Bangor auto sales magnate buys mansion property on MDI

La Selva

La Selva may be gone, but Bar Harbor residents can expect that a new waterfront home will be constructed where the old mansion once stood.

The new owners of the Route 3 property are well-known members of the Bangor business community, and logic would suggest that they intend to build a new house to replace the one they had torn down just a couple of months ago.

According to records on file at the Hancock County Registry of Deeds and the official Bar Harbor online assessing database, John B. and Deborah A. Darling bought the two-acre lot in November for $1.78 million.

They are the same John and Debbie Darling of the Darling’s automotive dealerships in Bangor, Augusta and Ellsworth, which now are run by their son Jay Darling.

The neighbor of the Bar Harbor parcel, gun manufacturing heir William B. Ruger Jr., had a right of first refusal on La Selva property but chose not to exercise that right, according to records at the Hancock County deed registry. La Selva, which once housed the L’Acadie summer French language immersion school, had been owned by John E. Pelletier, a local hotelier who passed away in January 2013.

The Darlings, former Holden residents, have a home in Sarasota, Fla. that is listed in deed registry records as their official address. According to information posted at, the Darlings bought the 7,500 square-foot home on Higel Avenue in Sarasota in December 2010 for $2.75 million. They also appear to be former owners of another home on Point Crisp Road in Sarasota and current owners of two properties in Georgetown, Maine, that together comprise 33 acres and have a combined assessed value of $1.7 million.

Last summer the Bar Harbor property’s listing agent, Veena Gaines of Acadia Cornerstone Real Estate, said that the old La Selva mansion was in need of significant repairs but that she thought “someone with pretty deep pockets” would be able to pull it off.

The demolished “cottage” was one of several (including Mr. Ruger’s) that were featured in an article I wrote last fall about mansions on Mount Desert Island.

To view an interactive Google map I created that has locations and other info for 27 mansions on MDI, click here.

Bill Trotter

About Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors. He writes about fisheries, marine-related topics, eastern coastal Maine communities and more for the BDN. He lives in Ellsworth. Follow him on Twitter at @billtrotter.