Edgecomb

Casella buys Davis Island Grill

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Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 11:45am
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Developer Tony Casella listens as an auctioneer continues seeking bids on the Davis Island Grill on November 21. He was the eventual high bidder and successful negotiator afterward with the seller, the Bank of Maine. SUSAN JOHNS/Wiscasset Newspaper

The Davis Island Grill’s next incarnation will be as a function center and part-time restaurant, developer Tony Casella said.

He bought the well-known Edgecomb restaurant from the Bank of Maine following an auction November 21. He said he’ll be paying  $325,000, including a required $25,000 buyer’s premium.

Casella’s high bid at the auction held at the restaurant was $225,000, not counting the premium; that did not meet the bank’s undisclosed, reserve bid, auctioneer Stefan Keenan of Keenan Auction Company said. There were no more bids after Keenan announced the bank reserved the right to negotiate with the high bidder.

Minutes later, Casella confirmed the deal had been agreed upon, at the negotiated, higher amount.

The second highest bidder was Boothbay’s Harold Warren.

Casella expects to operate the property as a restaurant a couple nights a week and the rest of the time run it as a function center for everything from birthdays to corporate events and bridal breakfasts, but not for wedding ceremonies, he said.

Casella does business with other businesses that put on weddings. He doesn’t want to compete with them, he said.

“I want to make it Midcoast Maine’s premiere function center,” Casella said in an interview.

Getting the building how he wants it, including cutting the kitchen space in half and fixing things like leaky windows, will cost him about another $200,000, he said.

Also at the auction, the bank sold two condominiums attached to the restaurant. They went for $125,000 each. Winning bidder Tim Gadbois of Scarborough said he was there representing his father, George Gadbois. The elder Gadbois owns about 30 rental properties from South Portland to Old Orchard Beach, and Aruba, Tim Gadbois said.

Gadbois only had to bid on one of the condos. As the high bidder on the first, he took up the bank’s offer to buy the second one at the same price.

“I don’t care; it’s my father’s money,” he said, drawing laughter from around the room.

He got additional laughs when he said, “You guys don’t mind junk cars, right?”

About 20 people, including prospective bidders, members of the Sheepscot Harbour Village & Resort Condominium Association, and other Edgecomb residents turned out for Thursday’s auction.

“Welcome to the association,” said one woman, who declined to give her name.

The new owners of both the restaurant and the condos have to join the association, Keenan said. That presents an issue that Casella said may have made some people wary about bidding: An association member is suing the group.

In a complaint filed in September in Lincoln County Superior Court in Wiscasset, Kathleen Clark of Ocean City, Maryland claims actions by the association have dropped her three properties’ values and their rental income.

Casella said he wasn’t concerned about the lawsuit; it’s frivolous, he said.

Keenan informed prospective bidders about the civil suit as they registered for the auction.

Casella’s buy of the restaurant is his latest move in the Route 1-Eddy Road neighborhood. He already has a rental center there for 40 condominiums he rents out for their owners; and has the business plaza that currently houses karate and physical therapy businesses.

Casella still hopes to build a hotel on the same lot as the plaza and rental office. There has been little public movement on that since May, when the Edgecomb Planning Board issued a list of items it needed before it would consider Casella’s application.