Former Peirce School sold at auction for $220,000
Belfast — The former Peirce School sold at a public foreclosure auction Wednesday, Aug. 28, for $220,000.
The auction began shortly after 11 a.m. as Stefan Keenan, the auctioneer from South Portland-based Keenan Auction Co., detailed some background information about the building.
In addition, bidders were told there were two years of back taxes and a water bill that would need to be paid by whomever purchases the property. The unpaid back taxes and water bill totaled $13,333.77, Keenan said.
Bidding was started at $300,000 for the property, but that price gradually decreased until an opening bid of $200,000 was made. Following the opening bid, a brief recess was taken before a second round of bidding began.
During the second round, a bid of $201,000 was made before a countering bid of $205,000 was offered.
"It's only money," Keenan joked between bids.
The price then inched up to $207,500 then to $210,000 before increasing to $212,500 and then $215,000, as two interested parties went back and forth on their offers. Bidding again recessed after a counter bid of $217,5000 was made to conclude the second round.
When the final round of bidding resumed, an offer of $220,000 was made and no counter bids were submitted.
The winning bidder declined to identify himself or discuss what would be done with the property.
The Peirce School opened its doors in November of 1915 and sat on the site of the former South Primary School. In 2007, William Ryan purchased the building for $265,000 and converted the two-story brick building into a music academy.
However, after four years of operation, Ryan was forced to close the academy due to financial difficulties, according to previously published reports. When he announced the academy would be closing, the City of Belfast had an option to buy the property, which it did not exercise. City Manager Joseph Slocum previously told The Republican Journal the city did not have a use for the property and most likely would have put it back on the market.
The building is 11,187 square feet and is zoned for a number of uses including a single family residence, two family residence, a school, professional offices, and other uses, according to the building's website.
James McClelland, the primary mortgage holder for the Peirce School, was selling the mortgage and his note, a total value of $326,000, for $220,000 prior to the auction. According to an email from his lawyer forwarded by McClelland, the purchaser of the mortgage and note would be able to bid or accept a bid up to $326,000 without having to disburse any funds to junior lien holders.
McClelland also noted that he believed the building would be eligible for a 20 percent federal and 25 percent state tax credit for renovation costs based on information provided by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. The building is potentially eligible for those tax credits because it is listed as a contributing property within the Belfast Historic District, according to the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.
The buyer of the property has 30 days from the date of the auction to close on the deal.
Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.
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