for a long time.”

According to Bangor’s assessing office, the Bangor YMCA building is valued at $2,898,400 and the property is valued at $320,000. That would compute to about $63,000 in property taxes each year.

Lovley owns several apartment buildings in the Bangor area and the warehouse on the corner of Hammond and Hildreth streets that once housed Marden’s Surplus and Salvage and later Old Town Canoe.

“I think this is wonderful news for the community and Bangor in particular,” said Uhlenhake. “We feel the Y got a very good deal out of it because it’s a very large building with significant challenges to make it profitable.”

Uhlenhake said the deal took about a month and a half to go from initial interest to final sale.

Seile said he’s happy to have the sale completed and to be able to look ahead to the Phase II expansion planned for the recently renovated Bangor Y building at 17 Second St.

The sale’s proceeds will go toward a portion of the Bangor Y endowment that is pledged as collateral for the Maine New Market Loan the Y secured to fund Phase I.

“We took out $2 million for property acquisition and expansion, so effectively from a long-term perspective, we can now cover our debt obligation,” Seile said.

Y officials removed all historically significant items and memorabilia from the Hammond Street building before holding a surplus auction of furniture and equipment. They even removed a time capsule placed in the building’s cornerstone when it was completed in 1971.

The next step for the Y involves inviting comment from members and Bangor residents.

“We’ll be taking surveys to determine the needs of the community, which will drive what spaces and facilities we add,” Seile said. “We do want a full-size regulation high school basketball court, land fitness studios for things like yoga and pilates, expanded locker room space, and space for at-risk youth mentoring programs.”

The Bangor Y was founded in 1867 and serves almost 10,000 people each year through membership, programs and outreach services. It also provides child care programs for more than 430 children 18 months to 12 years old.

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