After two decades as the Maine Judicial Center, the former home of Sylvia Viles Lund is reverting to the heirs of philanthropist Elsie Viles.

The former Lund property at 65 Stone St., which includes 9 acres, a contemporary house and a large granite conference table featuring the Maine state seal and the names of the 16 counties, is next to the historic home where Viles died and where the Elsie & William Viles Foundation is now based.

Viles, known for her donations to local causes, had donated the home of Lund, her stepdaughter, to the courts in a deed dated Sept. 14, 1994.

The gift was offered “as long as said premises are used by the State of Maine, Judicial Department, exclusively for office, administrative, and conference purposes, it being Elsie P. Viles’ wish that said premises be used to house the chambers of the Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Court. …”

It carried a reverter clause saying that if it was not used for those purposes, “said premises shall revert to the said Elsie P. Viles and her heirs and assigns” — in this case, the foundation.

That should happen sometime in the next few months, but not until the Judicial Branch Department finishes using the facility for storage.

“We are returning the building and real estate, but I do not know whether it is (to) the estate or the foundation,” Mary Ann Lynch, government and media counsel for the Maine Judicial Branch, said earlier this week.

The property was last valued at $450,000, according to city records.

Lynch said the table is part of the deal.

“The table is virtually an immovable object, given the weight and the length, and will remain with the building,” Lynch said.

In March 2015, almost all the functions of the Maine Judicial Center, which housed the court’s administrative offices, were moved to the new Capital Judicial Center, which was built next to the Kennebec County Courthouse.

The new four-story courthouse with views of the Kennebec River brought together about 75 staff people and seven judges who previously had offices at several locations in Augusta, and that left the Maine Judicial Center almost vacant.

Attorney Daniel Wathen, who was chief justice and who received Viles’ phone call offering the property in 1994, is now president of the board of the Elsie & William Viles Foundation, which will get the property from the judicial branch under the reverter clause.

“We’re happy with that arrangement,” he said on Thursday from his office at Pierce Atwood.

He said the property’s future has yet to be decided.

“At this stage, we’re considering options,” he said. Among those options could be making it part of the adjacent property, making it available to a charitable organization for offices, and a number of other possibilities.

He said Patsy West, the foundation’s executive director, “is currently exploring people’s interests and what they might think of doing with it.”

“The board is just beginning the process of considering those options,” he said, adding that the board probably will arrive at some conclusion at its summer meeting.

Elsie Viles’ former home, which has undergone extensive outdoor renovation already, is being used as a meeting facility for local nonprofit organizations.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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