BRUNSWICK – George Schott, the development mogul behind a retail boom in Auburn, has purchased the former Atrium Inn & Convention Center on Gurnet Road.

Schott, who along with Ocean Properties Ltd. recently finalized the $13 million Marriott Residence Inn deal in Auburn, confirmed Wednesday that he is the primary owner of Just Because LLC, the company that recently purchased five lots between Gurnet and Thomas Point roads.

Four of those properties are vacant. The fifth is the 9-acre, multi-building complex that was once home to Winner’s Sports Bar & Grill and the former Atrium.

Schott, who purchased the properties a day before they were set for a July 17 public auction, said his plans are in the development stage.

“It would be nice to do a combination of different things there,” Schott said. “But given the day’s economy, you can’t always do what you want. You have to do what the people want to be done. We’ll play it all by ear.”

He said all the existing buildings would be razed in October.

“The buildings are very outdated and dilapidated,” Schott said, adding that he hoped to have a more definitive development plan before the demolition begins.

The buildings were damaged several years ago during a firefighter training exercise. The previous owners, Bo-Ed Inc., used to own the Cook’s Corner Mall. Bo-Ed closed the hotel in 2006 and filed for bankruptcy.

Schott declined to say how much he paid for the property, but according to Cumberland County records, the original mortgage was for more than $3 million. According to the town assessor’s office, the buildings at the Atrium complex are worth only $100,000. However, the land on all five properties has been assessed at more than $1.8 million.

In addition to taking over Bo-Ed’s mortgage, Schott will resolve the former owners’ $130,000 in tax liens.

Schott admitted that his latest venture is a departure from his previous development efforts. While Schott in May purchased modular-home builder Burlington Homes of Oxford, he has focused primarily on Auburn, where he owns two malls.

“Auburn is a little quiet right now,” said Schott, explaining his interest in developing property in Brunswick.

Schott was behind the Auburn Mall’s recent Kohl’s and Best Buy developments. Schott has over the last five years added $30 million in new taxable property to the city’s Mount Auburn Avenue area.

Schott’s most recent project, the Marriott Residence Inn, may be his most impressive. He convinced Ocean Properties, one of the country’s largest privately held hotel development and operating companies, to take on the development despite an economic climate that has limited growth in the industry.

Brunswick Economic Development Director Mathew Eddy said Wednesday that Schott’s company is expected to meet with him in the coming weeks to discuss opportunities for the project.


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