Thursday, April 21, 2005

Land found for Higgins Beach cottages

Published in the Current

SCARBOROUGH (April 21, 2005): A real estate agent has found land for up to two Higgins Beach cottages of five a local developer donated for Habitat for Humanity.

The agent, Rita Yarnold of Bay Realty, declined to say where the land is or provide any other details, because the deal is not yet secure.

A Higgins Beach developer, who wishes to remain anonymous, has offered Habitat for Humanity five cottages on Kelly Lane, if the housing group can find land for them. The developer declined to comment for this story.

Yarnold, who is also president of the Portland Board of Realtors, has represented him in the sales of five large homes built along Kelly Lane in the past two years, and is representing him in the sale of a house now under construction on the road. She said she proposed the idea of donating houses to the developer in late 2004.

Yarnold said she would also likely represent any future development along the lane. The land on which the cottages sit, listed as about an acre in town records, is valued by the town at $240,000, and the buildings are valued at $180,000.

Until recently, vacationers rented the cottages for $1,000 a week, Yarnold said. They have wide-board flooring and cathedral ceilings, and were originally cottages on the ground. The present owner’s mother owned them previously and raised them onto tall foundations to add space, Yarnold said.

The Portland Board of Realtors has partnered with the local Habitat for Humanity group, to help Habitat find land on which to either build houses or move donated houses, according to Steve Bolton, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland.

“They are out searching for land like crazy as we speak,” he said.

The group usually needs to find three lots a year, so five is a big number, he said. It’s especially challenging because of the booming housing market.

“A lot of the lots we used to get, the ones the builders didn’t want, are now profitable for the builders,” Bolton said.