Prime Camden Street property remains in legal limbo

By Stephen Betts | Jun 05, 2018
Photo by: Stephen Betts 59 Camden St. in Rockland

Rockland — A commercial property located at one of Rockland's busiest intersections remains in legal limbo, nine months after the City Council agreed to return it to the former owner.

City Manager Tom Luttrell said the former owner has not undertaken any of the improvements required for the building to meet code compliance. That work was required before the city would turn 59 Camden St. back over to Rockland Plaza LLC  and its principal owner, Mark Patel, of Biddeford.

The issue of that property, located at the intersection of Camden Street (Route 1) and Maverick Street was raised at the Monday, June 4, meeting of the City Council. Councilor Adam Ackor asked why no improvements had been made to the property.

"That's a sticky situation," Luttrell said, adding that the city had yet to return the property to Patel because the repairs have not been done.

The city became the owner of the property in April 2016, when Rockland Plaza failed to pay sewer fees that were more than two years in arrears, despite repeated notices and warnings sent to the corporation.

The city put the property up for sale and received two bids -- including one from Rockland Plaza.

Patel's attorney, Harry Center II, of Biddeford, stated in a May 2017 letter that Patel maintained he was the rightful owner.

Patel offered to pay $13,920 in back property taxes he owes, as well as $439 in sewer fees that had accumulated. He has also offered to negotiate any additional costs the city said it has incurred on the foreclosed property.

The second offer -- received by the city in April 2017 -- was from Ryan Lawrence and George Andreaus of Camden, who offered $15,000 for the property. Lawrence had said they would likely build to suit a tenant. He said they were looking at tenants for a restaurant, retail, office or automotive business.

Luttrell said he discussed the property last week with the city's attorney, who said one way to resolve the issue is for the city to sell it, recover its costs and turn over the rest of the money to the former owner.

Ackor suggested putting it up for bid again and selling it.

The property is assessed at $206,600. Rockland Plaza owed $270 in sewer fees that had been due from the end of 2013. The city had placed a lien on the property in October 2014, before the automatic foreclosure occurred in April 2016.

The property had been the longtime location of the Harry French automobile repair shop at the busy intersection of Camden and Maverick streets.The site has been vacant for the past 11 years.

The lot was the subject of an environmental cleanup in 2010 because of spillage from fuel tanks.

The building -- built in about 1928 -- sits on slightly less than a fifth of an acre.

Comments (5)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jun 05, 2018 16:49

Sorry, computer delay and glitches, thus lots of same message. Apologies!



Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jun 05, 2018 16:48

The town should sell it to someone who will bring taxes to the city and provide jobs.



Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jun 05, 2018 16:46

French Automotive was a viable business for years and it is a good spot for future owners. Good thing if the City will sell it to another lucrative business owner and reap the taxes, plus creating jobs again.



Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jun 05, 2018 16:46

French Automotive was a viable business for years and it is a good spot for future owners. Good thing if the City will sell it to another lucrative business owner and reap the taxes, plus creating jobs again.



Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jun 05, 2018 14:01

Out of sight, out of mind. Truth be known the guy is operating on a shoestring and has no intentions of repairing this property.



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