Odd Fellows Building future remains unclear

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NORWAY — A potential buyer’s plans for the vacant Odd Fellows Building at 380 Main Street may be on hold.

According to Planning Board Chairman Dennis Gray, Tom Souza was scheduled to come before the board earlier this month about his plans for a smoke shop, glass-blowing studio and residential apartments, but failed to show up. Gray said he did not know where Souza lives and he has not filed an application.

“He did look at the building but I can’t comment on it,” said owner Harvey Solomon of New Horizon Capital Investment in Norway on Monday when asked about the potential buyer.

Solomon said he is waiting to see who will purchase the property before he continues renovations. “We’ll build to suit,” he said.

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Meanwhile the property continues to generate inquiries.

“We do have very good interest on the property. We are showing it with regularity,” said Solomon’s real estate broker, Beth Miller of Village Square Realty in Norway. “I’m hopeful that something good will happen there.”

The building has a $179,000 price tag on it. The space is also for lease, Solomon said.

Solomon and his wife, Dawn, purchased the building in July 2008 for $63,500 from Northeast Bank in Lewiston, which held the mortgage. At that time, they had hoped to place a high-scale restaurant on the first floor, offices on the second floor and apartments or even condominiums on the third floor after an extensive renovation of both the exterior and interior.

But commitments to other unanticipated projects that would delay a timely renovation of the building forced a decision by Solomon to put the property on the market. He has already done extensive renovation on the back wall and recently brought the front facade back to its early origins. The interior remains a gutted three-floor space.

The basement and first floor of the Odd Fellows Building, which is adjacent to the Opera House, was built in 1894 after the great fire of that year destroyed the majority of the downtown. The second and third floors were added in 1911. The structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the downtown historic district.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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