A downtown Bangor building will be boarded up and likely foreclosed upon after sitting condemned for almost a year.
The corner building at 72 State St. has been vacant since 2013. Last May, it was placarded and declared unfit for human habitation, “for lack of power, heat, water, not being secure [and] broken windows,” Community and Economic Development Director Tanya Emery said. Squatters were also found living inside the building.
Key Bank recently notified the city that it intends to foreclose on the property, City Council Chairman Ben Sprague said. Councilors and staff will discuss at the Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday whether to deed the property back to building owner James Butler if the bank pays off his mature outstanding real estate and sewer liens, which would allow initiation of the foreclosure process, according to city documents.
Butler did not immediately respond to a call for comment Tuesday.
“We still try to do whatever we can to facilitate existing owners to retain ownership,” Sprague said, adding that sometimes owners simply do not cooperate with city requests. In order for a property to be foreclosed upon, a building owner has to repeatedly refuse to pay taxes and maintain the overall quality of the building, he said.
“My hope is this property will be fixed up or demolished, and the site can be put to good use. It is a (long-blighted) cornerstone of downtown Bangor,” Sprague posted Tuesday on social media.
The well-known architect Eaton Tarbell Sr built the property in 1952. Butler, a Hampden resident, purchased it in 2006, according to city assessing records. Butler told the Bangor Daily News last May that he planned to repair the building’s interior, including heat, water, electricity and broken windows.
The building and the 0.4-acre parcel of land, which is shared by the Thai 2 Go restaurant, are valued at $271,900.
Before Butler purchased it, the property was owned by Shaun Dowd, who ran his dentist practice on the first floor for 40 years before he retired in 2008. An insurance company, a dental lab, and a barber shop have all been located in the building at one point.
The city’s code enforcement division, as of April 17, had identified 137 properties that are considered unfit for human habitation. “Some have been sold and are in the process of pulling permits to correct the deficiencies that led them to be placarded,” Emery said.
The city has yet to make a determination about the future of 72 State St., but does not intend to seek ownership, she said, adding that several people have expressed interest in either renting or buying the building.
In the meantime, as soon as possible, public works crews will secure the windows to keep glass from falling and the doors to prohibit entrance, but “it’s not far enough gone for us to issue a [demolition] order,” Emery said.
Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest Maine news.
Correction: An earlier version incorrectly stated that the building at 72 State St. is condemned. It is declared unfit for human habitation.