Brunswick inn considered for senior housing project
BRUNSWICK — After sitting on the market for more than a year, the Captain Daniel Stone Inn is being considered for use as senior housing.
Although nothing is definite, John Hodge, Brunswick Housing Authority executive director, Tuesday said BHA is exploring the possibility of such a project.
"For reasons beyond my understanding, it seems as though this property has had great difficulty in operating as a hotel/inn during the last several years," Hodge wrote in a memo. "The BHA has been working with a group who have organized themselves as the Midcoast Senior Community Housing Association and they have contracted with us to develop them senior housing."
Hodge said BHA is filing a letter of intent with the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to inform the state that Community Development Block Grant funds up to $500,000 are being sought for the proposal.
The Town Council unanimously authorized BHA's letter Monday night.
"We are in the very preliminary steps of looking at the project," Hodge said. "If we were to put in money, a block grant is one potential source of funding. ... We're looking at development in terms of financial feasibility: cost of acquisition, cost of development, how many people you can fit (and other considerations)."
The inn at 10 Water St. was deeded to a subsidiary of Saco-Biddeford Savings, after John and Kim Verreault of Tourism Properties LLC relinquished ownership in November 2011.
Mark Gagnon, executive vice president of the bank subsidiary, said the inn has been in full operation ever since, but the bank is hoping to sell the property for $2.5 million.
"We're not in the business of owning property. We're looking to sell it," Gagnon said.
As envisioned by BHA and the group Midcoast Senior Community Housing Association, seniors would "live independently ... in a community-based model in which they support one another."
Hodge estimated the Captain Daniel Stone Inn will support 20-25 housing units.
The proximity to services on Maine Street would be critical for seniors on fixed incomes, he said, and the amenities at the inn, such as a weight room, hot tub and sauna, would be attractive to those who could pay market rate, making the project economically feasible for the developers.
Hodge said the group is scrutinizing the cost of the project – likely $2 million to $4 million – and financing options, including the state housing grant.
Plans are "very preliminary," he said, and the BHA will likely take the rest of 2013 to determine if the project is even feasible. If costs are not prohibitive, the project would still require rezoning by the town.
"We're not certain we want to buy the property, but we definitely feel it's worth looking into," he said. "It's a great location and, given where we are, it makes sense."