DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A Kansas City architectural company is moving forward with plans to convert an empty 85,000-square-foot factory into an esthetically attractive building to serve as a green energy model for the nation.
The Arnold Development Group wants to convert the former historic Moosehead Manufacturing Co. plant into 22 apartments, a small inn, a cafe and a restaurant that would share a terrace complete with a waterfall, and a green business incubator with a shared conference room and showroom. The plan also calls for a two-story parking structure for 48 vehicles.
“It would be a pioneering project for the entire country,” Jonathan Arnold of the group said Monday. “It is using tried and true green technologies, but putting them together in tandem so that they result in a potentially net zero building.” In other words, all the energy would be produced on site for the building using renewable resources, including solar and hydro power, he said. The plans also call for a geothermal heating system.
Arnold and his partners, Christian Arnold and Neil Sommers, have a one-year sale-purchase option on the property owned by the town in partnership with the Pine Crest Development Corp. The partners also have the ability to extend the option for another six months, if needed.
Selectmen were told Monday that two local contractors and a Midwest contractor submitted bids for the proposed project, one of which came within the $11 million estimated cost of the preliminary plan. Those plans are being reviewed. In addition, the final plan is being drafted, tenants are being secured and financing is being sought, Arnold said.
The town already has some funds for the factory’s redevelopment, including a $400,000 federal cleanup grant for the interior of the building and other financing is expected.
Town Manager Jack Clukey said Monday the town should know next month if the $1 million requested in the fiscal year 2011 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Senate Appropriations bill for the redevelopment of the mill is awarded by the Senate.
Those funds center on the historic value of the building, according to Arnold.
“The fact that it’s a historic building, we want to move beyond just doing the lowest cost development project and really shoot for something as progressive in terms of mixture of uses, the energy efficiency and the renewable energy,” he said.
Arnold said a lot depends on how successful Pine Crest Development Corp., the town and his group are in finding the right grants. The problem is the need to come up with rents that are affordable for a wide spectrum of people.
“We’re confident that we can piece it together,” Arnold said.