Rosemont is a neighborhood of quiet streets lined with the well manicured lawns of stately homes, a high number of which are occupied by current or former Portland City Councilors. Capisic Street, one of the neighborhood’s main drags, is no exception. But 99 Capisic is.
This crumbling beauty may regain her glory one day — that being the day owner Vincent Devlin finishes the renovations he’s been working on for the past 10 years. Sadly, that day is not coming soon.
For one thing, Devlin lives in Ft. Lauderdale. For another, he’s a merchant marine who spends months at a stretch at sea, further limiting the time he can spend on this project.
Then there was the burglary. Thieves broke in last summer and ransacked the freshly renovated interior, stealing all the new plumbing and more. “They took all my tools,” Devlin said by phone from Florida. “If you know anybody up there [who might have been involved in the crime], let me know.”
Word of the burglary reached Devlin via relatives who still live in Maine. He said the Portland Police Department was less than helpful. “They wouldn’t do anything because the owner wasn’t present,” Devlin said. “That’s Portland’s finest for you.”
In addition to that setback, Devlin said renovation work was delayed when he went through a divorce several years ago. Regardless, he said he still plans to finish the job and rent out the property, as he did from the mid-1970s until the middle of last decade.
Former City Councilor and Mayor Nathan Smith, a Capisic Street resident, looks forward to that day. The property has “always intrigued me,” said Smith, a real estate attorney by trade. “There would be a spectacular view from the hill up there.”
We have another update on the abandoned house at the corner of Pine and Brackett streets, profiled in the Winter ’07 issue of The Bollard.
Owner Merle Clarke recently went to City Hall seeking a property tax abatement for the land and building. That’s when officials discovered Clarke hasn’t been paying any taxes on the property since he bought it in 2006. The city has a lien on the property and “could possibly foreclose,” said City Councilor Dave Marshall, whose front windows offer scenic views of this dump. The tax bill totals nearly $13,000, plus interest, he said.
Clarke has spent a good chunk of the past two years trying to get the city’s permission to tear down the sagging structure, which apparently has some historic value. As we reported in August, he’s also put the property up for sale: $200,000 for the building and adjacent parking lot.
Clarke takes responsibility for his oversight, and plans to settle up. “I was so intent on tearing it down, I forgot about the taxes,” he said. Meanwhile, the property is still on the market. If and when Clarke gets a demo permit, he said he plans to bulldoze the building to create more parking. Given the condition the old house is in, that would almost certainly increase the property’s overall value.
— Patrick Banks