South Portland ready to sell tax-acquired properties

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Tax-acquired property could soon be back on city tax rolls after councilors Monday agreed to sell land to local residents and businesses.

In the first sale, Star Homes owner John Frustaci will buy a total of 10,000 square feet at the end of Colonial Avenue, which extends from Anthoine Street.

Frustaci will pay almost $43,000 for the land, which can be divided into two residential lots. He was the only one of 39 bidders invited to make an offer on the land, but City Manager Jim Gailey said he may not be able to develop it for several years because a sewer line must be extended 100 feet to reach the property.

Gailey said recent street repairs created a five-year moratorium on new excavation needed to extend the lines. Frustaci could have the main force line extended before the moratorium ends in 2017, but would pay higher fees for the work.

In the other deal, several parties, including owners of American Steel & Aluminum on Wallace Avenue, will be asked to bid on 54,000 square feet of city-owned land running behind Noyes Street near Thornton Heights.

The tax-acquired parcels sit behind the Super 8 Motel at 738 Main St., owned by East Coast Hospitality and operated by Mainely Property Management. Councilors in April rejected selling any of the land to the motel owners.

Instead, Noyes Street residents Elliott Randall and Margaret Michaud were invited to bid on the parcels along with the owners of American Steel & Aluminum, who would use the land for vehicle access to their facility.

Gailey said the city will keep 56,000 square feet of land abutting motel property as a buffer and open space. In April, he estimated a selling price range of 50 cents to $2 per square foot.

A third resident was ready to buy some of the land until a recent move. Gailey said the city will eventually approach the new homeowners to see if they want to buy some of the land.

In April, the Noyes Street residents asked councilors not to sell land to the motel owners, despite assurances from Tim Ly of Mainely Property Management his company was addressing perceived chronic problems created by motel residents.

Motel owners were interested in buying the land for an 18-unit expansion, an idea opposed in April by Councilor Jerry Jalbert and Mayor Tom Blake because of added population density in the neighborhood.

Final sale of the Noyes Street parcels will require a public hearing and council vote.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.