The lobster wharf next to Cook’s Lobster & Ale House on Bailey Island in Harpswell will be sold at bankruptcy auction this month.
The quarter-acre property at 66 Garrison Cove Road includes a 187-foot commercial pier built around 1950, a bait shed and a small office leased by Eastern Traders, a lobster dealer based in Nobleboro that serves about two dozen local fishermen. The property will be auctioned April 25 to satisfy debts owed by owner Norman “Curt” Parent, an island resident who also used to own the adjacent restaurant.
Parent still owes about $373,000 to creditors after the $1.25 million sale of the iconic eatery to Nick and Jen Charboneau of Lewiston in 2015. At the time, Parent had hoped to keep the wharf, but court records show that earlier this month, a court-appointed trustee persuaded a judge to sell Parent’s last big asset to satisfy his remaining creditors. Parent could not be reached for comment.
Eastern Traders buys millions of pounds of lobster from Maine and Massachusetts fishermen each year to sell and truck to Canadian processors, who then cook and freeze the lobster and ship it to customers around the world. The new owner of the wharf has the right to terminate the lease with Eastern, which got its start in the wholesale lobster business more than 30 years ago, according to the auction listing.
But the auctioneer, Michael Carey of Tranzon Auction Properties of Portland, said the property is likely to remain a commercial buying station.
“Getting any new waterfront development permitted today is challenging,” Carey said. “You could be hundreds of thousands of dollars into permitting before you even know if you’ll succeed. But the same limitations that make it risky to change the use of a property like this also make it valuable. There aren’t that many places left on the Maine coast that you can do this kind of thing from scratch.”
The wharf is quiet now, because lobster season has not yet begun, but it is in operating condition, Carey said. He acknowledged that it needs work after years of deferred maintenance, although he doesn’t know exactly how much work. He encourages anyone who wants to bid on the wharf – which requires a $50,000 deposit, by the way – to take a pre-auction tour next Tuesday.
The property, which sits just over the stacked-granite-block Cribstone Bridge that links Orr’s and Bailey islands, includes 9,000 square feet of deck area with multiple floats and ramps, about 400 feet of shore footage that has water at all tides, and an insulated and cooled bait shack where the fishermen buy the herring, pogies and redfish they use to lure lobsters into their traps. The wharf has one mooring in Garrison Cove.
The assessed value of the property, with improvements, is $469,400. For more information on the auction, go to the Tranzon website or call Tranzon at 775-4300.
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