SACO — Dirigo Capital Advisors has closed a deal with a New Hampshire developer on a long-vacant mill building, locally known as “Building No. 4.”

Mayor Don Pilon announced Wednesday that the sale had closed in New Hampshire that day, and Chinburg Properties is the new owner.

Building No. 4 sits on the top of York Hill on Saco Island along Main Street.

The building was sold for $600,000, according to Mark Robinson, public relations person for Dirigo Capital Advisors.

Chinburg Properties plans to develop Building No. 4 into 150 apartments plus commercial space. The company is experienced in mill renovations, having renovated eight former mill properties in New Hampshire and Massachusetts into residential and commercial space, and Chinburg Properties is known for “very high-end, upscale apartments,” said company President Eric Chinburg at a city meeting earlier this year.

Officials at Chinburg Properties have said they will invest more than $18 million in the former mill building, including $650,000 of impact fees to the city.

The four-story, 237,600-square-foot building has been abandoned for about 30 years, according to a letter to the city from Matt Assia, director of asset management for Chinburg Properties. Many windows have been removed, and the building has been exposed to weather, resulting in “significant rot and damage,” according to Assia.

Pilon said Wednesday he thinks the city will benefit from this proposed development.

“I’m just delighted by this news,” he said.

Pilon said there is a strong market for seniors who want to downsize and want the ease of living in an apartment as well as young people who are looking for upscale, good quality apartments.

The city council has approved a 30-year Tax Increment Financing District, or TIF, that will grant the developer 80 percent of tax revenue for eight years, and then 60 percent for the remaining 22 years, with a cap of $5 million.

Officials from Chinburg say without the TIF, they would not be able to move forward on the project.

Pilon credited the city council and city administrator Richard Michaud for their vision.

“We have to think long-term and big picture. Both the manager and the council were able to think very strategically on this one,” said Pilon.

Wednesday’s announcement comes on the tail of news of a proposal across the river in Biddeford, by Atlantic Holdings, LLC to invest $50 million in the former Lincoln Mill to create apartments and a boutique hotel with amenities that include a rooftop bar, fitness center and two restaurants with leading signature chefs.

“This is very exciting,” said Will Armitage, executive director of the Economic Development Corporation, in a prepared statement. “Building 4 stands at the gateway to the city, and its transformation will only accelerate the positive transformation of attitudes about doing business in Biddeford and Saco. At long last, we’re seeing the white-hot redevelopment that everyone knew was possible.”

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext.325 or [email protected]

        Comments are not available on this story.

        filed under: