To our readers,

The COVID-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-century type story, ... Click here to continue

Mullins sees disassembly, relocation of Hedges Hall as 'fun project'

By Fran Gonzalez | Oct 15, 2020
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Hedges Hall at Point Lookout, was bought at auction Aug. 5 by entrepreneur and property developer Michael Mullins. Mullins plans to dismantle the building and reassemble it once an appropriate site is found.

Northport — Michael Mullins said he initially bid on Hedges Hall at Point Lookout convention center thinking he could "part it out" — take it apart and sell off what he could. Built by credit card giant MBNA over 20 years ago, no expense was spared on the conference, event and wedding venue.

Later, Mullins said, the idea of possibly relocating the building to a different site started to take hold. With an offer of $21,000, Mullins was the high bidder at the Aug. 5 auction where three other buildings and associated contents were sold off at the 387-acre site.

For now, Mullins is seeking a contractor to deconstruct the building into its constituent parts, in order to re-erect the large facility “in a couple of years.”

“Everything would be containerized and stored in a warehouse,” he said. “If we can get it down and into storage, we can start to look for an appropriate site.” He envisions that it will not be easy, but added, “MBNA poured quite a bit into it. Maybe four or five million dollars.”

Currently Mullins is at the stage of identifying a general manager who is "fascinated" with the project, and could lead a team of contractors to disassemble the building.It could take $250,000 to disassemble and move the building, he estimates, but added, “it’s very hard to guess. It will depend on how the bids come in, because this isn’t done every day,” he said. “Yes, we need someone who is up for this kind of challenge.”

Recently, Mullins sent a letter to the town of Camden about possibly relocating the building to a town-owned property at Sagamore Farms near Camden Hills State Park for use as a convention and event center. Development of the 77-acre farm has been discussed by various select boards for more than 16 years and according to a 2011 economic action plan, the land is the largest vacant developable parcel in the town of Camden.

Mullins is no stranger to developing properties. He serves on the board of directors at Mullins Management Co. of Braintree, Massachusetts — a privately held real estate development, management and investment firm.

“It’s a family business, but I am a director only,” he said.

According to Mainebiz, Mullins Management, with annual revenues of $11 million, has focused on redevelopment of Lowell, Massachusetts, mill properties. Mullins also has family ties in Maine.

In 2015, he purchased and restored the former Crockett's Quarry across Maverick Street from the Rockland Golf Club, rebranding the parcel Tennyson Quarry.

The property was transformed into a park-like vacation rental complete with its own beach. “Except for this year,” he said, “I have opened the house for summer weekly rentals, but I live there the rest of the time.” In 2016, Mullins said he became a Maine resident and voted in the election that year. “I have been here since.”

He is also the owner and manager of Cranesport Garage, a former MBNA building on Mount Battie Street in Camden, which he transformed into a business incubator. “Basically I support small businesses,” he said.

DIY Garage and Squire Auto are auto restoration-related groups located there, as well as NuDay Syria, a nonprofit helping women and children from Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.  Earlier this year Mullins also ran the Mid Coast Pop Up Factory there, making masks for area schoolchildren.

Most recently he announced the purchase of 25 Rankin St. in Rockland, which he plans to transform into a museum to be called the Maine Museum of Industry. The museum will include exhibits on major industries that have shaped Maine’s towns, cities and rural landscape.

In a Sept. 21 press release for the Maine Museum of Industry, he said, “I’m passionate about history and historic preservation, and this is a very exciting moment. There aren’t many surviving industrial buildings made of wood from the 1920s or earlier, and to be able to house a museum of industry is such a building in a special opportunity.”

Mullins is also the Republican candidate for the Maine Legislature for House District 93, representing Rockland and Owls Head. He will be on the Nov. 3 ballot along with Democrat Valli Geiger of Rockland.

Speaking on the Hedges Hall project, Mullins said, “I think this will be a fun project. We will have a lot of organizational challenges, but I think it can be done.

“My father asked me, 'Why are you taking that on? It sounds hard.'

“I told him, 'I don’t necessarily do things because they are easy,'” he said. “The path of least resistance would definitely be to just tear it down. I’m not in the salvage business. I didn’t want to see it torn down. I guess I wanted to save it. We’ll see what happens.”

Michael Mullins (Courtesy of: Michael Mullins)
If you appreciated reading this news story and want to support local journalism, consider subscribing today.
Call (207) 594-4401 or join online at knox.villagesoup.com/join.
Donate directly to keeping quality journalism alive at knox.villagesoup.com/donate.
Comments (12)
Posted by: Sherry Rucelle Emery | Oct 23, 2020 08:50

Kudos Mr Mullens for trying to preserve any of the local history... I can only say I wish you had been around when they tore down the old post office and put in a parking lot.



Posted by: Gayle Murphy | Oct 17, 2020 19:55

Note to self . . . Prior to starting any business or philanthropic venture in Midcoast Maine, make sure to get approval from Steve Carroll.

 

John Murphy



Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Oct 17, 2020 10:30

Mike thank you for your response.  I feel most people appreciate the "do-ers" in our society, some of us just question what the "do-ers" are doing.  Charles Cawley, in my opinion was a true "good deed doer".  He spent his money beautifying the properties and neighborhoods he invested in as well as improving the area schools, hospitals, theaters,  and Libraries . Most  members of the community benefit through the improvements made in these  public areas.  Hedges Hall at point lookout is a beautiful building, but mostly just a collection of "sticks & sheets".  Nothing of historical significance same as the old Millers garage.  It's just an old garage that should be torn down.  If you really want to do something take your property on Cedar street and turn it into low cost housing for struggling youth or seniors.  Turn the old Millers garage into a senior living facility like the Methodist Conference home.  I just question the benefit we all receive from beautifying a quarry or turning an old garage into a museum.



Posted by: Michael Mullins | Oct 16, 2020 12:03

Hi Stephen, Frank, and others.

Stephen I was not hired by Mr. Hirschfield.  I attended the auction where they were selling salvage rights to the hall.  And I purchased the rights.  Other people purchased the salvage rights to the Cafe and the Pavillion.  I don’t know what the plans are for those.

 

Im doing this to try to save the building.  I don’t think it’s a money making opportunity, and I wrote Camden to see if they are interested in a public-private partnership, unlike my Camden Tannery proposal submitted today which is to buy that site.

 

Becca Shaw Glaser wrote to me questioning why I would build a museum, vs all of my other options, which I know you you’re similarly not a fan of.

What I told her is that the projects come about because I respond to opportunities that present themselves.  For example, the point lookout auction, the Public RFP for the tannery site, and in Rockland, the antiques marketplace listed for sale for a low price.

I will admit to one thing, which is that I am a do-er and I like to make things happen in the community.  And one can never satisfy everyone, but I try to do things that have multiple benefits- economic, social, and educational, for instance.

Hedges Hall, as a PPP would offer economic benefits to the Town, in terms of events and property taxes.  The social benefits are building preservation, a place where communal events happen,  and the educational piece is that this is infrastructure for conferences and presentations.

Museum/makerspace hits on similar lines.

MM



Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Oct 16, 2020 10:03

Steve, you have no clue to whom I was referring to as the man to help Mullins with his project.. Personally I don't care what Mullins does or doesn't do. I didn't vote for him or any other I thought support Donald, Mitch and Susan. I agree that we do not need another money man in Augusta. That said many will jump on his bandwagon because it is important to them to rub elbows with the rich. How's that for "fluff", Steve.



Posted by: James Mays | Oct 16, 2020 09:49

I'm not going to vote for Mike Mullins in the upcoming election, however I salute his courage and willingness to take on the removal and relocation of Ginley/Erickson/Hedges Hall. Ginley/Hedges has been a huge asset to the Midcoast community well over past two decades plus under MBNA and Athena-Health. I remember PopTech doing a large function there 24 years ago right after it opened. 

Finding a new home for this facility and its functions will be tough, no doubt about it. Not sure Sagamore Farms is the best location, but high marks for thinking out of the box. Question: is site of RES East too small for this? I'm sure others will suggest more and better candidates. 



Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Oct 16, 2020 09:06

Fran your "fluff" piece on Mike Mullins seemed more promotional and less newsworthy especially with the timing only a couple of weeks before the election.  As many should know Mr. Mullins is running against Valli Geiger for the local Maine house seat.  Yes it's true Mullins company has been hired to disassemble and move this building, however the reasoning is somewhat distasteful.  A wealthy couple from Montana purchased the "Point Lookout" property in Northport (formally created by MBNA) as a corporate retreat.  They eventually decided they wanted the 378 acre parcel all to themselves so they auctioned off all the cabins the restaurant & even the bowling alley and now will move at great cost this beautiful building for no reason other that their own selfish desire for privacy.  A sad ending for this once magnificient facility.  One rich man doing the bidding of another rich man for no one's benefit other than their own.   Look forward to more of the same if elected to public office.



Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Oct 16, 2020 05:30

A Republican spreading HOPE and HEALING?? Wow, there just may be a future for the Republican party after LePage and Trump.  We do need both parties. :)



Posted by: Bill Packard | Oct 15, 2020 20:20

It would be great if when it reaches it's new home, it's called Ginley Hall again.



Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Oct 15, 2020 18:19

I think "Triple P" is the man for the job.



Posted by: Christine H Curtis | Oct 15, 2020 16:04

Erv Curtis Comment:  The Town of South Thomaston is in great need of a community building and has the land.

Erv Curtis



Posted by: Jeff Sukeforth | Oct 15, 2020 12:32

Got to give Mr. Mullins credit for trying to do the right things for his community.



If you wish to comment, please login.