Three years after a California-based landlord agreed to pay off a $35,000 tax lien against his downtown Bangor building at 73 Central St., David “Sandy” Boyd again owes the city more than $12,000 in unpaid property taxes as well as $48,000 to a local contractor. Meanwhile, Jeshua Serdynski, a Bangor-based contractor and the building’s property manager, has been trying to complete renovations and open his own business in the long-empty building.
73 Central St., the six-story building adjacent to the University of Maine Museum of Art that abuts the Kenduskeag Stream canals, is one of the only large, vacant buildings in downtown Bangor that has not yet seen any kind of large-scale development.
“That building is kind of our white whale,” said Tanya Emery, Bangor’s economic and community development director, who has helped with many of those large development efforts downtown. “It’s the last piece of a giant puzzle that we’ve been trying to fill in for the past decade. I think it serves as a reminder that there’s no finish line in this kind of work. It’s a long-term process.”
Outside appearances can be deceiving, however. Despite an absentee landlord, ongoing tax troubles and structural problems with the building itself, for the past three years work has progressed inside 73 Central — albeit at a slow pace.
Serdynski has since 2017 been working nearly single-handedly to complete an array of improvements and renovations to the first floor of the building, toward an end goal of opening Ragnarok Coffee Society, a coffee shop and roastery. He eventually hopes to also renovate the upper floors of the building.
“I’ve got a lot invested in this building now,” said Serdynski, 32, a California native who has lived in the Bangor area since he graduated from high school. “I’m a bit of a perfectionist. And it has not been easy. But we are really, really close now, and I’m really proud of what we’ve done.”
Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.
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