BETHEL — It took five years, but Gehring Green developer Paul Boghossian said he finally has funding for his previously approved 15-unit subdivision project.

The initial project, which was approved by the Planning Board on Oct. 21, 2009, was to convert the interior of his 1896 Gehring House at 77 Broad St. into six luxury apartments.

Additionally, he wanted to build four duplex condominium units on the property, along with a carriage house with a first-floor garage and one condominium unit on the second floor, according to the Planning Board minutes of Nov. 26, 2011.

“We’re gearing up to break ground this spring,” Boghossian said Friday afternoon at his Kennebec Land Co. business in Waterville. “Finally, the financing is coming around and I’ve got two banks lined up.”

He said the lengthy hiatus was caused by a bank that stopped lending him money. He said if he’d had enough money in his checkbook, he would have started the project himself.

“It’s a great project,” Boghossian said. “I love Bethel. My son was a student at Gould Academy and he introduced me to Bethel.”


When he presented the initial project, he owned 2½ acres at the site. But during the past three years, he’s added 7½ acres to the project for a total of 10.

“Now, once the first phase gets done, we’ll be back before the town for the next phase,” he said.

Boghossian came before the Planning Board in November 2011, asking for an extension on his 2009 site plan review and subdivision approvals which expired on Oct. 21, 2011. He told the board that the economic downturn affected the progress of the project, according to the minutes.

Because Boghossian had yet to begin construction on the Gehring House Apartments and Condominiums project, the Planning Board approved a one-year extension from Oct. 27, 2011, to Oct. 26, 2012.

When that expired, Boghossian returned Nov. 14, 2012, to amend his initial plan and to seek another extension.

Bethel’s Site Plan Review Extension of Approval states that approval shall expire if the work or change has not commenced within two years of the approval date. Asked at the November 2012 meeting, Boghossian said he hadn’t yet begun work on the project.


After further review, the Planning Board approved a one-year extension, this one from Nov. 15, 2012, to Nov. 14, 2013, according to the minutes.

The board approved Boghossian’s Letter of Credit from Camden National Bank into record. The Site Plan Review Amendment to the project included three changes:

* Decreasing the footprint of the condo buildings by 160 square feet per unit.

* Moving the entry road slightly north to retain and enter the property through a mature growth of trees.

* Moving the condos slightly to the east and west to create a more open commons area.

There were also minor changes proposed to the front, side and rear elevations of the buildings, but the original Storm Water Management Plan wasn’t altered, according to the meeting minutes. The board approved the amended subdivision.


However, the extension deadline of Nov. 14, 2013, came and went without word from Boghossian, Planning Board assistant Sarah Tucker said Friday afternoon.

She said Boghossian still can return and ask for an extension. But at this point, he has to go through the process again to get Planning Board approval for the project that he has yet to build, she said.

Boghossian said Friday that he wasn’t aware that the deadline was Nov. 14, 2013. He said he thought that he was approved for a two-year extension.

He also said the Gehring Green website at, which states that construction has begun on some of the buildings, won’t actually be correct until January 2015.

According to the website and the Bethel Historical Society, the Gehring House, a mix of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles, was built in 1896 and served as a private home and clinic for Dr. John George Gehring (1857-1932) and his wife, Marian True Gehring.

Boghossian is a director with GrowSmart Maine, which promotes sustainable prosperity for all Mainers by integrating working and natural landscape conservation, economic growth and community revitalization, according to its website.


It states that Boghossian has been involved with numerous rehabilitation projects involving the creative reuse of older buildings in Rhode Island and Maine.

His most notable project is the Hathaway Creative Center in Waterville, a 450,000-square-foot mixed-use and loft-space development that has won numerous awards, according to the GrowSmart Maine website.

Randy Bennett, executive director of the Bethel Historical Society, said Thursday he had heard that Boghossian had acquired funding for the project, but Bennett wasn’t aware of any upcoming construction.

“There’s nothing happening with the project that I’ve heard,” he said. “We’re about to publish an article on Dr. Gehring’s Clinic, so we’re very interested in something good happening there.”

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