UNE, National Guard close land-for-Portland-armory deal

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PORTLAND — A land swap between the University of New England and the Maine Army National Guard has been completed.

The deal giving the university the 65,000-square-foot armory at 772 Stevens Ave. in North Deering in exchange for 29 acres of land in Saco was closed last week, spokeswoman Crystal Canney said in a Monday press release.

“It’s a win-win,” UNE President Danielle Ripich said in the announcement. “UNE will be able to expand its presence at the Portland campus and add much needed space for programmatic growth. The Guard will get the space it needs to do its work.”

The land in Saco will allow the National Guard to build a new “Readiness Center.”

“The additional acreage in Saco allows for potential expansion and greater on-site training for our soldiers,” Brigadier Gen. Gerard F. Bolduc said. “The location will provide safer access for our vehicles and equipment.”

Bolduc is acting Maine National Guard Adjutant General.

The Stevens Avenue armory was built in 1900 and sits on 8.6 acres. The parcel is valued at about $3.1 million, according to city tax records.

Canney said the future of the building has not been determined, but last September, National Guard facilities director Dwaine Drummond said the building “is really, for our purposes, not fiscally feasible to spend money on.”

The swapped acreage in Saco is along U.S. Route 1, near the Scarborough town line. It is expected to be several months before the National Guard has moved out and UNE has moved in to the armory, Canney said.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Sidebar Elements

A swap between the University of New England and Maine Army National Guard turns over the armory at 772 Stevens Ave. in Portland for 29 acres of UNE land near U.S. Route 1 in Saco.

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.