Lincoln Street Center loses bid for huge tax cut

By Stephen Betts | Sep 13, 2018
Photo by: Stephen Betts The Lincoln Street Center

Rockland — The city assessor has reduced the assessment of the Lincoln Street Center by $147,200, but that is less than one-sixth of the amount sought by the owners of the former school.

Assessor Roxy LaFrance granted the abatement Sept. 7, reducing the property's assessment to $1,001,500.

The center's owner, Orchid, LLC, had asked that the original assessment of $1,148,700 be reduced by $948,700, bringing the new value for tax purposes to $200,000.

Orchid had argued that it paid substantially less for the building than the assessment and that this should be given considerable weight.

The owners had also argued that the building needed considerable interior and exterior repairs.

Orchid paid $125,000 in 2012 after Camden National Bank took ownership of the property from the nonprofit organization Lincoln Street Center for Arts. The city had sold the property to that group after the school moved out in 1996 because of air quality concerns.

Orchid LLC consists of Oded Ashe of Las Vegas; local resident Mario Abaldo; and Erez Ram of Agoura, Calif.

The abatement will reduce the owners' tax bill by $3,397. If the company had received the abatement it requested, the annual tax bill would have been cut by $21,896.

The center leases spaces for things such as artists' studios.

The building was constructed in 1866, but had major additions and renovations in the early 1900s. The building has 35,000 square feet of space and sits on 1.65 acres. The building was originally Rockland High School, then Rockland District Junior High School before it closed in November 1996.

In a 2015 report, realtor Douglas Erickson pointed out that the residential A zoning for the property limits its use and prevents commercial and retail activities.

The owners can appeal to the Rockland Board of Assessment Review and then could appeal to the Maine Board of Property Tax Review, and then the state court.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Sep 13, 2018 20:16

This is true Francis, but when investors are not allowed to generate revenue due to restrictive city regulations then it gives them little options.  If you could combine the Lincoln street and McClain properties for co-operative housing this would be a win, win for the city.  The Lincoln center has NOT been allowed to create housing due to city code, However the city still wants the center to pay over $20,000 annually in taxes and NOT be allowed to generate revenue.  This investor actually saved the city money by taking this property off the city's budget.  We can't have it both ways.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Sep 13, 2018 18:26

When taxes are reduced on income producing property home owners have to make up the difference. Investors come here and want property at a bargain price then whine cause they can't make as much money as they want. I know I don't care to subsidize them.

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