Here's the catch.👷
You wake up on a cool, autumn morning. The salty sea air pours in through the open window you forgot to close. You walk down your old creaking staircase, make some coffee and stroll to the rocky beach down the street to watch the sun rise over the Canadian shore on the other side of the bay. You're in Calais, Maine, looking toward Bayside, New Brunswick. You live in the McGlashan-Nickerson House, a historic seaside home constructed circa 1883 that now finds itself on U.S. National Park Service property.
For the ambitious home renovator, this scenario could be a reality. The National Park Service (USNPS) is looking for the home's next tenant and offering a tantalizing deal: rent discounts in exchange for work done on the property. A USNPS spokesperson confirmed to MTL Blog that applicants do not need to be U.S. residents.
Front exterior view of the McGlashan-Nickerson House.United States National Park Service
Here's how the discount works: the USNPS will set a market-rate rent for the massive six-bedroom, 5,400-square-foot house. The rehabilitation and preservation of the house will be a condition of the lease but the USNPS will deduct the cost of qualifying work on the property from the monthly payment.
McGlashan-Nickerson House kitchen.United States National Park Service
The spokesperson told MTL Blog there is no limit to these rent offsets. So it's possible that a tenant could pay nothing in rent in a given month if they spend enough on the house. Lessees are still responsible for insurance and taxes, however. Though they could be eligible for tax credits for their restoration work.
McGlashan-Nickerson House second floor main landing.United States National Park Service
McGlashan-Nickerson House bedroom.United States National Park Service
The National Park Service has compiled a long list of necessary repairs to the McGlashan-Nickerson House, potentially totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the lease can extend up to 60 years, giving tenants a lifetime to complete work — and, potentially, a lifetime of rent offsets.
McGlashan-Nickerson House first floor plan.United States National Park Service
Using the enormous residence as a private home is just one option. The USNPS says it will consider "all proposals," including commercial uses. Maine Preservation, an organization dedicated to preserving historic buildings and neighbourhoods, suggests transformations into a non-profit headquarters, bed and breakfast or "winter sports getaway" are all possibilities.
McGlashan-Nickerson House second floor plan.United States National Park Service
The National Park Service is accepting applications until the end of 2022. More details about the house, the conditions of the lease and the application process are available online.