Kittery’s Wyman Rooming House can be replaced with three condos


KITTERY, Maine – Neighbors to the male-only Wyman Rooming House have been informed of a proposal to demolish the aging residence and replace it with three detached single-family condos.

However, Jim Higgins, whose name is on the proposal and whose spouse co-owns the property, said the decision to demolish the residence has not yet been finalized. In fact, even if the city approves the condominium project, the owners might ultimately choose to leave it as it is but sell for the next few years, he said.

“Right now we’re going through this process to see what options we have on the property,” said Higgins. He designed the proposed houses and said that his husband owns the property with his family.

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The owners on the city registers are listed only as Lusitano LLC, based in Eliot. Altus Engineering in Portsmouth sent notices to 32 adjacent property owners about the proposal on December 20, followed by a preliminary request for a review of the site plan to the city two days later.

Altus Vice President Erik Saari wrote in his preliminary application to review the site plan: “The property currently houses a residential building that is used as a guest house and consists mainly of open lawn, with the exception of a small wooded wetland on the northern edge. The application provides for the construction of three single-family houses with appropriate site improvements. “

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Higgins, a retired architect, said the proposed homes would all be the same floor plan, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a single garage, and laundry rooms.

“We’re just trying to figure out what our options are, so this idea of ​​building three separate houses is just one option,” he said.

Ownership of the 192-year-old guest house, last valued at $ 264,400 by the city, changed in June 2017 when Lusitano LLC purchased the property from the family of Harry Hannigan, who died in 2015 and who previously ran the Wyman Rooming House . The sales price of the building and land was $ 260,000.

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Hannigan had already taken possession of the property free of charge in 1986. The two-story, 2,565 square meter building has eight bedrooms and two bathrooms, according to city records.

A sign in front of the guest house says it has been providing male accommodation since 1909. There are currently four male tenants calling the Wyman Rooming House home. Higgins said the owners have not increased the rental price for residents since it took over nearly five years ago.

He said the family have not taken on new tenants for the older boarding house since the change of ownership.

Higgins said that for years, even with the previous owners, tenants have been mostly Portsmouth Naval Shipyard employees, some of whom live elsewhere but have opted for a shorter commute by taking the property at 28 Wyman Ave. have rented.

Higgins declined to provide current rental rates at the Wyman Rooming House, but said the weekly cost was less costly than other local accommodations.

A proposal has been submitted to the city of Kittery to demolish the longstanding Wyman Rooming House and build three detached single-family homes.

Higgins said he and his husband are away from the area several months a year for family reasons, so selling the property seems the most likely course of action. “The building is in a state where there is no point pumping money into a building that is at the end of its life as a boarding house,” said Higgins.

According to the preliminary site plan submitted to the Kittery Planning Board, the “single phase” project, consisting of the construction of the three units and a shared driveway, would cover 0.8 hectares of the property.

“It’s an interesting property,” said Higgins of the 1.7 acre property. “It has a story.”

Notices to residents of the Wyman Rooming House, all of whom live on Wyman Avenue and Tilton Avenue, assured them that no action is required on their part as a result of the proposal.

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