CARIBOU, Maine — City officials gathered at Glenn Street recently to celebrate the groundbreaking for a condominium project expected to add about $1.3 million to Caribou’s tax base.
Four duplex-style buildings with two condos in each are slated for construction over the next two years, based on demand. The condos, to be built by Caribou-based Haney Building Specialties, will have a combined assessed value of roughly $1.3 million, according to City Manager Austin Bleess.
The condos will be located on a parcel of land that the city sold to the developer for $1, next to the RSU 39 bus garage on Glenn Street (near Teague Park Elementary School). Bleess says the new construction project exemplifies what officials are trying to do in Caribou by making it easier for businesses to invest.
“We had the city-owned property that was sold to the developer, and he’s going to build houses — it’s good for his business and it’s good for the City of Caribou,” Bleess said. The land had been city owned for years, meaning that Caribou couldn’t collect any taxes on it. Though the sale was for only $1, the development agreement stipulates that at least three town homes will be built, bringing in new tax revenue for the city, Bleess said.
The two-bedroom, one-bathroom homes with a full garage are anticipated to sell between $170,000 and $179,000. Tentatively, construction is anticipated to begin on the other three buildings next spring, next fall, and in spring of 2015 — but Troy Haney owner of Haney Building Specialties said that process can be sped up or slowed down based on demand.
Haney said the duplex currently under construction will involve hiring subcontractors from six to eight trusted companies to work through the winter.
“We feel that’s going to have a good economic impact there as well, especially during the slow time of the year for construction,” Haney said.
He added that the high energy efficiency of the condos will help defer maintenance costs and assist those facing a fixed income, while providing a home where all exterior maintenance is taken care of — be it shoveling, cutting the grass or cleaning gutters.
Monthly fees also go into a rebuild fund, meaning that all the buildings get new windows, siding, roofing, entry doors and pavement every 25 years.
“That’s important, because then the value of the property never goes down, and it always looks fresh and high quality,” Haney said.
The idea for their construction was born from an economic development tool implemented by city officials this summer called Thursdays on Sweden.
Sweden Street was shut down every other Thursday evening, providing a space for vendors, musicians and community members to convene in a fun and friendly fashion. Haney was among those gathered for the festivities when he found himself in a conversation about a variety of things with Bleess and Assistant City Manager Tony Mazzucco.
At one point Haney recalls asking “them if there was any development in town coming from anybody, and they told me there wasn’t but there was property available if anyone was interested.”
From there, Haney looked into the available land and found a match with the Glenn Street property.
“We went back to the city to talk with them and they were willing to sell the land, so off we went,” Haney said.
Roughly two months from that initial conversation, ground was broken.
Within a day of announcing the construction of the condos, Haney had already received inquiries from interested buyers.
Additional information about the future homes can be found by visiting www.haneysbuilding.com or calling 492-1323.