Falmouth agrees to sell Pleasant Hill Fire Station

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FALMOUTH — The Pleasant Hill Fire Station at 44 Allen Ave. Extension may soon become a home or small business if the town and buyer sign on the dotted line.

The Town Council voted unanimously Monday night to accept the proposal of David Hembre Architects to purchase the old fire station for $127,000.

The building was listed for $190,000 with commercial real estate company CBRE/The Boulos Co., but the town had estimated it would sell for $150,000. It was officially appraised at $343,300 for the building and property, but a recent unofficial reappraisal put the value at around $200,000.

The money from the sale will be put in a fund for a new town center, if that project is approved by voters in June. If the referendum fails, the fire station revenue will be added to the town’s general fund.

The fire station started its life in the mid-1800s as a Union Hall. The Fire Department took it over in the early 1900s and used it until it was closed in 2009.

Hembre, who designed his own home at 311 Foreside Road and is currently constructing another building on Foreside Road, said he is excited about the opportunity to renovate the old building.

“We don’t have exact plans or ideas yet,” Hembre said Tuesday when he heard about the council decision. “But most likely, we’re looking at making it a residence, or possibly a residence with an office or workshop.”

Hembre, who is married to Jill McGowen, attended graduate school at Harvard University and moved to Maine after designing a building at Colby College in Waterville. He said recently he has shifted his focus from strictly designing buildings, to the entire development process.

“I’m really interested in the quality of a community and the built environment,” he said.

Hembre said he would like to see the old fire station turned into a community market and bakery, which would require a zoning change. He said if he moved forward with that plan, he would canvass neighbors, asking for their support. He said he does not anticipate beginning construction until next spring.

The station, which housed Engine 3, was temporarily closed in May 2009 on the recommendation of the town manager and fire chief. They said the closing would save $50,000. Despite protests from neighborhood residents, the town moved forward with the station’s permanent closure a little more than a year ago.

“It holds a lot of potential,” Hembre said. “I just really liked the building and I knew we could do something great with it.”

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @emilyparkhurst.

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A January photograph of the Pleasant Hill Fire Station on Allen Avenue Extension in Falmouth.