ROCKLAND, Maine — The 144-year-old former Lincoln Street school is back on the market after Camden National Bank purchased the structure at a foreclosure auction held Tuesday afternoon.
The auction was held on the same day that a historic preservation organization listed the former school as one of the state’s 10 most endangered historic resources.
Camden National was the only bidder for the three-story brick building located on Lincoln Street. Jennifer Roper, vice president and director of marketing, communications and research for the bank, said the bank would market the property for sale.
Camden National held the mortgages on the building taken out by the Lincoln Street Center for Arts & Education. The center had been used as the home for the independent Watershed School, a dance school, as well as numerous studios for artists. The Lincoln Street Center closed in June due to financial problems and mounting renovation work that was needed.
On Tuesday, the former school building was placed on the endangered list by the statewide nonprofit organization, Maine Preservation. This was the 15th annual list of endangered resources issued by the organization.
Maine Preservation Executive Director Greg Paxton said placement on the list does not restrict any use of the building.
“It’s done to call public attention to these landmarks,” Paxton said in a phone interview.
In a news release, Paxton said historic buildings are major assets for Maine communities.
“Preservation of these built resources is a leading catalyst for community revitalization, economic development and continued quality of life for the citizens of Maine’s towns and cities,” he stated in the news release.
Real estate broker Doug Erickson, who had marketed the property for the Lincoln Street Center, was among those who attended Tuesday’s auction.
Erickson said the property would be much more marketable if it was zoned residential B rather than residential A as it is now. Residential A limits the number of housing units on the property to two. The one exception is if the housing is elderly housing.
He said that zoning the property residential B would allow for multiple apartments or condominiums.
Maine Preservation’s Paxton summed up his assessment of the Lincoln Street Center issue.
“The town of Rockland has already been an exemplary model in the effective use of commercial space to rejuvenate its rich historic downtown area,” he said. “Its legacy remains incomplete, however, without a broader look at existing community resources.”