A Chicago company with a mission to “design and construct enriching, sustainable homes worldwide” will not have an opportunity to build on Wiscasset’s Mason Station properties.
Meeting Tuesday, Feb. 21, the Wiscasset Board of Selectmen agreed there would be no point in meeting with BluePaint Development LLC to discuss its proposal to build up to 60 rental homes on the town-owned Mason Station lots.
The proposal may not be “the best fit” for the property, especially with “the exciting things that are happening there in terms of economic development,” Town Manager Marian Anderson said.
Peregrine Turbine Technologies, a Wiscasset company developing high-efficiency turbine engines, is now headquartered on property formerly owned by Mason Station LLC. With its pending purchase of a former maintenance building, Peregrine Turbine Technologies is preparing to build prototype engines at the site.
The proposal from BluePaint Development is similar to Mason Station LLC’s failed Point East Maritime Village development, Chair Judy Colby said, which resulted in a prolonged court battle for back taxes.
“I don’t want a do-over of that,” Colby said. “I don’t want to put the town at risk.”
BluePaint Development is devoted to building modern, energy-efficient homes that are an “attainable luxury for single-family renters,” according to its website. The company has approached Wiscasset in the past about the properties, Anderson said.
In early January, Todd Erickson, vice president of BluePaint Development Northeast, sent selectmen and town officials a memo detailing the proposal. BluePaint would invest up to $2.6 million to construct 13 rental homes on lots already pre-approved and permitted for housing units, according to the memo.
After the sixth home is built, Wiscasset would agree to apply for funding to complete a sewer expansion previously discussed as part the Point East Maritime Village development. Completion of the 13th housing unit would trigger the town’s sewer expansion, Erickson wrote.
In the second phase of the development, 47 additional housing units would be built on the remaining pre-approved and permitted lots, which would require a $10 million to $11 million investment from BluePaint Development, Erickson wrote.
The town and the company would work collaboratively to develop a plan for the remaining areas on the property, not including the lots purchased by Peregrine, or the Mason Station plant, which is still owned by Mason Station LLC.
Phase three would consist of the re-approval and construction of homes on the remaining lots, which would require a projected investment of about $35 million, according to the memo. BluePaint Development is prepared to make a $45 million to $48 million investment in the development, Erickson wrote.
BluePaint Development offered Wiscasset $6,000 per lot to be paid at the time the building permits are issued for construction. The number of additional lots approved in phase three would determine the total amount to be paid to Wiscasset, according to the memo.
If an expansion of the 85-lot subdivision to 120 lots was approved, the total purchase price would be $720,000, Erickson wrote. Point East Maritime Village was initially approved as an 85-lot subdivision plan.
Selectmen took issue with the proposal’s piecemeal approach to purchasing the lots for development and questioned whether a residential development was appropriate for the property.
“There’s a number of things going on out there,” Selectman David Cherry said. “This seems like it could get in the way.”
Selectmen agreed a meeting with BluePaint Development would not be necessary, and turned down the proposal. “That’s off the grid now,” Colby said.