MOSCOW – Nearly 1,500 acres and buildings that once held equipment that scanned from Greenland to Cuba for approaching Soviet missiles and planes will be sold at auction.

The U.S. General Services Administration is scheduled to start the auction online at 10 a.m. Monday. Information about the sale is posted at

“We hope someone does (buy it) because it’s been tax-exempt all this time,” Moscow Selectman Donald Beane said. “We’re just all glad something’s going to finally happen.”

The U.S. Air Force’s Over-the-Horizon-Backscatter radar system was developed in the 1970s, built in the 1980s and shut down in the 1990s. During the Cold War, it bounced detection signals off the upper part of the atmosphere to search for enemy aircraft up to 1,800 miles away over the Atlantic Ocean.

The $680 million system consisted of the transmitting site in Moscow, a receiving site in Cherryfield, and an operations center in Bangor.

The 1,494-acre parcel off Stream Road Extension in Moscow that will be auctioned contains three warehouses and one garage, with a total of 43,000 square feet of floor space.

Each warehouse is of similar size and layout. They have overhead garage doors, large open bays, office space, storage areas and restrooms, according to the GSA.

The bidding will start at $1. The closing of the auction will depend on bidding activity, so the date has not been set, said Patrick Sclafani, a spokesman for the GSA.

The auction website states that the U.S. government has the right to reject any bid for any reason.

Beane said the government has received at least a couple dozen inquiries about the former radar site. The Penobscot Indian Nation considered purchasing the property last year, but a deal never materialized. The property was last listed at $860,000.

A phone call to Penobscot Nation Tribal Chief Kirk Francis was not immediately returned.

At Moscow’s annual town meeting in March, Peter Vigue, president and chief executive officer of Cianbro Corp., a construction company based in Pittsfield, spoke to residents about buying the property in order to build a wind farm and pair it with a business.

Cianbro has partnered with Larry Warren, who runs Maine Huts and Trails, to pursue the project, which would benefit a business by providing it with inexpensive electricity from the wind turbines.

In an email, Vigue said he could not comment on whether he would bid on the property. Phone calls to Warren and Cianbro executive Ernie Kilbride were not returned.

An environmental survey published in February 2007 stated that the former radar site is clear of hazardous substances. Only small amounts of paint and cleaning materials were discovered during the survey, which is required before any Defense Department property can be sold.

Besides the website, more information is available by contacting project manager John Dugan at [email protected] or 617-565-5709.

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Erin Rhoda can be contacted at 612-2368 or:

[email protected]