June 21, 2018
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Brewer gives tax breaks to two owners of former Lemforder buildings, EMHS

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BREWER, Maine — Two Bangor men purchased the old Lemforder buildings at rock-bottom prices because of the depressed economy and real estate market, but the buildings were assessed as if they were fully operational, according to Brewer’s interim city assessor, Ben Birch.

For that reason, the city on Tuesday gave property tax abatements to Bill Varney, who owns a 55,000-square-foot warehouse at 12 Stevens Road once used by Lemforder, and Chad Walton, who owns the massive 126,000-square-foot former ZF Lemforder plant, which closed in 2010.

The warehouse “was sold at an auction sale for a [bargain] basement deal,” Birch said.

The building’s original assessment was dropped to approximately $2.4 million for both 2011 and 2012, which provided Varney with a $15,660 abatement for both years plus about $1,250 in interest, Birch said.

Walton’s bill for 2012 was essentially cut in half, the interim assessor said.

“He was requesting an abatement of $45,594.98 and he was able to get $26,664.98” plus interest, Birch said.

Walton is president and CEO of SnapSpace Solutions Inc., which opened its doors in February 2011 and converts shipping containers into buildings.

The city also gave a property tax abatement to Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, which requested abatements for both 2011 and 2012.

For 2011, “the original assessed value was $6,491,700 and they were requesting an assessed value of $2,964,661 and a rebate of $52,216.67,” Birch said. “They got $29,921.”

For 2012, EMHS’ Whiting Hill campus property changed and the abatement request was for only two units, Birch said. The city gave EMHS a tax bill rebate of $11,172.

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