Madawaska town officials look for ways to make the best use of a recently donated downtown property

KM - The town of Madawaska received a belated Christmas gift, with the donation December 27th of a downtown property, by a property management agency based in New Canaan, Connecticut.

GP - Last fall, Mid-Town Realty announced they were gonna be closing their facilities in the Mid-Town Shopping Plaza. These are all the buildings, but not including Kmart. Kmart is owned by a different entity. They were having a hard time making ends meet, not profitable, with not enough anchor tenants inside those buildings, so they announced they were gonna close those properties.

KM - Not long after that, Mid-Town contacted town officials, expressing interest in making the donation, using it as an IRS-qualified charitable contribution. The property is assessed by the town for $1.1 million dollars in taxable value, is liened for one year in taxes, with the current tax year being current but also unpaid. This started a dialogue with town officials and the public on whether this was a good idea or not.

GP - In the end, after a lot of thought process, legal counsel, you know, the board felt that this made sense for Madawaska. It was an opportunity to really control the redevelopment of that area.

KM - Town officials were concerned the site would end up in the hands of someone not interested in redeveloping the site or be used for purposes not suited for downtown, thus the decision was made to accept the property. Plans include seeking requests for proposals, at some point, from prospective developers. Prior to the donation, Mid-Town Realty negotiated a short-term lease with Spectrum that runs until April 2019, with a parking lot use/plowing agreement paid for by Spectrum, as well as an agreement with Kmart taking responsibility for snow removal immediately adjacent to their store.

GP - Acquiring ownership of it for a while, and maybe, you know, we put together a process to initiate a redevelopment - maybe do an RFP process where we would offer up the property to investors who might be interested in redeveloping. You know, show us your plans, show us your concept, and we'll have a say in the matter as who can - who could potentially be the new developer for that area.

KM - The deal will allow the town better access to parking for the Farmers Market and the library. Picard says although the town doesn't want to be in the real estate business for a long time with the property, but for the time being, it makes sense for the town to acquire it - especially as a donation. Kathy McCarty, NewsSource 8