2016-09-13 / Front Page

To demolish or sell?

Saco considering putting historic house slated for demolition on the market
By LIZ GOTTHELF
Staff Writer


The City of Saco is considering selling this property at 90 Temple St. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 
LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune The City of Saco is considering selling this property at 90 Temple St. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune SACO — A building with historic significance that the city once considered demolishing could soon be up for sale.

In January, the City of Saco took over ownership of a residential property at 90 Temple St. due to nonpayment of taxes. The home has been uninhabited since a fire occurred in the attic in 2012.

Built in 1890 in the Queen Anne style of architecture, the house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its original owner, Alton Seavey, was a businessman who sold musical instruments and was a lover of the arts, according to documents provided by the city

The City Council discussed the matter briefly at a workshop Monday night, and although there was no vote taken, the general consensus was to try and sell the property.

The three-story home has a total of 3,900 square feet of space, and the second floor of the garage had been converted into an apartment. The house and garage sit on a quarter of an acre. The home is valued at $51,900, and the land is valued at $49,700.

The Fire Department was able to save the building in 2012, but in doing so, it had to break windows and put holes in the roof. The owner of the home never took steps to secure the building after the fire, according to city documents.

Snow and rain have entered the building, and mold is evident. There is also some fire damage inside the building and evidence of animals.

In September 2013, the city filed a dangerous building action at York County Superior Court, and the owner and the bank failed to show up to court hearings, according to city documents. The city put a lien on the house in 2014.

In March 2015, the city received an order from Biddeford District Court allowing it to move forward with demolishing the house, and in June 2015, the City Council considered doing so.

At that time, Saco resident Beth Johnston asked the council not to demolish the building due to its historic significance. The council tabled the decision and requested that more research be conducted on the building .

The city acquired the property due to unpaid taxes last January. The cost to gut the building and remove all personal property and demolition waste is estimated at about $96,000; reframing the roof to make the building weather-tight would cost up to $50,000.

Earlier this month, the Planning Board recommended that the city sell the property through a bid process.

The City Council will vote on Sept. 19 whether to sell the property. If the city decides to sell, it could choose to ask for a minimum price or require that it be restored.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or egotthelf@journaltribune.com.

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