BAR HARBOR — College of the Atlantic has bought several residential properties with a total of 31 bedrooms near downtown Bar Harbor that have been rented to COA students for many years.
The purchase includes six residential units on four contiguous lots on Norris Avenue and one at the corner of Norris and Glen Mary Road, as well as four units known as the Summertime Cottages at 1 Bloomfield Road.
COA President Darron Collins said that, while the purchases do not increase the amount of housing available to students, they do secure housing for nearly 40 students into the future.
“With the increasing housing crunch in Bar Harbor and the difficulty our students face trying to find rentals, this was an opportunity we felt we could not pass up,” Collins said.
Students have traditionally rented at all the properties, but they have often had to wait until mid-September to move in because the properties were rented short-term during the summer. With COA ownership, students can move in before the school year starts and stay through the end.
All the properties were purchased from LLCs (limited liability companies).
The properties on Norris Avenue and Glen Mary Road were purchased for a total of just under $2.6 million. They are assessed for tax purposes at nearly $1.8 million. The purchase price for the Bloomfield Road property was $1.6 million. It is assessed at $744,800.
All the properties will remain on the Bar Harbor tax rolls.
COA houses nearly half of its roughly 350 students on campus and has traditionally preferred having second- and third-year students live elsewhere in the community. However, changes to the housing market in recent years have made that impracticable, Collins said.
The college is having plans drawn up for construction of an on-campus residence hall for nearly 50 students. Two years ago, it purchased six condo units near the campus for student housing. And it recently broke ground for a building on Main Street in Northeast Harbor that will include year-round housing for 15 students.