The sale of a prominent, dilapidated and currently closed motel on Route 1 in Bucksport has not been finalized months after it found a buyer, worrying town officials as colder temperatures start to approach.
The Fountain Inn, which closed in 2021 because of numerous safety issues, hit the market this spring for $1 million and went under contract in May. But since then it’s been crickets from the owner, the real estate agent and the would-be buyer, who hasn’t been publicly named.
There was a potential August sale date, but that never went through, according to town hall. Now, about four months after it went under contract, town officials are concerned about what could happen if the building goes another winter unoccupied.
“We haven’t received any more information on what the buyer or seller are doing,” said Susan Lessard, the Bucksport town manager.
The Fountain Inn sits on a hill, greeting drivers from the east as they enter Bucksport. In recent years, it ceased catering to tourists and had been renting rooms out to about 40 long-term residents.
But last year town officials deemed the building “dangerous.” Residents had been living with a broken central heating system, numerous electrical problems, substandard smoke detectors and poor plumbing. Residents were forced to move out, leaving the building vacant and in disrepair.
In the past, owner Asad Khaqan said there were plans to revive the motel buildings on the 9-acre property. The town’s code enforcement officer has said extensive electrical, plumbing, heating and structural repairs would be needed to get the place up to snuff.
But town officials were skeptical that Khaqan would get any of the work done. After months of little to no improvements, the motel was listed with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in the spring. The real estate agent previously said the motel would be sold “as is” and Khaqan was extremely motivated to sell.
Both Khaqan and the real estate agent did not return requests for comment this week. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’s website indicates the property is still under contract, and property records at the Hancock County registry of deeds show the deed has not yet changed hands.
The town is concerned that the property will continue to deteriorate if the sale doesn’t go through, potentially posing even more of a danger.
“It’s not getting better the longer it sits unoccupied,” Lessard said. “I’m concerned about it becoming a target for squatting or vandalism.”
Last winter wasn’t kind to the motel. In January, pipes in one of the vacant buildings burst, resulting in several inches of standing water and collapsed ceilings. The utilities have been shut off to the property since.
The municipality has considered demolishing the building in the past, but the dangerous designation is being challenged by Khaqan in court, holding up any threat of the wrecking ball.
That legal case is still pending and hasn’t budged since April 2021, according to Lessard.