The new owner, who is still on cloud nine after his successful purchase of Lubec Channel Lighthouse in Maine, is Gary Zaremba, 50, of New York. Gary, who has always wanted to own a lighthouse, is the president of Artisan Restoration Group, New York City, NY, which is in the business of preserving and restoring architecturally significant buildings. Lighthouse News was privileged to chat with Gary today, and learned that the Lighthouse Community has an ardent supporter in him. His expertise in building preservation is obvious by looking at the journals and guides he’s written (available at his company’s site). From his website’s Corporate Biographies:
Mr. Zaremba has over 15 years of executive level experience in the construction field. He has managed all phases of building projects throughout the Northeast. As a seasoned professional, Mr. Zaremba has diagnosed waterproofing and structural problems at thousands of buildings.
Mr. Zaremba is a graduate of Emerson College and is a Masterâ€™s Candidate at Brooklyn College. In addition, he has several real estate holdings, which enables him to better understand the ownerâ€™s side of building maintenance. Mr. Zaremba is a frequent lecturer on construction issues, a regular contributor to various industry journals and is an active member of several trade groups. In addition, Mr. Zaremba was part of the LL 11 Building Department Task Force charged with writing Local Law.
Gary was an unsuccessful bidder for Delaware’s Fourteen Foot Bank Lighthouse, which he felt was more interesting architecturally, but also thought, like most of us did, that the price went too high (it ultimately sold for $200,000). At that point, he was in contact with the American Lighthouse Foundation (he’s recently joined) and the director told him to “keep his hands off the keyboard, don’t bid too high.”
Gary wasn’t able to get to the sight inspection for Lubec, so his purchase was made based on the photos. He does have plans for a trip to Maine to see what he bought, and does have family in Friendship, ME. He indicated he had never been aware until a few months ago that the government was selling off lighthouses, and that’s when he made the decision to try and get one. What does his family think of the idea? “They think I’m a little bit crazy,” he said.
About future plans for the lighthouse? Gary’s first reply was, “an offshore gaming casino!” “Nada,” I said, “it won’t happen in Maine, where even the Passamaquoddy tribe can’t get a casino.” Of course, it was meant as a joke.
The actual plans reveal that Gary will be more than up to the job ahead of him. Besides making it habitable again, he’s also planning on offering it as a weekend getaway for people that want to stay in a lighthouse, along with involving the local community in his plans, such as offering it to non-profit or local groups as a prize in their fundraising efforts. Other plans involve marketing it in a way to broaden interest in lighthouse preservation. Another thought he has is offering it for school use, either as a science project, or history classes. “There are so many ways to add value to this light, and I’m just getting started,” he said.
Gary certainly has the credentials to preserve this historic beacon. The contacts he has in his primary business will definitely help, and he will also be looking for local contractors with expertise in lighthouse restoration. He’s already in talks with his business contractors about possibly starting work in 2008, and is putting out feelers to other local preservationist groups. Living on Long Island, he’s also contacted the East End Lighthouses Group, and is hoping to get involved with groups in Maine.
While it’s sad that the government is forced to sell these offshore lights because non-profit groups can’t afford to take them on, it’s refreshing when someone like Gary is able to purchase one of these beacons and has such wonderful plans for it. “I’m looking for ways to serve others with this lighthouse.”
Congratulations to Gary, a very delightful modern lighthouse keeper, on your new acquisition, and we hope to be working with you in your efforts.