Pending town, state nods, ex-Wiscasset Primary School to be senior housing

Fri, 10/29/2021 - 12:00pm

    Wiscasset Town Manager Dennis Simmons is announcing that the current owners of the primary school property on Gardiner Road, JSJ Holdings, have reached a Memorandum of Understanding with Wiscasset Senior Living LLC to redevelop the school into senior housing.

    Wiscasset Senior Living will be under the management of Everbrook Senior Living of Southampton, Massachusetts. Everbrook, the management arm of Optimus Senior Living, operates facilities in Bozrah, Hebron, Windsor Locks, Connecticut and Ware, Massachusetts. A facility of similar size to the proposed Wiscasset redevelopment is being constructed in Allenstown, New Hampshire and is expected to open in June 2022.

    Optimus is proposing approximately 100 units of senior living at the Wiscasset site, consisting of a combination of independent living, assisted living and memory care units. Given the regions increasingly older demographics, the development project meets a critical need for variable living options for seniors in the town, will support further economic, community and workforce development and contribute to the productive reuse of the property. The property has been unoccupied and the subject of numerous episodes of vandalism since closing in 2015.

    To facilitate and promote the development of the facility, the selectboard will be seeking to form a Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) and enter into a Credit Enhancement Agreement with Optimus. Simmons has been working with Optimus, Bernstein Shur and the selectboard to finalize the terms. The agreement will require a public hearing and approval by Wiscasset voters, the planning board and Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

    View current Everbrook properties at https://everbrookseniorliving.com/

    For more information on Tax Increment Financing, see https://www.maine.gov/decd/business-development/tax-incentives-credit/municipal-tax-increment-financing

    Wiscasset closed the school in 2015, moved its grades to Wiscasset Middle School and made that Wiscasset Elementary School, and gradually moved grades six, seven and eight to Wiscasset High School and made it Wiscasset Middle High. JSJ Holdings bought the former primary school property from the town in 2017 for $505,000 and, from the outset, has considered housing there.