October 23, 2019
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The park service is looking for someone to rehabilitate this historic Calais home

Bill Trotter | BDN
Bill Trotter | BDN
The McGlashan-Nickerson House in Calais in August 2019.

The National Park Service is looking for someone to rent and rehabilitate a historic house it owns next to the Saint Croix International Historic Site in Calais.

The park service had considered demolishing the McGlashan-Nickerson House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but reconsidered after historic preservationists objected.

After saying this summer that it would consider trying to lease out the 5,400-square-foot house, the park service on Thursday said it is formally seeking proposals from people interested in rehabilitating the dilapidated structure and leasing it for up to 60 years.

The park service used the house as an administrative building for the St. Croix Island International Historic Site for a decade until it opened a smaller, more modern visitor’s center in 2014. Since then, it has had no use for the building.

The park service has said it has spent $100,000 on the building’s upkeep and has predicted it would cost more than $1 million to adequately preserve and rehab the structure. An official with the group Maine Preservation, which last year listed the property as one of the most endangered historic properties in the state, has come up with a different estimate, however, saying the needed repairs would cost around $250,000, not including a fresh coat of exterior paint.

A business such as an inn or a bed and breakfast that might lease the house would be entitled to long-term tax credits that would help make such a use financially viable, Greg Paxton, the group’s executive director, has said.

The park service site that abuts the residential property preserves St. Croix Island, which lies in the St. Croix River between Maine and the Canadian province of New Brunswick and was where French immigrants tried but failed to establish a colony in 1604-1605. Direct access to the island is not allowed, but the park service has an interpretive center and trail next to Route 1 that leads to an overlook where the island can be viewed from the river’s shore.

Park service officials will open the McGlashan-Nickerson house for inspection by potential lessees from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13. Formal written proposals for leasing the property must be submitted to the regional National Park Service office in Philadelphia by Tuesday, Dec. 10.

More information about the proposal timeline and process can be found online at nps.gov/sacr/.

 



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