Investors tour Robinson Mill


OXFORD — Several investors have scouted Robinson Mill after the town put out a request for proposals for the defunct property.

Town Manager Michael Chammings said four or five groups of investors have expressed interest in the former woolen mill. The groups have toured the property, but not offered any formal proposals.

“We’re encouraged by that, because it’s not the greatest economy right now,” Chammings said.

The selectmen went into executive session during Thursday’s meeting after anticipating that an offer might be made, but none came to pass. Chammings said some storage space is being leased out of the mill, and John C. Robinson, former owner and Republican state representative from Raymond, has been removing personal property.

Oxford has been in possession of the mill since October, when selectmen voted 3-2 to take ownership of the 7.5-acre property. Earlier in 2009, the town foreclosed on the mill following nonpayment of $244,920 in property taxes over a three-year period.

Robinson and the town entered into a land installment contract that would have allowed him to keep the mill out of automatic foreclosure by paying off a $162,970.88 lien. Robinson made the first two payments of $1,000 and $7,000, but selectmen took the property after he requested an extension of a deadline to pay an $80,000 installment in October.

Robinson previously said he hoped the auction sale of a four-acre marina parcel adjacent to the mill would cover the remaining payments. This property, valued at $372,000, was put up for auction after it was charged that Robinson did not abide by the conditions of two mortgages totaling $265,000. Norway Savings Bank took over the marina with a $250,000 bid after the auction failed to garner a satisfactory offer.

Chammings said the mill will come off the tax rolls if it is still owned by the town on April 1. The mill has been insured for about $3,000 a year, with some additional costs for maintenance and briefly electrifying the building to drain the systems properly.

“Obviously, the largest cost is the taxes that went unpaid,” Chammings said.

The mill’s buildings include a three-story brick structure, waste water treatment plant and a dam. It was built in 1840 and purchased by John Robinson in 1849, remaining in the family from that point until the town took possession. After the mill closed in 2004, Robinson began plans to redevelop the property to become residential condominiums as well as commercial space, including restaurants and a textile museum.

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