Old Fair Point Building To Be Demolished This Week

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By Marla Hoffman

Fair Point Communications this week confirmed that they have contracted to have the old portion of its building on Church Street demolished.

The announcement comes after concerns about the safety of the building were brought to light. Among other problems, the building is not structurally sound, there is mold and asbestos and the roof is not stable, according to Jeff Nevins, of Fair Point.

“The more we looked at it, the more concern we had with the overall integrity of the building,” said Nevins. “Our plan [includes] going ahead with demo on Wednesday.”

The building that will be torn down is directly attached to the newer portion of the building, which is still being used by Fair Point and houses its communications center for the area. There was a common door that connected the two parts of the building, but it was bricked up to avoid people entering the unsafe portion, said Nevins. 

“The integrity of the wall that abuts our building is at risk,” Nevins said. “It’s buckled at the bottom. The central office is our key switching spot, where all the traffic in that area comes to. It’s the hub of our system, therefore security is a very important issue.”

Fair Point had recently been facing pressure from the Calais in Motion Beautification and Restoration Committee, which had been asking for more time to find a buyer for the building in hopes it could be restored. 

Nevins said that no viable options were presented and that the company did not want to wait any longer. 

“It’s not something that we can ignore and hope for the best,” he said. “That’s not something we can do because of the importance of our building.”

One of the complaints from members of Calais in Motion was that Fair Point originally said they were willing to work with the community to try to restore the building, but then rescinded.

“The building has been in this situation a long time,” Nevins said. “We were willing to listen to people, but we got to the point where the safety involved has taken precedent. The options were eliminated as we looked at the building and we learned there was more wrong with it than we thought. A year ago people looked at it and no one did anything. Now we’re in the eleventh hour and no one has come forward with anything specific at this point. We’re going to have to take action.”

Nevins said that Fair Point does not yet have any specific plans for the space after demolition. 

The Calais in Motion committee, which had been trying to find a buyer, expressed disappointment this week that Fair Point was not allowing more time for them to find a way to save the historic building. 

“The CIM Beautification and Restoration Committee and the CDRC are very disappointed that something could not be done to save the historic Fairpoint building,” said Herm Gadway, of CIM. “Its destruction will be a detriment to the Calais Downtown Historic District. We appreciate all of those who helped us attempt to save this building.  We will be working in the future to prevent the demolition of other significant historic buildings in Calais.”