June 27, 2013

MaineGeneral's Seton campus sold to Waterville developer for $500K

By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling mhhetling@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE — The Seton campus of MaineGeneral Health will be sold to the same developer who bought the hospital's East Chestnut Street location in Augusta, hospital officials announced Thursday afternoon.

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MaineGeneral Health's Seton campus, in Waterville, has been sold for $500,000 to a company affiliated with the same developer who purchased the hospital's current Augusta campus last December, according to Chuck Hays, MaineGeneral’s chief executive officer.

Staff file photo by David Leaming

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Kevin Mattson

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

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Under the purchase agreement, the building and 80 acres will be sold to Waterville Development Co., a company affiliated with developer Kevin Mattson, for $500,000, according to Chuck Hays, MaineGeneral's chief executive officer.

Hays said the sale agreement, which is expected to be finalized at the end of July, followed about six months of discussions and negotiations with Mattson.

In December, Mattson, a Freeport resident, led an investment group that bought the East Chestnut Street building for $2.5 million through a subsidiary of Mattson Development.

Hays said the sale will help Waterville by returning the property to the city tax rolls. Under the hospital, which is a nonprofit entity, the property was tax-exempt, but it will now be assessed for tax purposes.

"We worked extensively with the city of Waterville, national auctioneers and regional brokers to find a buyer for the Seton campus," Hays said. "It is a great opportunity to sell to a local buyer with a proven track record that will reuse the property."

The sale price, $500,000, is far lower than the original asking price for the building. A hospital official said in 2012 that the building had been appraised recently for $2.5 million to $3.5 million. When the hospital packaged the two buildings and sought a minimum bid of $2.6 million in an online auction in October, no qualified bids were submitted.

However, Hays said the final sale price was fair, in part because the building has low ceilings and no air conditioning and is built so solidly that renovations will be difficult.

"There's a lot of challenges with the building," he said.

MaineGeneral plans to lease the property until October 2014 and to pay operating costs until then.

The sale is the latest development in an ongoing reorganization that will result in consolidation of the hospital's inpatient services at its new $312 million Alfond Center for Health in Augusta, while the Thayer Center for Health in Waterville will undergo a $10 million renovation.

The Thayer Center, which will maintain its emergency department, will become the largest free-standing comprehensive outpatient center in Maine, according to Hays.

Earlier this week, Hays announced the hospital's plans to move 180 employees to the Hathaway Creative Center in downtown Waterville. They will join 150 hospital employees who already work at the site.

Most of the Seton workers who provide clinical services will be moved to the Thayer center, while the ones who provide back-office services, such as billing, will go to the Hathaway center.

Paul Castonguay, assessor for Waterville, said he had not heard of the sale but that he expected to perform an assessment to determine the property's value for taxation purposes.

"It's going to be an interesting assessment," he said.

If the property were assessed at the sale price of $500,000 and taxed at the city's proposed rate of $27.40 per $1,000 of assessed value, it would generate $13,700 per year for the city.

Castonguay said the assessment will take effect in April 2014.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287

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