The former Ocean Wood Campground property is up for auction. Tranzon of Portland is auctioning off the more-than-113-acre property with 3,200 feet of ocean frontage. Bidding starts Sept. 15 and ends Sept. 22. PHOTO COURTESY OF TRANZON AUCTION

Birch Harbor campground back on the auction block

GOULDSBORO — The former Ocean Wood Campground, now known as Ocean Woods at Schoodic Point, is on the auction block. Again.

The property off East Schoodic Drive in the village of Birch Harbor is assessed at $2.39 million and includes 113 acres of land and 3,200 feet of ocean frontage.

The online auction will start at 10 a.m. on Sept. 15 and will close at 2 p.m. on Sept. 22.

“The reason we went with an online auction, after consultation with the seller, is that the interest is local, regional and national in nature,” said Mike Carey, senior vice president for sales for Portland-based Tranzon, LLC, which is handling the auction.

“We want to make it as convenient and effective as possible for people to be part of the process,” he said.

Lewiston developer Nick Bayley purchased the property at auction in 2009 when the former owner, Jim Brunton, defaulted on a more-than-$7-million note that Bayley held on the property.

The land at the time Brunton owned it was home to a popular 70-site campground with some oceanfront sites.

Bayley then sold 20 acres to Mitch and Janet Rousseau of Brunswick.

The Rousseaus, who were not immediately available for comment, said at the time they were interested in building an 80-to-100-room eco lodge on the property they owned along Birch Harbor.

The remaining acreage was owned by Androscoggin Savings Bank.

The Trust for Public Land signed a multiyear option with the bank in hopes of raising funds to purchase the land and conserve it for public use.

Wolfe Tone, Maine state director for the Trust for Public Land, said the group was unable to raise the needed funds.

“We were disappointed we couldn’t pull it together,” Tone said.

The current owner of the 113 acres is listed as AB Holding Co., LLC, of Lewiston.

At the time that Bayley owned the property it included 150 acres and a building that had once housed a restaurant.

Some property and parcels have been sold since that time. The auction does not include the former restaurant.

Carey said the bidding will be very similar to the way bidding is conducted on eBay, where viewers go online to bid and can follow the bids in virtual real time.

“We are currently in the active marketing phase of the property, doing a variety of tours and phone calls,” he said. “The property is generating interest throughout the country.”

Carey said interested parties have expressed a variety of possible uses for the oceanfront land — which is among the most scenic on the Schoodic Peninsula.

Ideas have ranged from using it as a large family estate, to conserving the land for the public’s use, to establishing another campground.

“Obviously folks are also communicating with the town to make sure what they have in mind would comply with zoning and other regulations for the town of Gouldsboro,” Carey said.

The National Park Service this year opened the 94-site Schoodic Woods Campground on land abutting its Acadia National Park on the Schoodic Peninsula.

The campground is one to two miles from Ocean Woods.

Then-Acadia National Park Superintendent Sheridan Steele said camping was needed to fill in the gaps when Oceanwood closed.

Steele said the hope was that opening a campground would help visitors extend their stay and generate business for the local economy.

The park service has said the campground has been virtually booked from the time it was first listed on the National Park Service website.

Carey, of Tranzon, said the $40-million creation of the new campground along with several new biking and hiking trails has enhanced a longstanding affinity for what is known as the “quiet side” of Acadia.

“There have always been people looking to get out of the hustle and bustle of Bar Harbor,” he said. “I do think the money that has been put into that parcel has really revived people’s ideas that it is a special place. It simply has reinforced, as much as anything, the beauty of that peninsula.”

The Schoodic Woods Campground was funded by a family foundation that chooses to remain anonymous.

Carey said AB Holding, the current owner of Ocean Woods, is analyzing the property to determine its market value.

“They are very interested to find out what the buying population feels their market value is for this property,” he said.

For more information, call Tranzon at 775-4300.

Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]
Jacqueline Weaver

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