August 14, 2018
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Nonprofit slashes $2M off asking price for Bar Harbor mansion

Bill Trotter | BDN
Bill Trotter | BDN
The Maine Sea Coast Mission headquarters, housed in a mansion historically known as La Rochelle, on West Street in downtown Bar Harbor has been for sale for more than a year. The mission plans to move to a new location in Northeast Harbor and to use funds from the sale of the luxury residential property to help fund its operating programs.
By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

A Maine faith group is cutting the asking price of the Bar Harbor mansion that houses its headquarters after trying to sell the prominent downtown property for nearly one year.

Maine Seacoast Mission, a 113-year-old organization that provides social services to people in eastern coastal Maine, has decided to subdivide the waterfront property and to lower the asking price by nearly $2 million.

The mansion was not listed for sale until September, when seasonal interest in buying homes typically begins to wane, said Scott Planting, the organization’s president.

“We were late to the [residential property] selling season last year,” he said. “Since the price came down, the [number of] showings have gone up a lot.

The 13,000-square-foot Greek Revival mansion, historically known as La Rochelle, was listed for $6.3 million, but the new asking price is $4.5 million. The formerly 2.9-acre property has also been partitioned into two — one at 2.5 acres and another undeveloped parcel just under half an acre that is directly to the east. Whoever buys the mansion will have a right of first refusal on the adjacent lot, which also directly abuts the shore, Planting said.

Originally built in 1902, La Rochelle was donated 70 years later to the Mission by Tristram C. Colket Jr., one of several heirs to the Campbell’s Soup fortune, and his wife Ruth Colket. The Mission has called its headquarters The Colket Center ever since.

Bill Trotter | BDN
Bill Trotter | BDN
A sign marks the lot in the local village of Northeast Harbor where work on the new headquarters for the Maine Seacoast Mission is expected to get underway this fall. The lot is owned by the nonprofit group Mount Desert 365, which has a goal of reinvigorating the year-round community in Mount Desert, which has grown increasingly seasonal in recent decades as many of the local homes have been bought by people from out of state who use them only in the summer.

There are several multimillion-dollar properties on Mount Desert Island that have been on the market for a year or more, including the most expensive house currently being offered for sale in Maine. Just earlier this year, however, one of the most expensive residential properties ever for sale in Maine — a 14.5-acre oceanfront property in Seal Harbor formerly owned by billionaire David Rockefeller Sr. — sold for $19 million after being on the market for only a few months.

The ongoing effort to find a buyer is not expected to affect the organization’s other big projects, Planting said.

The rehabilitation of the Sunbeam, the boat it uses to offer ministerial and telemedicine services to residents of Maine’s offshore islands, will be funded by an independent capital campaign that has raised $1.3 million of the group’s $1.5 million goal, Planting said. The organization hopes to begin work on the boat next spring and have it back in the water by the end of 2019, Planting said.

The organization also plans to move its headquarters to a not-yet-constructed building in Northeast Harbor and will move when the new space it ready, likely sometime next year.

Bill Trotter | BDN
Bill Trotter | BDN
The 75-foot vessel Sunbeam, which is owned and operated by Maine Seacoast Mission to offer services to residents of Maine's outer islands, floats as it is tied up at a marina slip in the local village of Northeast Harbor on July 23, 2018. The Mission has raised $1.3 million of the $1.5 million it plans to spend on overhauling the vessel.

The Mission will rent space for its new headquarters in a building planned for an in-town lot in Northeast Harbor, part of the neighboring town of Mount Desert, he said. Construction on that project, which is being led by the nonprofit community organization Mount Desert 365, is expected to begin sometime this fall.

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