MOUNT DESERT — The new building on Old Firehouse Lane in Northeast Harbor that will house the offices of the Maine Seacoast Mission and Mount Desert 365, as well as two residential apartments, is almost finished.
“We’re hoping to complete it in September and to move in in late September or early October,” said Kathy Miller, executive director of MD365, the nonprofit organization working to boost economic development and affordable housing.
The original target date for completion of the two-story building that overlooks the harbor was July 15.
“The coronavirus delayed some of the construction,” Miller said. “Earlier in the year, some of the crews were short; they didn’t have enough people.
“The contractor, E.L. Shea, who has been great, made accommodations to try to limit exposure to the virus [among] different teams, different subcontractors. So, that caused a little delay.”
Miller said the delivery of some materials and furnishings also was delayed.
“For instance, we had to change the cabinets we were going to buy for the kitchen,” she said. “They couldn’t tell us when our original choice would be delivered because of all the coronavirus delays, so we had to come up with a whole new line of cabinets.”
Aside from the virus-related delays, Miller said construction has gone smoothly.
“As the building has continued to take shape, we think it looks great. It is all white cedar, a combination of shingles and clapboard.
“Once we and the Seacoast Mission are settled in but before we have tenants in the apartments, we would like to have some kind of modified open house.”
Apartments for rent
MD365 is now accepting rental applications for the two walk-up apartments on the second floor of the new building. The deadline for submitting applications is Sept. 18.
Each apartment is 900 square feet, with two bedrooms and one bath. Rent is $1,250 a month.
“The rent is not rock-bottom for everybody, but it is affordable for many middle-income families,” Miller said, adding that the monthly rent should not exceed 30 percent of the tenant’s gross income.
The MD365 promotional material states that “to ensure that the units expand Northeast Harbor’s inventory of affordable, year-round rental housing and increase the local population, a set of eligibility criteria will be used to review applications.”
Tenants must agree to live in their apartment year-round, and they must meet state guidelines for median household income.
Priority will be given to applicants “whose jobs address essential needs of the community, such as public safety or public service,” according to the eligibility criteria.
“An ideal tenant would be a young family with two working adults and two little kids,” Miller said.
The MD365 office is currently on Main Street in Northeast Harbor. The Maine Seacoast Mission headquarters is on West Street in Bar Harbor. The Mission sold that property to the Bar Harbor Historical Society in late 2018. The Mission has been renting space in the building, known as La Rochelle, until the new building in Northeast Harbor is ready for occupancy.