Finance authority helps Point Lookout's new owners

By Lynda Clancy | Dec 26, 2007
F300 Point Lookout

northport — The Finance Authority of Maine approved tax-exempt bond financing last week to help Northport LLC/The Erickson Foundation Inc. purchase various Knox and Waldo County properties, including Point Lookout, the Ducktrap Mountain conference center built by MBNA a decade ago.

Erickson, the retirement community business, will use the mountainside buildings as an education and training center related to the aging process and elderly care. The foundation is expected to create 52 full-time jobs, according to FAME officials.

Maine is acting as the conduit for the issuance of non-recourse bonds to finance the purchase of various properties in Waldo and Knox counties. The financing package, arranged with private investors, totals $30 million to help the Erickson Foundation acquire and renovate Point Lookout and other properties, said FAME.

FAME anticipates Erickson's presence will create an annual payroll of $1.8 million.

"We deeply appreciate FAME’s assistance as we move forward on our plans to make this extraordinary Maine property active once again," said Lenora L. Booth, executive vice president of developing enterprises at Erickson Retirement Communities, in a recent press release. "In addition to helping us create good Maine jobs, FAME’s actions will help us help others age successfully and enhance the quality of their lives. Northport LLC/The Erickson Foundation looks forward to being good neighbors and participants in the local community."

FAME was established as Maine's business finance agency in 1983 and charged with supporting the startup, expansion and growth plans of Maine's business community.

In September, Erickson Retirement Communities, based in Baltimore, signed papers to become the new owner of Point Lookout. The property had been on the market since 2005. Point Lookout overlooks Penobscot Bay and had been built for corporate functions. After Bank of America acquired MBNA assets, it put some of its Midcoast real estate on the market.

The 387-acre Point Lookout includes eight main buildings scattered on the hill, as well as 106 log cabins, and indoor and outdoor recreational facilities. After it started construction on Ducktrap Mountain in 1997, MBNA expanded the campus, adding an Astroturf soccer field, bowling alley and gymnasium. The company also built a temporary school for Lincolnville while the town constructed its own new school in Lincolnville Center.

The property was listed on Christie's Great Estates for $26.4 million last summer.

John Erickson, Erickson's founder, chairman and corporate executive officer, said in September that his company will use Point Lookout for a variety of purposes: training for employees, as a retreat and for functions associated with the Erickson School.

Erickson Retirement Communities develops and manages retirement communities in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, employing more than 11,000 workers and housing 20,000 residents. According to Erickson's website, the company is developing new facilities in Denver, Kansas City, and Ashburn, Va., and is acquiring other properties in the country.

Founded in 1983, Erickson is privately held, with John Erickson at the helm. He also established the Erickson School: Aging, Management, and Policy at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, with a mission to prepare leaders to improve society by enhancing the lives of older adults, and to inspire change and help reinvent the way society both views and responds to aging.

According to the company, its overall growth in 2006 was 14.6 percent.

Erickson credited his arrival in Maine to a few previous visits to Camden, whose harbor he has sailed into, and a Baltimore friend, Walter Skayhan, who also purchased former MBNA properties. In Skayhan's case, he acquired the Knox Mill and other smaller properties in Camden Village, redeveloping them for condominiums and retail and office space.
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