The town of Thomaston announced that its relationship with St. George Cove LLC of Portland has ended by mutual agreement, and that the town’s Board of Selectmen is planning to review other options for development of the former site of the Maine State Prison.

The economic downturn of the past three years resulted in a widespread decline in housing sales that kept the project from developing as rapidly as necessary to provide economic feasibility for the developer.

The developer’s decision to withdraw was based on the scale of initial development required for it to be profitable for his firm, and the exercise requirement in the option agreement to pay $184,000 as the first of two required payments at the end of this month.

Thomaston Town Manager Valmore Blastow and board members will continue to seek input from town residents through the community process that began in 2005, when the town purchased the property from the state.

Beginning in 2005, the town’s site redevelopment committee partnered with Richard Berman and his team to create a master plan — based on community consensus — for the future of the site. To date, the collaborative effort has resulted in a rezoning of the property to support this plan, established architectural design guidelines reflecting the historic nature of the village, enacted a Downtown TIF that includes the site to help stimulate investment in Thomaston, brought in a $220,000 grant that has built open space and walking-trail amenities at the site, and obtained control of the former barracks to allow for comprehensive development of the entire site.

William Hahn, chairman of the Thomaston Board of Selectmen, praised the developer’s efforts, saying, “Mr. Berman brought public inclusiveness, concern for the community, and years of expertise to the project, which I continue to believe will ultimately result in a reuse of the property that will be of maximum benefit to the community and its future residents.”

Ed Ludwig, co-chairman of the town’s site redevelopment committee, agreed. “While I am disappointed at this turn, I am not discouraged, because this our vision — and ultimately the plan — created and put in place by our citizens is valid and appropriate, and we will find the means and methods locally to complete the neighborhood as envisioned.”

The next step in the community process will be a town meeting vote on June 15 to approve specific infrastructure for the site, as required by the previously voter-approved Downtown TIF District funding document, which is needed to continue moving the project forward.

For more information, contact Valmore Blastow, Thomaston town manager, at 354-6107 ext. 225 or vblastow@midcoast.com.