Concrete foundations are all that remain of the former Stinson Seafood cannery along the Bath waterfront. Courtesy of Sam Lambert, KW Commercial Real Estate of Brunswick

The redevelopment of the old Stinson Seafood cannery along the Bath waterfront is underway after a development group purchased the property for $1.02 million in August.

The Cannery Group, based in Bath, purchased the 5.6-acre property on Bowery Street from Dirigo Holdings, which acquired it for $550,000 in 2006. The property is assessed at $764,600, according to city records.

Former Congressman Bruce Poliquin, principal of Dirigo Holdings, said his group had several offers for the property, which has been vacant since the cannery shuttered in 2005.

“We’re glad we sold it to them,” Poliquin said of The Cannery Group. “These are Maine people that care about Maine. We did have other offers from out-of-state people that didn’t know Maine and didn’t care. I didn’t trust them, and these guys I do. I wish them tremendous success.”

Developer Sean Ireland is leading The Cannery Group. He said there’s no specific plan yet for the property, which is zoned for marine or industrial uses, meaning it could be turned into something like a marina or boat manufacturing facility. There is 850 feet of shoreline along the Kennebec River and it’s about a 10-minute walk downtown.

“This will be a long process,” Ireland said. “We’ve put together a small group of local partners/investors. … We envision a phased-in and lengthy redevelopment process that involves community engagement throughout the entire process.”


He said his group has been working with the city on “preliminary site and development issues.”

Jenn Curtis, Bath’s planning director, called the property a “cornerstone” of the city’s waterfront.

“It’s nice to see some new energy being focused in that area,” she said.

Curtis said the city is exploring the possibility aiding the redevelopment through the Brownfields environmental cleanup program, a tax increment financing district and/or a Community Development Block Grant.

“It is still early in the development process, but those are all options that may be considered,” she said.

Poliquin in 2021 explored building housing and a park there, but city officials expressed hesitation about the project. He had listed the property for sale in 2010 for $2.5 million.


The property has been bare, save for concrete foundations, since a 2006 arson fire burned down the cannery buildings.

Ireland, principal of Windward Development, oversaw the redevelopment of downtown Bath’s historic Grant Building, the former department store built in 1936 that was converted into co-working space, apartments, a theater, art studio and office space. His redevelopment projects also include Bath Brewing Company, Maine Street Design Co. and the Press Hotel in Portland.

The Stinson Seafood cannery opened in 1946 and employed about 350 people packing sardines. It had been one of the last remaining sardine canneries in the country.

The country’s last sardine cannery, also run by Stinson Seafood in Prospect Harbor, closed in 2010.

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