DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Dover-Foxcroft selectmen gave their support Monday to a Missouri development group’s proposal to redevelop the former Moosehead Manufacturing plant into retail space, office space, light manufacturing and-or housing.
Selectmen on Monday voted to give the Arnold Development Group of Kansas City a one-year option on the property.
“It’s exciting,” Dover-Foxcroft Town Manager Jack Clukey said Tuesday of the proposal. He said the local Moosehead Redevelopment Committee came up with the idea that the downtown property should be for mixed use, which would include retail, office space and housing. “And that’s exactly what Arnold Development Group is proposing to do.”
As part of the deal, the Missouri group will have one year to exercise the option to purchase the property for $1 and begin its redevelopment. The agreement calls for a minimum of $4.8 million to go into the site over a four-year construction period with benchmarks to be made every 12 to 18 months, according to Clukey.
The town took ownership of the approximately 85,000-square-foot plant located on the Piscataquis River when it became tax-acquired in March 2009. Later, the town deeded the property over to the nonprofit Pine Crest Development Co., a town partner, in an effort to secure more grants.
Clukey said there were several inquiries about the building that began after the furniture manufacturing plant closed in 2007. “This proposal was one that the board felt was in the best interest of the town and is going to lead to a completed redevelopment project,” he said.
Jonathan Arnold, president of the Arnold Development Group and its parent company, Arnold Imaging LLC, said in a telephone call Tuesday that he was “optimistic and absolutely honored to take part in renovating the structure.”
“We realize how key of a role it plays in keeping Dover-Foxcroft a great village,” Arnold said of the building. “We feel there’s a sense of place that hasn’t been destroyed by roads that are too wide and too many cars; that is just rare to find. We’re looking forward to not only doing a great project but listening to the community and hearing what some of their thoughts are.”
While most of his development has been in Missouri, Arnold said the Moosehead plant came to his attention when he was visiting a friend who is a seasonal resident in Dover-Foxcroft. He felt that based on his previous warehouse projects in Missouri, the Dover-Foxcroft plant was “right up my alley.”
Arnold said his plan is to generate architectural drawings, work to secure more marketing collateral and come to a clear understanding of the true costs. At the same time, he said, his company would apply for various state and federal grants to help close the gap.
“We’re hopeful that between that and finding businesses that are interested in leasing office space in the building, that the project will be able to go ahead,” Arnold said.