Condemned building sold in West Paris

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WEST PARIS — A former restaurant owner has bought the dilapidated building at 10 Church St. and has begun gutting it to create four apartments, selectmen said Thursday night.

Mike Gilbert, who once owned Market Square Restaurant in Paris, was not at the meeting.

Town Manager Wade Rainey said, “We toured the whole building, talked to the people who bought it. They are going to gut it, do the roof and fix everything for why it was condemned.”

He said Gilbert owns seven or eight buildings in the area, as well as properties in Florida.

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The former apartment house was owned by Nation Star Mortgage and has been vacant for some time. It has been vandalized several times and the town officially condemned it.

One issue raised about the property is an easement granted to a prior owner by the West Paris Baptist Church in 1992. It allowed access to and maintenance on a bulkhead and septic tank partially on church property.

The house has changed owners at least five times since then.

The Planning Board and code enforcement officer will investigate the septic issues and see all plans before final approval is given for redevelopment.

Another issue in determining the number of apartments to be allowed is parking. because space is limited.

Selectman Dale Piirainen said he is hopeful the project will go through.

“The goal is to restore it and turn it into something clean, safe and habitable and not an eyesore,” he said.

“Three weeks ago (selectmen) were ready to tear it down,” he said. “We were talking about where to take the money from.”

At a previous meeting, Rainey estimated the cost to raze and remove the building at around $25,000.

“If they do what they say they are going to do, it will be a good-looking building when it is done,” Rainey said.   

“This is the best news we have ever had on this building,” Selectman Randy Jones said.

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