Owner of Norway Odd Fellows Building coy about structure's future

NORWAY — The owner of the former Odd Fellows Building said Wednesday that he is still determining what he will do with the three-story brick building.

Sun Journal file photo

The future of the Odd Fellows Building, left, is up in the air as the Norway Opera House, right, prepares to open its doors to retail businesses for the first time in more than five years.

“I'm weighing my options,” said Sam Patel, a retailer in southern Maine, who purchased the building in December from TD Bank.

The building at 380 Main St., was transferred on Dec. 14, 2012, from TD Bank to Patel’s  Jasim LLC. The limited liability company is registered in Westbrook.

Patel, who declined to elaborate on the future use, said he intends to go before the Planning Board with his plans once they are fleshed out.

The building, which sits next to the Norway Opera House, has been vacant for years.

The interior was gutted by Harvey Solomon, owner of the building before the bank foreclosed on it and tried to sell it at auction in March 2011.

A Norway businessman was attempting to purchase the building from TD Bank, which bought it at a foreclosure auction for $89,000 in March 2011, but that sale fell through.

Dawn and Harvey Solomon of New Horizons Capital Investment purchased it in July 2008 for $63,500. They told town officials they planned to renovate the building and reopen storefronts on the first floor.

The Solomons stabilized the back wall and cleared the debris inside of the building, but renovations stopped in 2010 just before Dawn Solomon was charged and subsequently convicted of bilking the state's MaineCare system out of more than $4 million. The building was put up for auction by TD Bank along with a dozen other Solomon properties.

The building has sat untouched since that time. Several windows on the second and third floor front have been smashed presumably by vandals.

A study of Odd Fellows Hall by Resurgence Engineering and Preservation Inc. of Portland several years ago indicated it would take more than $800,000 to fully renovate it.

The basement and first floor of the hall were built in 1894, and the other two floors were added in 1910. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the historic downtown district. It once housed the District Court, a jail and businesses.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

Odd Fellows Building

I know this is a small thing, but it's irritating to longtime residents and easy to check. I've mentioned it before. If necessary you can confirm it with the Norway Historical Society. The court that was located in the Odd Fellows block was NOT a "district court," but the Norway Municipal Court, which existed until sometime in the 1960s, when municipal courts around the state were phased out and folded into the current district court system.

JOANNE MOORE's picture

You are right, Rick.

I believe, if memory serves, that the sitting judge was Judge Stearns. A couple of my friends "visited" with him back when I was in Norway High School. (graduate of class of 1960)

BTW, your name sure rings a bell. Were you ever in the Penny Players? Or your Dad?

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