BAR HARBOR, Maine — An Orland couple who own and operate two stores in Waldo County are the new owners of a prominent property at the head of Mount Desert Island.
Bain Pollard and Rita Turner Pollard have acquired the former Parkadia property where routes 102 and 3 diverge near the causeway to Trenton and points beyond. The Pollards owned and operated Hungry Murphy’s in Southwest Harbor in the 1980s and early 1990s and are current owners of the Steamboat Galley gas station and convenience store in Searsport. The business on Route 1 in Searsport includes Dunkin’ Donuts, a laundromat and a car wash.
Pollard and his wife, who also have owned and operated a convenience store in Winterport, also own Perry’s gas station and store in Stockton Springs.
Bain Pollard said Friday that, after several attempts last fall by Machias Savings Bank to auction off the property, he bought the Bar Harbor property from the bank for $126,000. According to the town’s online assessing database, the prior owner of the approximate 1.18-acre property — which has an assessed value of $312,700 — bought it in 2000 for $300,000.
Pollard said he and his wife expect to invest another couple hundred thousand dollars in the property before they open it this spring. The facility has substandard fuel lines that connect gasoline pumps to an underground storage tank, he said, and have to be replaced. He said work is being done to renovate the store’s interior, where he plans to continue offering take-out food items such as pizza and sandwiches. Opening up the interior to more natural light from outside is one of his goals, he said.
“It was tired and dated,” Pollard said of the building.
Pollard said the use of the property is nonconforming but is grandfathered, which allows its continued use as a convenience store and gas station. The building cannot be expanded, however, nor can he introduce any new uses such as sit-down food service.
He said he will not reopen the business as Parkadia. He and his wife plan to call it Steamboat Landing, similar to their Searsport business, and will sell Sunoco motor fuels.
Pollard said he is not concerned about the new traffic pattern at the head of the island, which moved a traffic signal east on Route 3 toward Bar Harbor, away from the business. He said it is easy for cars coming onto MDI to stop and, though it is less easy for vehicles headed off MDI, it is still possible.
He pointed out that, thanks to MDI’s busy summer tourist season, five million vehicles drive past the store every year. He would like to be open by May 1 and plans to be open at the latest by Memorial Day, he said.
“It will probably be the last [gas station and convenience store] that I do,” Pollard said. “We’re excited to be back down that way.”
An earlier version of this story requires correction. A parcel of land in Bar Harbor where the former Parkadia store is located is 1.18-acres in size and, for the town’s property tax purposes, has an assessed value of $312,700. The figures cited in the story, an "approximate half-acre" and an assessment of $6,400, are for an adjacent undeveloped property.