Bath Housing purchased the Columbia and Moses blocks, on the corner of Front and Summer St., from the Sagadahock Real Estate Association for an undisclosed price. The property will continue to be unsubsidized apartments and retail space. (Kathleen O’Brien / The Times Record)

BATH — The Sagadahock Real Estate Association has sold another property off its once-extensive roster, this time to Bath Housing. 

Bath Housing purchased the Columbia and Moses blocks on the corner of Front and Summer Street as well as a parking lot at 195 Front St. The 10 apartment units in the upper levels of the building will remain unsubsidized, rental housing. No changes will be made to the existing street-level retail spaces or the parking lot. 

In addition to housing and retail space, the Moses block offers 10,000 square feet of unused space, for which Bath Housing Executive Director Debora Keller said Bath Housing has no immediate plans.

“The Moses building has been vacant for a while, so we’re excited to see what Bath Housing proposes,” said City Manager Peter Owen.

Bath Housing currently operates 185 apartments. Five of its properties have rents subsidized by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. The apartment units within the Columbia and Moses blocks are “available to everyone,” according to Keller. “There are no age or income restrictions.” 

Keller declined to disclose the purchase price of the properties or the average monthly rental price of the apartments. According to the assessor’s database, the parking lot at 124 Front St. was assessed at $44,400. 

According to local historian Robin Haynes, when the building purchased by Bath Housing was first built in 1893 it housed a grocery store, a restaurant, and a candy store, among other things. 

This sale is the latest for the Sagadahock Real Estate Association, which has been trying to sell off its extensive property list piece by piece. 

The push to sell was spawned from a lack of interest in the Morse family. “My twin sister and I are 74 and nobody wants to take over the family business,” said Morse. 

The Association initially owned 20 properties, 18 of which were in downtown Bath. Within the past two years, the company has sold 13 of those properties.

John Morse IV, whose family owns Sagadahock Real Estate Association, said the selling of all the properties has been bittersweet. 

“I understand change has to happen, but I’m concerned that we won’t have control over so much of Bath anymore,” Morse said. 

Morse explained his concern comes from his deep desire to help maintain downtown Bath’s historic and charming atmosphere. He achieves this by only selling properties to people, “that fit Bath and understand how it works rather than filling it with whoever came along.” 

Morse is confident Bath Housing shares his same passion for preserving the historic downtown and will “do right by Bath…They understand how Bath works.”

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