Biddeford Housing Authority recently got the go-ahead from Saco City Council to buy this property at 90 Temple Street, vacant and left to the weather since a 2012 fire, and renovate it into four units. Tammy Wells Photo

SACO- A once-gracious Queen Anne style home on Temple Street, left to languish after a fire 12 years ago, will be restored, providing a home for several families. 

Biddeford Housing Authority, which provides housing services to people in BiddefordSaco and beyond, was one of two bidders for the property.  The authority’s bid was $1,000; their cost estimate to repair the structure is just under $650,000, according to documents on file at Saco City Hall. The second bidder didn’t submit a figure, suggesting a conversation about the property instead, said City Planner Denise Clavette.  

“Our plan for 90 Temple is to use historic rehab funds and or any other sources available in order to bring the building back up to its former glory while combining historic features with modern amenities and safety features, ” BHA director Guy Gagnon said in the agency’s bid for the property. “Initially, we would propose to create four units within the existing building envelope, all of which would offer some level of affordability.”

This vacant 1890s home at 90 Temple Street in Saco, damaged by fire in 2012, will be renovated and transformed into four apartments by Biddeford Housing Authority. Tammy Wells Photo

It is BHA’s intention that one of the four units be set aside for the city of Saco to use for emergency housing for families in need. 

Councilor Nathan Johnston told his fellow councilors that the roof of the structure had been open to the weather since the 2012 fire, and at some point, the owner abandoned the property. The city obtained the parcel through tax foreclosure in 2016.   

Johnston supported the sale to BHA. He said there would long term benefit of the city being able to use a unit, noting there have been prior occasions when the city has had to house people for long periods of time. 

According to paperwork associated with the placement of the property on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1978, the 21/2-story A.B. Seavey house, built in 1890, was designed by J.M. Littlefield of Haverhill, Massachusetts. 

While the home is predominately sided with clapboards, portions sport decoratively-cut shingles. 

The parcel contains a quarter- acre of land. The home is about 4,000 square feet, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and on Maine Preservation’s Endangered Properties list. 

Clavette said the planning department is in full support of the BHA proposal. 

Gagnon said BHA has a “payment in lieu of taxes” agreement with the city of Biddeford, based on income generated from the properties it owns there.  

“I’d like to be able to do that with Saco and that’s something we can talk about,” he said.  

Biddeford Housing Authority and Southern Maine Affordable Housing own about 120 units of affordable housing in the region, and administers about 500 housing vouchers, Gagnon said. 

He said the units would offer a level of affordability, with the highest rent at about 20 percent below market rate.  

The vote to approve the sale to BHA was unanimous. 

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