A large office complex on the midcoast that once bustled with call center employees will be sold in an online auction next month with bids starting at $1.8 million.
The buildings at 21 Schoodic Drive were once occupied by credit card lender MBNA but now are home to Bank of America, service company OnProcess Technology and several other companies.
A $25,000 deposit is required to bid on the almost 320,000-square-foot property with five leasable and two utility buildings.
“The property has been listed for lease for 1 ½ years now,” said Tony McDonald, one of the partners at the Boulos Co. in Portland, which has been trying to lease the space for $10 per square foot.
“It’s a very large space for a rural market,” he said of the difficulty in leasing it. The buildings are owned by real estate investment company Stag Capital of Boston.
The buildings are about 39 percent occupied.
The city of Belfast and Stag settled their disagreement over the valuation of the buildings in November. The large vacancy rate caused the tax valuation to plummet from $41 million to $16.7 million in four years. The city will refund $384,000 to Stag, its largest taxpayer.
The buildings have a storied history. MBNA, once the largest employer on the midcoast, had offices and a call center at the location in the late 1990s into the early 2000s.
In 2006, Bank of America bought MBNA and moved into the complex. However, Bank of America’s workforce was only about 40 percent of MBNA’s, and the bank occupied only a small part of the entire complex.
In February of this year, Bank of America cut about 30 people from the Belfast operation, citing a changing marketplace and the need to adjust its workforce accordingly.
“We have made the decision to consolidate some of the work performed in Belfast to other sites,” Jumana Bauwens, a bank spokesperson, said at the time.
Bank of America has 1,100 employees in Maine, with about 800 in Waldo County. That makes it one of the three largest private employers in the county, along with Athena Health and Waldo County General Hospital, according to the Maine Department of Labor.
McDonald said companies leasing space in the buildings will stay in place with the pending sale.