June 22, 2018
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Red Maple Inn owners purchase Guilford property for $10,000

By Bill Pearson, Piscataquis Observer

GUILFORD, Maine — The selectmen have decided to depart from past practice by selling the Braeburn annex to the owners of the Red Maple Inn without first putting the tax-acquired property out to bid.

The board unanimously approved the $10,000 sale of the North Main Street property to Guilford businesswoman Martha Ward and her business partner, Paul Zimmerman. The two made an unsolicited offer to purchase the building with a property valuation set a $131,400, which includes a laundromat on the first floor and six apartment units on the second.

The selectmen concluded on Dec. 4 that because of the building’s poor condition and with winter approaching, the property needed to be sold before cold weather destroyed the remaining property value.

The annex has fallen into disrepair and doesn’t have an operational furnace system. The partners plan to install a new furnace, at an estimated a cost of $26,000, as soon as possible to prevent the pipes from freezing.

Zimmerman estimated it would take well more than $100,000 in renovations to bring the building up to standard. The partners believe their investment will pay off because of the lack of a downtown laundromat and rental space.

“Our plan is to get in there right away to make these renovations and save the building. If the town waits and the pipes burst, then the whole building would probably need to be torn down. It wouldn’t be good to anybody then,” Zimmerman said.

The selectmen agreed with his assessment and decided to sell the property without soliciting bids.

Another factor in their decision not to seek bids was the poor real estate market. The board used the recent sale of the Treworgy building, which was put out to bid and sold for $11,000, as an example. The building was in good condition with 84,000 square feet and recently had a new rubber roof installed before the sale.

“It’s been general practice to put all tax-acquired properties out to bid. I know there will be a lot of second-guessing around town, but I think $10,000 is a good offer and I’m not sure we’ll get any better offers if we did put it out to bid,” Selectman Kent Burdin said.

In other action, the selectmen reached an agreement with a Rhode Island man to repurchase his property at 12 Cottage St. The town had recently foreclosed on Thomas Manna’s property, but several recent phone calls resulted in a mutual agreement being struck by the parties.

Manna has agreed to pay $2,300 immediately for the 2010 and 2011 back taxes. He also has until Feb. 28 to pay the remaining $900 to reclaim his property.

The selectmen also approved a $30,000 tax abatement for Klam Industries of Bangor, which owns property at 10 Elm St. The board also was notified the Piscataquis County commissioners have scheduled a Jan. 15 tax abatement hearing between the town and William and Eileen Ebbeling. If the commissioners find in favor of the Ebbelings, it would result in an $84 adjustment in their tax bill.

The board was also informed of an ad placed in The Piscataquis Observer offering a $100 reward for information about the Dec. 2 theft of seven wreaths displayed on the downtown bridge. The wreaths were hung on Dec. 1 as part of the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Holidays event. The wreaths were discovered missing around 4 a.m. by a public works department employee who was sanding the roads.

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