The town of Gorham has sold to a private owner the so-called McLellan/Sampson House that the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust has leased from the town for the past 20 years.
“We had a closing on Friday, Aug. 5,” Town Manager David Cole said Monday. “It sold for $125,155. The purchaser was Standish MODBL Real Estate, LLC.”
According to Mike Parker, land trust president, the new owners are Ben Lamarche and Cody Murray, dentists. Lamarche, who could not be reached for comment by the American Journal deadline Wednesday, is a dentist with several locations.
It was unclear early this week how long the land trust could retain its offices in the landmark at 77 South St. Rachelle Curran Apse, land trust executive director, said it hoped to meet with the new owner.
“We expect to meet soon with the new owners to discuss the future beyond six months,” Parker said Tuesday in an email. “For now we remain ensconced rent-free.”
The house is believed to have been built in 1803 for James McLellan and is located in the South Street Historic District, according to the Maine Historic Preservation Commission in a January 1988 document. In times past, the building housed the Gorham School Department and superintendent’s office. The Gorham Times newspaper had space in the building for many years and its sign was still posted in front of the house.
The town sold the house with a Town Council ordered deed restriction that it couldn’t be razed unless there was “a catastrophic event which would require demolition.”
The building needs extensive repairs. Parker said the land trust recommended the town sell the property “to a for-profit entity to renovate and make it an attractive, tax-producing property.”
“We at the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust are very gratified by the results of this process,” Parker said. “The new owners have successfully rehabilitated an historic building in Kezar Falls. Presumpscot Regional Land Trust will share the pride with Gorham residents in seeing the restoration of one of the town’s signature buildings. We welcome the community minded new owners of McLellan House.”
James McLellan, according to the “History of Gorham, Maine,” by Hugh McLellan, was descended from the McLellan family that settled in Gorham 278 years ago. He was a deacon in the Congregational Church.