Old Jefferson Street School to sold, redeveloped

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Pending the final results of a title search, the old Jefferson Street School has been sold.

Requests for redevelopment of the old school were made this summer, after a previous plan fell through. The city council recently decided to accept a bid of $10,000 for the property from local developer Andy LeClair, and a purchase and sales agreement was signed.

According to City Manager Bill Mayo. LeClair’s plan is still being finalized, but it calls for office space in the basement of the old school, and apartments on the upper floors, What is unknown is just how many apartments there will be.

“It’s a good plan, a solid use of the property that will benefit the city,” said Mayo.

City councilors had previously approved an options agreement for redevelopment of the property in 2015, which up until the previous year housed the Southern Penobscot Regional Program. RSU 34, which had owned the property, deeded it over to the city; that winter, its pipes were drained and the building closed down.

A few months later, several parties had expressed interest in the property, and city councilors opted for a plan presented by a group of Old Town investors. That proposal called for the property to be converted to 16 high-end apartments, with none of those units to be converted to subsidized housing for at least 40 years. That plan would have ensured the old school stayed on the city’s tax rolls. PCBs on the property were cleaned up at the city’s expense.

But that plan failed to materialize, after Congress changed the tax credits allowed for historic properties. Late this spring the investors decided recently that they would be unable to go forward with their plan.

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