City finalizes purchase of 3 parcels on Main Street in West Lebanon

By PATRICK ADRIAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 06-02-2023 6:37 PM

WEST LEBANON — After acquiring three commercial properties on Main Street, the city will continue leasing to the existing business owners until decisions are made for the land’s future use.

On Wednesday city officials closed on the purchase of 14, 28 and 30 Main St. from real estate firm Chiplin Enterprises for $1.75 million.

Tanya Murphy, owner of Vintage Home Center, a furniture reseller at 14 Main St., said she learned of the final sale from a notice posted on her door on Friday.

The city notice had few details and mainly informed her where to pay rent online and that the lot’s parking spaces are only for tenant use, Murphy told the Valley News.

“There was nothing in it so far as a lease agreement,” said Murphy, whose current lease is set to expire at the end of August. “I will need to know something soon.”

One of the city’s new tenants, the Lebanon Sewing & Vacuum Center at 28 Main St., has been in business for decades.

Until decisions are made, the buildings will continue to be leased to the existing businesses under existing terms, according to Assistant City Manager David Brooks.

It could be years before the city repurposes the parcels, which total just over 1 acre. A series of community forums are planned to gather input about how to best utilize the land, though dates have not been set.

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While municipal officials have advocated strongly for using the spot to build a fire station, the City Council plans to consider a range of possibilities, including other municipal uses or a public-private redevelopment project.

In the meantime, the City Council is developing a plan to fund maintenance of the properties. On Wednesday, members will consider a proposal to create a special fund specifically to maintain the newly acquired properties. The revolving fund would use the revenue accrued from rents to cover upkeep expenses.

The proposed fund would also cover the costs to maintain 226 Mascoma St., a residential property next to Sacred Heart Cemetery. The city purchased the home and lot in early 2022 to allow for the cemetery’s future expansion. However, the expansion may not occur for several years, according to a city document.

The property is currently leased to the previous owner. When that lease expires next January, the city is considering partnering with a nonprofit organization to allow the property to be used for transitional housing for families experiencing homelessness.

A public hearing for the proposed maintenance fund is scheduled for Wednesday at City Hall.

Patrick Adrian may be reached at padrian@vnews.com or at 603-727-3216.