2015-07-03 / Front Page

Arundel Cottages taking reservations

By Duke Harrington Staff Writer


Joe Paolini of Framingham, Massachusetts, one of five owners in the Cape Arundel Cottage Preserve on Route 1, and Kim White, director of sales and marketing for the project, stand on land being cleared for the community center on the 259-unit development. (Duke Harrington photo) Joe Paolini of Framingham, Massachusetts, one of five owners in the Cape Arundel Cottage Preserve on Route 1, and Kim White, director of sales and marketing for the project, stand on land being cleared for the community center on the 259-unit development. (Duke Harrington photo) ARUNDEL — Despite recent rains, work at the Cape Arundel Cottage Preserve, a 259-unit gated community at 1976 Portland Road (Route 1) in Arundel, is proceeding apace, with reservations for the first homes being accepted this week.

“We’re hoping that we’re going to be able to start taking those reservations within the next 10 days,” said Kim White, sales and marketing director for the project, during a June 26 tour of the site.

“Our model home will be open in July, probably by the 20th,” she said, noting the first seasonal cottages should be ready for residents to move into by this fall. The full build-out of all 259 units on the property, covering nearly 300 acres at an estimated cost of $68 million, is expected to take seven to 10 years.


Carpenters from Hanson Construction of Wells work June 26 on the first of 22 seasonal homes being built at the Cape Arundel Cottage Preserve development off Route 1. Reservations for the first units will be taken beginning this week. (Duke Harrington photo) Carpenters from Hanson Construction of Wells work June 26 on the first of 22 seasonal homes being built at the Cape Arundel Cottage Preserve development off Route 1. Reservations for the first units will be taken beginning this week. (Duke Harrington photo) “If anyone wants to tour the site, we can do that by appointment,” White said. “We’re always willing to meet people and I’m generally able to get here within a half hour.”

The development was made possible by a special town meeting vote last July to authorize a tax increment financing (TIF) district and development program.

As part of the TIF deal, the town will retain 25 percent of the new property value generated by the seasonal cottage complex in its general fund. The remaining 75 percent of new taxable value will be split between the developer and the town, with 67 percent (up to an annual maximum of $10.1 million) returned to fund the cost of construction and 33 percent used by the town to address other infrastructure needs spurred by the growth spurt, such as police, roads and schools.

“What that does for the town is, it gives them income for 25 years that is sheltered, so it brings the percentage of taxes people have to pay downward,” said Joe Paolini of Framingham, Massachusetts, one of five developers. “And it also helps us develop the site. As you can see, if we’re not blasting ledge, we’re dealing with water. So, it gets very pricey to develop this site and the needed infrastructure.”

Paolini pegged those site costs at “close to $100,000 per unit” for the first 63 cottages.

“The initial two phases are very expensive,” he said. “That’s why we wanted the TIF. There’s a lot of money being invested up front to get the project going.”

Paolini said 67 acres are being set aside in a perma- nent easement, noting that walking trails to be built on the site will skirt vernal pools and other environmentally sensitive areas.

“There’s a lot of natural space, with a 100-foot buffer all around, that we’re not touching,” he said. “We’re just building within that natural space, which will become part of the background of the cottages, if you will. This is really a very beautiful area.”

Voters also recently extended the definition of what constitutes a seasonal cottage from a maximum of six months of residency to eight months. Buyers will be able to live in their cottages from May 1 to Dec. 31. “As we all know, the beauty of Maine and this area does not end at the end of October,” said White.

According to Rick Licht of Gray-based Licht Environmental Design, the development is to be built in five phases over seven years. The first phase would include cottages 1-11 and about $1.54 million in infrastructure costs, including water, sewer and streets. That would be followed by “Phase 1B,” or construction of cottages 12- 31 and the site’s community center. The second phase will then include cottages 32-63, bringing infrastructure costs to more than $5.5 million.

Paolini has been eyeing a project at the site for more than a decade.

“At first we were going to do an RV park. About 12 years ago we got approval for it, but in trying to get financing for it, just couldn’t do it,” he said. “The joint venture partners I found said, we’ll do a partnership with you, but we want to do cottages.”

What Licht and Paolini are working the site on a rolling 90-day performance guarantee, under which Paolini will replenish a fund on every 75th day with estimated construction costs for the next 90 days.

“It’s a very safe process, where there’s always money capitalizing the performance guarantee in a threemonth look out,” said Licht. “The reason for this is so the applicant does not have to put out an atrocious amount of money for a long-term project done in multiple phases.”

“We don’t want to tie up millions of dollars while we are doing some work, but not all of it,” Paolini said.

According to Paolini, the project has supported about 40 construction jobs so far.

Paolini said he is anxious to get the infrastructure built out as fast as possible, so that he can begin building and selling cottages.

“This is a really up-front heavy building project, so we’re really moving to get it done,” he said.

The cottages are expected to range in size from 850 to 1,350 square feet. They are selling during the preconstruction phase at $204,500, said White. Afterward, they are expected to “in the $220,000 to $240,000” range — competitive, White said, with the median price of a home in the area.

“The difference between us and home is that in the middle of Febru- ary, when you’re reading about those big storms, you have someone to call,” White said. “You don’t have to stay up at night and worry, and travel through it the next day to make sure it is safe and secure.”

Buyers will own their own cottage, plus 1/259th of the entire site, including the community center and all common lands. A $200 monthly association fee covers the property maintenance costs.

“We’ve had a very large interest, so far,” said White. “We’ve had people from as far away as Washington state interested in coming in.”

Tour the site

To tour the Cape Arundel Cottage Preserve, make an appointment with Kim White, sales and marketing director for the project, by emailing kim@capearundelcottages.com or calling 451-0218.

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