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Cape Elizabeth nursing home's new owner braces for winter, begins repairs

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Cape Elizabeth nursing home's new owner braces for winter, begins repairs

CAPE ELIZABETH — The new owners of the former Viking nursing home on Scott Dyer Road presented plans to stabilize and winterize the assisted living facility at a Planning Board workshop last week.

Lon Walters, owner of Woodlands Assisted Living, purchased the Viking at an auction on Sept. 23. He owns several nursing homes and Alzheimer care facilities in Hallowell, Waterville, Brewer and Rockland, and an independent retirement apartment complex.

His bid for the facility was accepted at $825,000, although the five-acre property has been assessed by Cape Elizabeth at $3.4 million. The facility, previously owned by Sunwest Management Co. of Oregon, has been empty since 2005.

The Oregon company did not follow through with the development plans approved by the Planning Board in 2007, and the property was foreclosed by the mortgage holder, Gardiner-based Savings Bank of Maine. In addition, Sunwest owed nearly $100,000 in unpaid taxes.

Town Planner Maureen O'Meara said she expects a completed site plan will go before the board at its Jan. 19 meeting.

"As of now, they will stabilize the portion of the building they plan on preserving, will work to get the building heated and clean some of the water damage," she said.

Walters said the damage from burst water pipes last winter caused several hundred thousand dollars worth of damage, which reduced the value of the facility.

"We just hooked up the heat, and are repairing damaged water lines now," he said. "It is a big project, but it's going well."

Walters said he will clean out the building, repair pipes and remove damaged carpets during the winter, but not make any major changes.

He said after final approval, he plans to demolish the oldest section of the facility, a single-story building built in 1979. That portion has 32 units, kitchens, laundry facilities and administrative offices. He will continue to work on a two-story section that was built in 1994. It includes 60 units, elevators, a dining room, lounge and community room.

"There is a lot of work involved, but we are on the move," he said. "I think we could be ready to open by November or maybe before."

The Planning Board meeting in January will determine if the application is complete. Then, in February, a public hearing will be held and there can be final approval.

"The town has been good to work with," Walters said. "I don't expect any problems moving forward."

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net