Two etchings of a building.
A sketch drawing show what buildings at a proposed Bar Harbor retirement community might look like. The 18+ acres where the project has been approved is for sale for $4.25 million. Credit: Courtesy of Town of Bar Harbor

A parcel of land in Bar Harbor is on the market for more than $4 million. The site has an approved construction plan for a retirement community.

The lot, nearly 19 acres, overlooks Frenchman Bay on the west side of where Route 3 skirts along the edge of Hulls Cove. In February, the local planning board approved a development application for a 42-unit Harbor Lights Retirement Community on the property. The list price for the land, which comes with the town’s approval for the development, is $4.25 million.

The housing market on Mount Desert Island has become one of the most expensive in all of Maine as demand for vacation properties, either in the form of weekly rentals or second homes for well-heeled seasonal residents, has caused prices to soar. The spike in MDI’s housing costs has put home ownership on the island out of reach for many working families and made workforce housing for the island’s robust tourism industry scarce.

An online listing for the property refers to MDI as a “very healthy real estate market” and says that additional land is available for expanding the site. The lot is being sold by the family of Christopher S. Maller, a local dentist, after having been subdivided off what was a 59-acre parcel that his family owns. Maller also owns a small oceanfront quarter-acre parcel directly across Route 3 from the approved development site.

The site is on the main road in Bar Harbor from the mainland and is easily accessible by the seasonal Island Explorer bus system, according to the listing.

The weekly Mount Desert Islander reported in March that Maller plans to retain ownership of an existing farmhouse on Hamor Lane and that the retirement community would be constructed further back on the lot, away from the road. Pedestrian walking paths would be built onsite to connect the community to existing sidewalks on Route 3, the newspaper reported. A project engineer hired by Maller told town officials the development would take 3 years to complete, according to the Islander.

The property, which has been in Maller’s family since 1939, used to be home to a dairy farm and an inn, according to a MaineBiz article.

Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....