ROCKLAND, Maine — The former Lincoln Street Center — which has been a Rockland school and cultural center spanning back nearly 150 years — has been given another lease on life.
Orchid LLC purchased the property two weeks ago, according to Mario Abaldo of Rockland, who is a principal partner in the corporation. Abaldo said Monday that the plan is to make significant renovations to the building and then reopen it in about three months as a cultural center similar to what was being done before it closed in June.
Orchid LLC purchased the three-story brick building from Camden National Bank, which took possession of the historic complex in August after the Lincoln Street Center for Arts and Education surrendered the building. The sale price has not been disclosed.
The center had been used most recently as the home for the independent Watershed School, a dance school, as well as numerous artists’ studios. The Lincoln Street Center closed in June because of financial problems and mounting renovation work that was needed.
Abaldo said an elevator will be installed and work will be done on the roof, windows, doors and heating system.
“We want to save a historic building and make it a profitable venture,” Abaldo said.
He and his brother operate Abaldo Design and Build which is a contracting and development firm. The family company will make the renovations to the Lincoln Street Center.
“There’s a lot of potential. It may not be a large profit maker but it should be able to make enough to keep the doors open,” he said.
He said the key will be proper management.
Abaldo’s wife, Sherry Abaldo, formerly Sherry Baker, is from the Union area. The family moved to Rockland two years ago.
He said Rockland has a lot of potential and that is why he wants to make the investment in the Lincoln Street Center.
The building was constructed in 1868 and served as the city’s high school until Rockland District High School opened in 1962. The school then became Rockland Junior High School and later Rockland District Middle School before it closed in 1995, when there were concerns expressed about poor air quality affecting students and staff.
The city acquired the property from the school district in 1996 and sold it to the Lincoln Street Center for Arts and Education in April 2002 for $61,000.
The 45,000-square-foot school has a 300-seat auditorium and a gymnasium along with numerous classrooms.
Orchid LLC was formed Dec. 26, according to the Maine secretary of state’s office, and the sale of the property was filed in the Knox County Registry of Deeds on Dec. 28.