BELFAST, Maine — The home of a beloved Belfast brewery that abruptly shuttered earlier this year is going up on the auction block next month.
The Marshall Wharf Brewing Co., located on the Belfast waterfront, helped launch the Maine craft beer craze after it opened in 2007. Owners David and Sarah Carlson announced in February that they were putting the brewery building and Three Tides, the cocktail bar and eatery located next door, for sale. But the businesses closed just two months later, and although David Carlson told the BDN in June that he wanted to reopen the brewery store and tasting room as soon as possible, that did not happen.
Now, Portland-based Tranzon Auction Properties has scheduled 36 Marshall Wharf for a foreclosure auction Dec. 3. There will be previews from 2 to 3 p.m. Nov. 21 and 26, according to Ruth Lind, a Tranzon sales associate who said the location has a lot to offer.
“It’s right on the waterfront, and Belfast is a very thriving community these days,” she said. “Having a waterfront location is amazing. And the building also has quite a bit of historical significance for the town.”
But the former city granary, a roughly 6,000-square-foot wooden structure that was constructed in 1900, also has some issues. The low-lying building is prone to flooding, with David Carlson telling the BDN in June that two major flooding events this year helped lead to cascading financial disaster for his business.
While the Carlsons own the brewery building, they rented the building that housed Three Tides. A message sent to David Carlson on Wednesday about the auction was not immediately returned.
“Unfortunately, it was the victim of a severe water breach,” Lind said of the Marshall Wharf property. “There was damage that the new owner will have to address.”
The city of Belfast has a contract-rezoning ordinance that could allow a new property owner to help address concerns about flooding, or be more flexible in how they can redevelop the property, according to Wayne Marshall, the director of the code and planning department. The Marshall Wharf property has an assessed value of $277,500.
To place a bid in the live auction, participants will need to make a $25,000 deposit. Lind said she is not able to disclose the minimum bid but that the property will be sold in an as-is condition, with no contingencies.
“If someone bids on it at the auction, they are accepting it the way it is,” she said. “They can’t renegotiate the sale price after the auction.”
A local businessman said Wednesday that he and his wife are eager to purchase the building the way it is, and are striving to do so even before the auction if the bank that holds the mortgage will agree.
Dann Waldron and Kathleen Dunckel, who co-own Whitecap Builders, said that if their offer is accepted, they would move the Marshall Wharf building in order to renovate it, then move it back so they can reopen the brewery business. They would also reopen Three Tides, and find a way to utilize the two floors above the Marshall Wharf brewery that have long been disused.
Waldron, who used to work at Three Tides, said he and Dunckel believe reopening the brewery and pub as connected businesses makes good financial sense.
“Business-wise for me, they’re a joint combo,” he said, adding that it makes sense in other ways, too. “Honestly, to me it’s one of those fibers in our community thread. It’s like that old English pub that’s been around for 400 years. That’s what it felt like. It was that watering hole that everyone was just kind of drawn to, with great beer. Really great beer.”
But he suspects he will need more investors before the bank will sign off on his plan.
“I just have to get the Marshall Wharf building from the bank,” Waldron said. “It breaks my heart that it’s going to auction.”