June 26, 2018

Former Augusta church to be converted to apartments

Plans are in the works, pending rezoning and permits, to redevelop the former St. Mark's Episcopal Church and parish house on Summer Street in Augusta into apartments and a community gathering space.

The Kennebec Journal reported the Gothic revival church — built in 1884, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and vacant since 2014 — was purchased about a month ago by Adam F. Turner, who has experience turning distressed properties into residential rental properties.

Turner told the newspaper that he plans to do most of the renovation himself to convert the church's former parish hall into apartments, its rectory into residential housing or possibly a bed-and-breakfast, and the stone church into a community space.

St. Mark's was sold due to a shrinking congregation, Connie MacDonald, former senior warden for St. Mark's, told the newspaper.

New uses for old churches

The repurposing of former churches is a booming trend. The former Clark Memorial United Methodist Church, at 3 Pleasant Ave. in Portland, a historic building designed by John Calvin Stevens, was converted in recent years by Hardypond Construction of Portland into a multi-family structure with 25 apartments and in February sold to an out-of-town buyer for $4.3 million.

A historic building at 142 Free St. in Portland, originally constructed as a theater in 1830 became the Free Street Baptist Church six years later. For the past 25 years it was occupied by the Children's Museum of Maine, which recently put the property on the market.

In January, the Bangor Daily News reported that an Orono couple transformed the former St. Mary's Catholic Church, built in 1905 in downtown Orono, into Old St. Mary's Reception Hall, a venue that includes space for musical and theatrical performances.

Another church, though, is due for demolition. Earlier this month, the Portland Press Herald reported that the former St. John Evangelical Church, at 611 Main St. in South Portland, will be razed to make way for a 42-unit apartment buildingto be developed by the South Portland Housing Authority.


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