By MARIE HOWARD - DEXTER - Town officials and representatives of Dexter Shoe Co. have agreed to a purchase price of $159,000 for the shoe company's Water Street facility and the sale of the property should be consummated no later than March 17, 2003.
The signing took place last Wednesday, Sept. 18.
Dexter Shoe officials wanted to close the deal Jan. 17, 2003, but town officials balked and submitted a counter-proposal date of March 17, 2003. In addition to the town's concerns about allowing enough time to secure state grants to fund the sale, councilors were worried if there was enough time to conduct engineering and environmental tests on the property if they went with the January deadline.
At a council meeting Sept. 12, town officials also gave Dexter Shoe, which is owned by H.H. Brown Co. - a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. - until Sept. 23 to respond.
Dexter Town Manager Robert Simpson said he was notified last Wednesday that the town's terms were acceptable to the shoe company.
The town has already submitted what is called a pre-application with the Eastern Maine Development Corp. (EMDC) to secure a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant. Simpson said he is meeting this week with EMDC officials to review the specifics of the formal grant. Also on the table is a $100,000 Economic Development Administration grant to help fund renovation of the building and to conduct engineering and environmental studies.
After months of meetings, discussions, and frequent hand-wringing regarding the long-fought agreement, Simpson said he feels "It is a step in the right direction. We had to do something. We just couldn't sit back and do nothing."
The Water Street plant's assessed valuation is listed at $518,000 and contains 92,973 square feet of manufacturing space, 14,580 square feet of warehouse space and 9,175 square feet of office space. It sits on 4.5 acres of land, assessed at $53,000.
Plans call for the plant to be sub-divided into three separate operating units designed to meet the typical needs of a small-to-medium manufacturing or fabrication businesses.
Dexter Shoe still owns the McFarland Street plant, which was constructed in 1982 as a warehouse facility and contains 105,300 square feet. It's assessed at $1.2 million and sits on land assessed at $60,000.
Last October it was speculated that H. H. Brown Co., which owns several footwear firms, would use one of its three plants as a distribution center.
It is generally unknown by outsiders what plans Dexter Shoe Co. officials have for the Railroad Avenue facility. However, Simpson said Monday that the "building is in the hands of a private broker." But he noted he is unaware of any activity regarding the sale or lease of that building.
Three years ago Dexter Shoe announced it was closing its Milo plant and transferring the stitching jobs at the Milo factory to the company's other manufacturing facilities in Maine and the Caribbean.
In September, 2001 Dexter Shoe Co. announced it was closing its three plants in Dexter and that layoffs of about 500 workers, including 250 Dexter residents, would begin that following November.
The rest is history. Dexter Shoe closed its Railroad Avenue plant in December 2001, completing the company's move from several Maine towns to 100 percent off-shore shoe manufacturing.
Dexter Shoe Co., which was once identified with the name of Harold Alfond, is an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., a holding company owned by Warren Buffet. In 1993 Alfond, once chairman of Dexter Shoe Co. sold the shoe manufacturing company to Berkshire-Hathaway for a reported $419 million.
|Back to News||Home||Print This Story|