State

Madawaska acquires downtown plaza from Connecticut firm

MADAWASKA, Maine — The Town of Madawaska now owns the Mid-Town Shopping Plaza, having received it as a charitable gift from the property’s former owner.
Gary Picard, Madawaska town manager, announced Dec. 31 that the town acquired the plaza by donation on Dec. 27 from Connecticut based Mid-Town Realty Associates.
Officials from the realty firm contacted the town last fall, expressing their interest to give the property to the town via IRS Qualified Charitable Contribution, Picard stated in a Dec. 31 press release. Under IRS rules for charitable contributions, a person/business may donate property to a non-profit organization and receive an income tax credit for the appraised value of the property.
According to Picard, that call initiated numerous discussions with the Board of Selectmen and legal counsel regarding pros, cons and legalities of such an acquisition. The town assessed the property, which does not include the Kmart building, at $1.1 million, with a one-year lien in taxes. The current year’s taxes also are unpaid.
Selectmen ultimately concluded that acquisition made sense, as it would improve the town’s goal of the attaining the best possible outcome for the retail property located in Madawaska’s downtown.
The release stated that town officials plan to retain and develop new parking lot property adjacent to the new Farmer’s Market and the library, which could be designated public parking. The additional Main Street frontage could be incorporated into the town’s strategic and downtown revitalization plans.
Picard indicated the town has no immediate plans for the remainder of the property and buildings, but have discussed its long-term redevelopment, including the possibility of soliciting requests for proposals from developers who may be interested in redeveloping the property.
Prior to the acquisition, Mid-Town Realty negotiated a short-term lease with Spectrum than runs until April 2019. While Spectrum announced earlier this month that it is closing its Madwaska office, the parking lot use/plowing agreement is paid for by the cable company through the lease.
Additionally, Kmart took responsibility for snow removal immediately adjacent to their store.

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