GROTON -- Following months of struggles, the Groton Exchange was sold at auction on Aug. 10.
Energy North Group, based in Lawrence, purchased the site for an unknown price.
Several months ago, Shell Oil Company halted shipments of gas to the station, at 318 Main St. at the Champney Road junction. For months, a sign on the gas pumps read, "No fuel for sale at this time. We are currently negotiating a new fuel supply contract."
A new sign has appeared on the front door of the store: "We are closed."
Repeated attempts to reach principal owner Paul Palmer for comment were not successful.
Palmer & PGI Realty LLC had owned the half-acre property and its 6,000-square-foot, two-story building since 2008, according to town records. It is valued, according to assessor records, at more than $1 million and includes a canopied fueling station and paved lot.
The company has applied for a special permit with the Zoning Board of Appeals. The permit is not transferrable and expired upon change of ownership. While that application is pending, minor alterations can be made to the property.
The new owners have not yet applied for a construction permit through the town building department and likely will not until the ZBA application is approved.
The Groton Exchange owed the town $47,000 in back taxes for the fiscal years 2017 and 2018, Treasurer/Tax Collector Michael Hartnett said.
Hartnett said the town is protected by a lien, and that the transfer of ownership cannot be completed unless the town is repaid.
Palmer and PGI were sued in March 2017 by John M. McAuliffe & Associates, P.C., in a lawsuit alleging Palmer did not pay more than $100,000 in legal fees.
McAuliffe & Associates, a Newton-based law firm, provided legal work to dispute the claims brought to Groton Exchange by SEI, aka Shell Fuel Services, and its area distributor, Mutual Oil Company, according to the claim, dated March 31, 2017. The case is still active in Middlesex Superior Court.
Energy North Group, based in Lawrence, owns and/or operates gas stations, convenience stores and car washes in New England and New York, including under the Haffner's brand.
Among Energy North Group operations in the Nashoba Valley are Citgo stations in Littleton, Pepperell and Townsend, and a Mobil station in Littleton.
It is unclear how much Energy North paid for the property. Alterations to the interior and exterior have begun.