AUGUSTA — City councilors agreed to sell a vacant Northern Avenue apartment building, acquired by the city last year after the previous owner failed to pay property taxes on it, for $4,000.

The city tried multiple ways of getting rid of the 110 Northern Ave. property but found no takers until Roger Mackbach, a neighbor to the property, made a $4,000 offer for it.

The city had a structurally deficient barn on the property torn down after it foreclosed on the property. The small barn that was attached to the home, which at the time was a two-unit apartment building housing five residents, was damaged by fire in 2014, and the tenants were ordered out of the apartment building out of concern the barn could have collapsed. The city paid $8,900 to have the barn demolished, according to minutes of the city’s Real Estate Owned Committee, which decides what to do with properties acquired by the city, usually for nonpayment of taxes.

Mayor David Rollins suggested the city should hold out to try and get at least as much for the home as it spent to have the barn demolished.

However, At-Large Councilor Jeffrey Bilodeau noted the city had tried multiple times, and different ways, to sell the property, without any luck.

“We put it out to auction. We tried to sell it. We tried lots of things,” Bilodeau said. “We’ve had this property a year now, and no one is biting on this one. I’d say dump it before we have to tear it down and it costs us $30,000.”


Ward 3 Councilor Patrick Paradis said the home is in relatively good condition now but, if left vacant, could be broken into, vandalized, or even set on fire.

He said a fund the city established a few years ago to pay for the cost of demolishing unsafe buildings in the city was used to pay for the demolition costs of removing the barn.

The $4,000 in proceeds from the sale of the home to Mackbach will go, as specified in the council order approving the sale Thursday, into that reserve fund for the demolition of unsafe structures in the city.

Councilors voted unanimously Thursday to sell it to Mackbach if he meets conditions attached to the sale.

The city has owned the property since February 2015, when it took it for nonpayment of taxes.

The city tried to give the property to the Augusta Housing Authority, which declined it. The city also tried selling it at a public auction but received no bids. And the city held a sealed bid process that also drew no bidders.


Mackbach, a senior at the University of Maine at Augusta and founder of Help for Others, an organization that helps people overcome adversity, said he plans to convert it from an apartment building into a single-family home for himself, his teenage son, a 3-month-old baby, his fiancee and her three children.

“I plan on turning it into a big one-family home,” he said before Thursday’s council meeting. “I’ve been looking for a place to own for about six years.”

He is renting an apartment nearby.

The 0.46-acre property is assessed by the city, for tax purposes, at $62,900.

Completion of the sale is contingent on conditions including building renovations beginning within six months of purchase, issuance of a certificate of occupancy within 18 months, development of no additional parking on the property, and the buyer showing proof of financial ability to complete the project. If any of those conditions aren’t met, the property would revert to the city’s ownership.

Mackbach said his goal is to move into the building well before the city’s 18-month timeline lapses.


“I plan on moving in, with a certificate of occupancy, in a couple of months,” he said.

He said the inside of the house “isn’t that bad.” He said it will need three exterior walls redone, where the barn was torn off, and he plans to do that renovation up to city codes and follow the recommendations of Rob Overton, a city code enforcement officer.

Mackbach said he is not working but has expertise in renovating a home and has family members and people for whom he has done computer work who he anticipates will help with the project.

Councilors also voted, separately, to authorize City Manager William Bridgeo to list two other tax-acquired properties, 5 Mayflower Road and 6 Amanda Lane, for sale with a local real estate agent, after determining the fair market value of both properties. The proceeds from those sales, if the properties sell, would also go into the reserve fund for the demolition of unsafe buildings in the city.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.