OLD ORCHARD BEACH – Jeremiah’s Cottages are poised for an extreme makeover.

Massachusetts developer Bernie Saulnier has agreed to purchase the property and plans to raze the 53 cottages and main house on Saco Avenue.

Saulnier said he plans to build a three-season resort, to be called Summer Winds, which will feature 53 modular two-bedroom cottages built by KBS Homes of South Paris, a clubhouse and pool.

The pastel cottages, with high-end finishes like granite counter tops, will be sold individually for between $159,000 and $179,000, according to Charlene Farley, a real estate agent with Maine Coast Properties who is helping Saulnier market the project.

The decades-old small white cabins that sit on the property are rented by the night and week. They range from efficiencies to two bedrooms that sleep up to five people. The majority are seasonal; nine that are year-round properties.

Saulnier wouldn’t disclose the purchase price, but said the cost of the entire project, including the purchase price, is about $6 million.

The property is listed for $1.88 million with Maine Coast Properties. Farley said the sale won’t be finalized until October because the cottages are rented for this summer.

Old Orchard Beach is a well-known tourist destination for Canadians, and other out-of-state visitors. In an area where the vast majority of properties are rented out by the night or week during the summer, Farley said Saulnier’s project is unique because it’s creating a development where the owners can stay in Old Orchard Beach for up to nine months or choose to rent their property for part of that time.

A sample cottage is expected to arrive on site by Friday, and a model will be ready for walk-throughs by mid-June.

Town planner Jeffrey Hinderliter said residents have been curious about Saulnier’s plans and say they like the concept.

“It’s a different spin on what some traditional development has been here,” he said.

Hinderliter said the planned development is a welcome change that will offer more variety.

Saulnier and Farley are focusing their marketing efforts on people who spend their summers in Old Orchard Beach or those interested in investment properties that can be rented individually.

They hope the central location of the property, with easy access to beaches and downtown Saco, and the reasonable prices will appeal to potential buyers.

Michael Nugent, the town’s code enforcement officer, said Saulnier’s plans have been well received by town officials thus far. Removing old buildings and replacing them with something new without much impact to the environment or school system is very appealing, he said.

The development could also increase the tax value of the property, Nugent said. Farley estimated it could generate at least $100,000 in additional tax revenue for the town.

Saulnier hopes to have the development ready by the 2012 summer season. There have been a number of inquiries about purchasing cottages, Farley said. She also hopes to have everything sold by the time the cottages are ready for occupancy.

“It’s a buyers’ market. We’re seeing a new surge (in sales) and the timing couldn’t be better,” Farley said.

Nugent said abutters were notified of the developer’s plans, but that he has not received many inquires.

A site walk of the property for the planning board and abutters is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Thursday, and a public hearing is expected to be held at the Planning Board meeting at 7 p.m. June 9.

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

[email protected]