Ellsworth sells portion of former school lot for assisted living facility

Posted Sept. 18, 2012, at 12:02 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — City Councilors on Monday night approved the sale of the athletic fields at the former Bryant E. Moore School to a Portland company that will relocate an assisted living facility in Ellsworth to the lot.

First Atlantic Healthcare operates 16 senior housing and assisted living facilities throughout the state, including Collier’s Rehab & Nursing Center on Birch Avenue in Ellsworth. In exchange for the 2.5-acre parcel, the company will pay the city $70,000 and give Ellsworth the building that houses Collier’s.

Collier’s was independently appraised at about $750,000, said City Manager Michelle Beal on Monday. The city and company have been hashing out the deal to relocate Collier’s for some time.

The Council approved the deal unanimously after an executive session with Beal.

“It’s a great deal for us, and we’re very happy to get that building,” Beal said. “The building is in great shape … [and] there are several projects coming down the road that it could be of use for.”

The Birch Avenue nursing home doesn’t have a lot of parking, Beal said, and isn’t particularly well suited for commercial use. But it could become home to one or more city departments, she said. There’s also the possibility that Ellsworth will need a superintendent’s office if it successfully withdraws from Regional School Unit 24.

First Atlantic Healthcare said the location will house a new facility more than double the size of Collier’s, increasing the number of beds from 44 to 91. About two-thirds of those would be for patients who need 24/7 access to nursing care, and the rest would be for clients in an assisted-living facility.

The location is great for a senior housing facility because of its proximity to downtown Ellsworth and to the former Moore School, said First Atlantic Healthcare CEO Ken Bowden last month. The Moore building is leased to Friends in Action, which operates a senior center at the school, and the Down East Family YMCA, which operates its day care there.

Follow Mario Moretto on Facebook at @riocarmine.

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