2016-12-22 / Front Page

Hardypond eyes Temple Street home for renovation

Staff Writer

SACO — The development company planning to convert the former Notre Dame de Lourdes church into apartments is also considering converting a vacant historical property at 90 Temple St. into three apartments.

The house on 90 Temple St. was built in 1890 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. 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 of land. The home is valued at $51,900, and the land is valued at $49,700. The city took ownership of the house in January due to unpaid taxes, and put the property out to bid in the fall.

Hardypond Development, a company known for its historic preservation projects, was the only respondent to the request.

The home at 90 Temple St. has sat vacant since a 2012 fire. The fire department was able to save the building, but in doing so firefighters had to break windows and put holes in the roof.

The prior owner of the home never took steps to secure the building after the fire, according to city documents.

The home is an example of Queen Anne style architecture, and National Historic Register of Historic Places documents from 1977 describe the house as “elaborate without being pretentious.”

The city council voted Monday to allow Hardypond Associates to proceed forward with plans to repair the roof and make the building weather tight while the city administrator drafts a memorandum of understanding with the company.

In a letter to the city, Hardypond said it could not make a hard offer due to variables including the unknown structural integrity of the building. Staff at Hardypond say a structural analysis and other assessments need to be completed to make sure the renovation of the building is viable, and they also need to know the building can qualify for historic tax credits to be able to finance the project.

“It doesn’t work unless you use historic tax credits. All these things have to fall into place, and if we can’t get them to fall into place, we can’t proceed forward,” said Frank Carr, director of business development at Hardypond Development at Monday night’s meeting.

The company plans to invest up to about $15,000 in the building on weatherproofing the building and assessments. If the building meets the criteria for the company to move forward on the property, the company will pay the city for overdue taxes on the building.

If the company determines it can not move forward with the project, the city will sell the property and recoup the money it lost on taxes. Money from the sale beyond that will go to reimburse Hardypond for the costs it incurred during the analysis phase and money beyond that will be donated to a non-profit.

“I think their offer is very generous,” said Mayor Ron Michaud.

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

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