Apartment owner looking to rebuild the site of fatal fire in Houlton

Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 2:07 PM EDT
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HOULTON, Maine (WAGM) - The owner of the apartment complex on Mechanic Street in Houlton that burned to the ground this past March is looking to rebuild at the location. News Source 8′s Isaac Potter caught up with the owner and the plans going forward.

It was four months ago that a fatal Apartment House fire displaced several people from their homes. WLR Residential Properties is planning on rebuilding at the 5 Mechanic Street location.

Kerry Simpson, Property Manager of WLR Residential Properties in Houlton, says “When we had the tragedy at Mechanic Street, it just seemed like the right thing to do is just replace a building that had been taken from Houlton. And to put it back with something that would be complementary and even better than what we had lost as a community.”

Simpson says right now they are working on the site. They are also working on the back portion of the lot for an expanded parking area. Simpson says that there is still more work to be done.

Simpson mentions “So right now we are at the planning stage, where full scale plans are being drawn. We’ve had several different possibilities coming together. And soon once we culminate that process, then we will present that to the town and seek their approval.”

He says they have been working with the town in an application for a grant from the Rural Affordable Rental Housing Program to assist with the project. Simpson adds the town has been very supportive of their vision for the property.

He explains “This building will be and is being designed to take advantage of many of those current technologies that we possibly can. To provide the best possible living spaces that we can provide.”

Kelly Hayes, the Property Coordinator with WLR Residential Properties, says “We want to make something that was broken and destroyed and it was a sad day. We just want to make it beautiful, and see something that can grow into that. To help people there, to let them know it’s going to be a safe place, it’s going to be a beautiful place, and everything that was broken can be restored.”

Isaac Potter, News Source 8.

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