GARDINER — A Portland-based company has been identified by the City Council as the developer for the blighted T.W. Dick property at 1 Summer St.

Developers Collaborative, which has completed a number of projects around the state, impressed both city officials and representatives from MaineGeneral Medical Center who served on the task force reviewing proposals for the project.

Two companies responded to the city’s request, issued in October, for qualifications to take on the project. As outlined in that request, the project is development of a medical arts building at 1 Summer St. that would replace the smaller existing MaineGeneral facility on Dresden Avenue.

Mayor Thom Harnett, who served on the Summer Street task force, said Developers Collaborative was the only candidate to include a broader view of Gardiner than just this building project.

“(Anchor Health Properties) would have built a fine building,” Harnett said of the other applicant. “But the materials about Gardiner was lacking.”

Mike Lyne, chief operating officer of Developers Collaborative, said he and his partner had taken separate tracks in looking at the feasibility of doing a project in Gardiner. “We were happy to compete for the opportunity to work in the community here, and to work with Maine General as well.”

The challenge, he said, will be to clean up the property and fit a hospital building on the site.

“We have ideas for the Dresden Avenue property. One of our primary niches is affordable housing development, and there could be a housing piece for Dresden Avenue and 24 Summer St.,” he said, adding that it could be either affordable family housing or senior housing.

City Manager Scott Morelli said the approach taken with this process is different from how the city usually takes on projects.

“When we are looking for someone to pave streets, we put it out to bid. It’s different, but we knew that going in,” he said. In this case, there are a number of unknowns — securing grants to clean up the site, what the sale price of the property or properties might be, and whether any tax breaks would be sought.

City councilors authorized Morelli enter into a memorandum of understanding with Developers Collaborative and to set aside $27,500 from the sale of the property to be used for matching fund for grants for cleaning up the property.

The path to get to this point has been far from straight.

The T.W Dick property consists of four parcels that found their way into city hands via different routes. The property targeted for development for the building project is 1 Summer St. City Manager Scott Morelli said the city acquired it through foreclosure after a sewer lien had been placed on the property.

Shortly before the city was able to foreclose on the other three properties for unpaid taxes, they were tied up in a forced bankruptcy brought by one of creditors of the steel fabricating company.

The councilors also authorized Morelli on Wednesday to sign a settlement agreement with the creditors with claims on the other three properties.

The T.W. Dick property is the last underdeveloped area on the Cobbossee Corridor. The corridor stretches along the Cobbosee Stream from the New Mills dam to the Kennebec River. City planning efforts have identified residential, commercial and mixed-use development for the area.

Three of the four T.W. Dick parcels are brownfield sites. Gardiner secured federal funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to identify contaminants on the site, and the city has enrolled it in the state’s Voluntary Response Action Plan program, which allows property owners voluntarily to investigate and clean up properties to the satisfaction of the Department of Environmental Protection in exchange for protection from enforcement actions by the agency.

Having a developer and a project planned for the site allows Gardiner officials to pursue other money to clean up the site.

According to the project’s timeline, the medical arts building is scheduled to be completed by June 2017.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ


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