UMaine trustees launch initiative to create $150M graduate center

October 26, 2016 in News

Author: JAMES MCCARTHY
Publication: Mainebiz

UMaine trustees launch initiative to create $150M graduate center

The University of Maine System's trustees in a special meeting on Sunday unanimously approved the first phase of a $15 million fund-raising effort for an ambitious $150 million plan to create a new graduate center for business, law and public policy in Portland.

The resolution approved by the trustees doesn't fully commit the University of Maine System to the $150 million capital investment that would be required to fulfill the business plan for the proposed Maine Center, which calls for a new $93.6 million building and a $45 million endowment. At this point, it simply authorizes UMaine Chancellor James Page to seek additional funding from private foundations and other funding sources, including the Harold Alfond Foundation, which contributed more than $2 million to the planning process that led to the development of the business plan.

"The Maine Center plan is aspirational, exemplifying our 'One University' commitment to move our state forward with innovative programing and stronger engagement with Maine's business, legal and community leaders," Page said in a statement announcing the initiative.

Maine Center CEO Eliot Cutler, an unsuccessful Independent candidate in Maine's 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial races and a founding partner of the environmental law firm Cutler & Stanfield LLP, led the 18-month assessment of UMaine's graduate programs that culminated in the graduate center's business plan. That effort included the establishment of a 100-member advisory board, discussions with faculty and more than 400 meetings in town halls, board rooms, law offices, judicial buildings and college campuses.

"The willingness of so many people inside and outside the university to engage with us shows how necessary everyone recognizes these changes and reforms are for the rebirth and growth of Maine's economy," Cutler said in a statement. "By breaking down the walls and silos in graduate programs that already are vanishing from the real world of work, the Maine Center will breed the kinds of collaborative, relationship-building, analytic and communications skills that are increasingly valued by Maine and national employers."

Why now?

The proposed Maine Center will bring under one roof in Portland the UMaine system's single, merged MBA program, the Maine Law School and the Muskie School of Public Service with its graduate programs in public health and public policy and management. It also calls for a conference center and an incubator/accelerator and would house the Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy.

The business plan explicitly states that the initiative is in response to the needs of Maine businesses for workers with higher-level skills: "Increasing numbers of jobs in the new economy require a higher level of educational attainment, and the levels of bachelor, graduate and professional degree attainment in Maine are substantially below the national median."

"In this time of global connectivity and competition the professional education provided by our public universities must be irrevocably linked to the firms, businesses and organizations that are creating opportunity across our state and building our economy," Sam Collins, chairman of the UMaine System board of trustees, said in a statement.

The business plan also seeks to turn around recent trends of declining enrollments among all the graduate programs in the UMaine System, in part due to increased in-state competition: "The growth rates for MBA degrees conferred by Husson University, Thomas College and the UMaine System institutions for the period 2002 to 2014 illustrate a considerable loss of market share for the University of Maine and University of Southern Maine," the business plan states.

Next steps

Stage 1 of the plan will begin in January 2017 and will carry a timeline of two to three years to meet fund-raising milestones. It also calls for the UMaine and USM MBA programs to be integrated by the fall of 2017; the establishment of the Maine Center Ventures; and development of new programs designed to meet the business plan's objectives. The UMaine universities will also continue to support the business, public policy and legal professional graduate programs at current funding levels of approximately $3.2 million annually.

Once Stage 1 benchmarks have been met, Stage 2 envisions consulting with foundation partners, Maine's professional community, the universities and the UMaine board to make sure the financial support and essential programs are in place to proceed with building a new $93.6 million Maine Center facility in Portland.

If all goes according to the business plan's timetable, the Maine Center building would open in 2021. It is expected to achieve a 600-student enrollment in its graduate programs by 2024.

"The center will host a score of executive education and certificate programs and will be financially self-supporting," the business plan states. "By the middle of the following decade [i.e. 2035], the $150 million capital investment in the center will be returning billions of dollars in direct and indirect benefits to Maine communities."


MRRA welcomes public to picnic

August 29, 2016 in News

Author: DOUGLAS MCINTIRE
Publication: The Times Record

BRUNSWICK

The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority held its annual open house and picnic Wednesday night, providing the public a chance to talk with MRRA officials and get to know a little more about the base redevelopment.

The event drew members of the public and tenants as well as town officials, offering them a chance to speak with MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque and take a guided tour via Maine Bus Rentals.

The event was catered by New Beet Market, with owner Nate Wildes touting the many Maine-made and in-house creations.

Maine-made red hot dogs, Maine-grown corn on the cob, black bean burgers and pulled pork sandwiches with Maine-grown pork were served along with an array of salad sides. Even the buns used were locally baked, according to Wildes.

“The exciting thing about (Brunswick) Landing is everybody’s growing together,” Wildes said. “The Landing is doing a good job of working together and grow.”

 MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque talks with Town Council Chairwoman Sarah Brayman at the annual MRRA open house and picnic.  DOUGLAS MCINTIRE / THE TIMES RECORD MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque talks with Town Council Chairwoman Sarah Brayman at the annual MRRA open house and picnic. DOUGLAS MCINTIRE / THE TIMES RECORD Wildes said Brunswick Landing has become a very “complementary community” where everyone is working in each other’s best interest by branding and marketing the area as “a cool place to come.”

“Every day we get people in the restaurant who say, ‘I haven’t been out here since it was an active Navy base — I can’t believe how much has changed,’” Wildes said.

 

Douglas Cardente is one of the developers at Brunswick Landing. He purchased the American Bureau of Shipping building on Leavitt Drive. The property was once part of the Navy Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape school program.

“It’s a new building and I think one of the best ones out here,” Cardente said.

Besides ABS, Cardente said Harpswell Coastal Academy is moving in from its former location in the same building as Seeds of Independence. Cardente said that since the building was formerly used for educational purposes, it’s a natural fit for HCA.

Cardente said that with his purchase, there came an additional 12 acres that he may develop down the road into office buildings.

“(Levesque) has been a great promoter of this area and even tonight, he just wants to make sure that every base is covered in terms of letting everyone know what’s here and what’s available,” Cardente said.

Levesque said the event has drawn in mostly members of the community, curious about MRRA and how the former base is being developed.

“It’s really just to open the place up to the community and let them know what’s going on — a lot of people don’t know,” Levesque said.

To get word out, Levesque said they sent out mass mailings and put notices in the newspapers.

Levesque said it gives MRRA a chance to dispel misinformation that people might hear. One story Levesque tries to set straight is the misconception that the town isn’t receiving property taxes from the former base. The home page of the MRRA website notes more than $2.5 million in taxes paid to the town.

Brunswick Downtown Association Director Deb King was also present at the event. King said that besides MRRA, there are many businesses at Brunswick Landing who are part of the association.

“We are really excited about the growth out here,” King said.

King said the BDA has a definite interest outside of the immediate downtown area and will continue reaching out to tenants as they arrive, such as Wayfair.

“I’m absolutely thrilled with the efforts of MRRA and the accomplishments — as everyone knows, they’ve far surpassed the expectations at an award winning pace,” King said — something that bodes well for the entire community.


Duffy's makes long-term commitment to Old Orchard Beach

August 2, 2016 in News

Author: Laurie Schireiber
Publication: Mainebiz

OLD ORCHARD BEACH — Duffy's Tavern and Grill of Kennebunk paid $1.7 million for a site it had been leasing in Old Orchard Beach.


The deal gives Duffy's a second location and visibility on a road that is populated by numerous campgrounds and is also the road most visitors use as they exit Interstate 295 to go into Old Orchard Beach. Duffy's offers American comfort food and pub fare.

Located at 168 Saco Ave., the 5.2-acre property also includes a 1,904-square-foot, two-unit apartment building and a 2,552-square-foot, single-family home. The transaction, which closed July 20, was brokered by Mark Sandler of Cardente Real Estate, who represented the sellers, brothers Michael and Gregory Mezoian.

David "Duffy" Cluff, representing himself, paid $1.7 million for the property.

The Duffy's in Old Orchard Beach had operated under a lease arrangement since June 15, 2015. Cluff signed a purchase and sale agreement with the Mezoians in May 2015, then worked on nailing down a financing package.

"We did a lease with the owner so we could get it up and running while we were waiting for the financing package, working with our local bank and the Small Business Administration," Cluff said, speaking by phone.

He invested $200,000 in a complete modernization of the dining room, including adding a new bar.

"The restaurant was dated," he said. "It needed to be brought up-to-date with a little TLC."

Prior to Duffy's taking over a year ago, it was the Captain's Galley Restaurant.

The Old Orchard Beach site was attractive, he said, because of its high-traffic location and the fact that the second location — a restaurant and connected banquet center totaling 11,749 square feet — is larger than the original Duffy's and better suited to larger events. The function space in Duffy's Kennebunk seats 50; Duffy's in Old Orchard Beach seats up to 200.

"We're doing weddings, bridal showers, anniversary parties — and that's what I was looking for," he said.

He plans to rent out the two-unit apartment building and house.

Cluff came into the restaurant business as a second career. He was with the Kennebunk Fire Department for 25 years, retiring as assistant fire chief. He enjoys cooking, so in 2008, he and a partner, Shawn Spencer, started Duffy's in the Lafayette Center on Main Street in Kennebunk.

"Then I decided to open a second restaurant. And that's enough restaurants," he laughed.

In actuality, there's not much in the way of retirement in this second career. He cooks five or six nights per week, and both restaurants are year-round. Plus there's been the work of getting the second restaurant going.

"I often think back to my fire department days and think, 'Well, I thought I was busy then, but I'm really busy now,'" he said.

The OOB property was originally a motor lodge with cottages, said Sandler. The Mezoian brothers' grandfather bought in 1954, and the family built the cabins and motor lodge. The brothers started a small restaurant, the Captain's Galley, in 1987, and kept enlarging it. In 1995, they dismantled the cabins and filled in the pool.

Sandler, the broker, knew the Mezoian brothers from when he owned and operated a food distribution company, Biddeford-based Sandler Brothers. Three years ago, he got out of the business and went into commercial real estate. In January 2015, when the Mezoians decided to close the restaurant in order to focus on residential development, they turned to Sandler to market the property.


Former Owners of Paul's Food Center take on Yarmouth Retail Center

July 19, 2016 in News

Author: Laurie Schreiber
Publication: Mainebiz

YARMOUTH — In 1975, Paul and Annamarie Trusiani purchased 585 Congress St., a mixed-use building in downtown Portland where they owned Paul's Food Center.


With the passing of Paul last September, the Trusiani family made a difficult decision to sell the property.

Enter Michael Cardente of Cardente Real Estate, who found a buyer for 585 Congress St., and then found for Annemarie Trusiani, now in her 80s and known as Momma T, a 1031 exchange property — a 13,800-square-foot retail strip center at 374 U.S. Route 1 in Yarmouth — for $1.9 million, in a deal that closed June 15. The latter property will allow Trusiani to defer capital gains taxes otherwise due on the Congress Street property — and, it's conveniently near her home.

"Mike did an amazing job in creating this opportunity for my mother," said Trusiani's son, Paul "Buzzy" Trusiani. "It was in everyone's interest to sell the Congress Street property. The way Mike was able to do that and then follow up and find another property for my mother was great."

The Yarmouth property was not on the market, said Cardente. But the seller, Fogg Farm LLC, decided to take advantage of the market's low capitalization rate and move on, Cardente said.

The strip center includes two buildings and dates to 1979. The property was perfect for Trusiani for a number of reasons, the broker said. She lives nearby and was looking for a stable investment. The center is located at the southern gateway to Yarmouth with convenient access to Interstate 295. It's extremely well-maintained and has excellent signage and visibility, and plenty of on-site parking, Cardente said.

Buzzy Trusiani agrees the purchase works well for his mother: It's low-maintenance with existing tenants and will provide a diversified base of income.

"We have a wonderful Chinese food restaurant that we greatly enjoy, a yoga studio, mortgage broker, hair salon, nail salon, model train store, Casco Bay Home Care, which provides services for people requiring care in their homes — it's a wide-ranging group of people serving the community," said Buzzy Trusiani.

Other tenants include Funeral Alternatives, Music Together of Greater Portland and Impawsible Impressions Dog Salon.

Cardente will manage the property with Trusiani's assistance.

The Yarmouth property consists of a dozen units ranging from 700 square feet to 12,000 square feet, and is almost fully tenanted, with one unit currently available.

"What's nice is the diversity and scale of the property," said Trusiani. "It's an inviting place for smaller businesses to get established in a small community like Yarmouth. One of the reasons we're excited about being part of the Yarmouth community is that we've lived in Cumberland and Falmouth all our lives, so we're familiar with Yarmouth. And we're excited about Yarmouth's future."


Cardente Real Estate: Through The Years.. A Decade and Counting

July 8, 2016 in News

Author: Mainebiz
Publication: Mainebiz

In 2015, Cardente Real Estate celebrated its 10-year anniversary. A full-service real estate & investment brokerage out of Portland,



the company specializes in all aspects of the sale and leasing of commercial real estate throughout

Maine and New Hampshire. Starting out as a “small shop” brokerage, the company grew into a leader in the industry, with six commercial brokers, an “in-house” Architectural Designer & Sales Agent, and support staff. The company’s full-service commercial management division, Cardente Property Management, was founded in 2007.

In the summer of 2005, Cardente Real Estate was created by Matthew Cardente to provide clients with a better alternative to their commercial real estate needs. For five years prior, Cardente worked at CBRE|The Boulos Company, starting as an intern and departing as a commercial broker.

“I learned a lot from Joe Boulos and his team,” Cardente re- flects. “But with time comes change.”

Cardente Real Estate opened in 800 square feet of open office space next to World Gym at 34 Diamond St. in Portland. Owned by Cardente’s father, Douglas, the warehouse/office building was once occupied by Portland Transmission, established by Douglas and his father, Thomas.

“My brother Michael acted as the initial General Manager and my father shared office space with us,” says Cardente. “I was in my 20s and thoroughly enjoyed starting what was supposed to be a very small business.”

Cardente received a call from Joe Malone of Malone Commercial Brokers shortly after opening.

“Joe called to congratulate me on my new endeavor, and said to call him if I ever needed help. That meant a lot to me, coming from somebody so well-established.”

The initial vision was to be a one- to two-broker company. But the “small shop” concept quickly changed. Greg Perry became the first broker to join, six months after the company’s creation. Shortly after, Karen Rich, a leading commercial broker in Maine since the 1990s, came onboard.

“I was in absolute shock, at the time, that Karen Rich came on- board,” says Cardente. “She was a big name in Maine commercial brokerage. One second, I’m hustling to get a couple of listings. The next, we have three brokers, a general manager, an administrative assistant, and my father, all in 800 square feet of cubicles.”

To accommodate expansion, in 2006, Cardente moved to a 2,200-square-foot retail unit, primarily funded by an equity line Matthew took out on personal property. Located at 299 Forest Ave., Portland, the new location provided onsite parking, space for future growth and, most importantly, highly visible signage to market the name.

“We always talk about the importance of having signage on properties we market for lease and sale,” says Perry, now Partner and Senior Broker. “It seemed like a good idea to have a big sign on Route 302 to promote our name.”

The next three years were significant for Cardente’s growth and market share.

Major transactions included:

Rich’s $4.627 million sale of Western Avenue Crossing, a 15,700-square-foot retail complex in South Portland

Perry and Rich’s sale of 3 Eastview Parkway in Saco to Ira Rosenberg (owner of Prime Motors)

Cardente’s $4 million sale of 482 Congress St., a 65,000-square- foot multi-tenanted office building with surface parking, owned by JB Brown & Sons

Vinny Maieta and JB Brown & Sons proved key clients. With Rich’s help, Maieta developed the Western Avenue retail cor- ridor in South Portland. JB Brown & Sons used Cardente for lease listings and the sale of their Congress Street building. They helped build Cardente’s foundation.

With the economy in recession, late 2008 through 2009 proved tough.

“We questioned every deal we had under contract,”says Partner/ Broker Michael Cardente. “Until a lease was signed, there were always reservations that things would fall apart.”

In 2009, Mark Richards, owner of The Richards Group in Vermont, used Cardente as a Buyer Representative for the purchase of 19 Northbrook Drive, a Class A office building in Falmouth. Richards then gave Cardente management of the property, then management of a Cooks Corner property in Brunswick.

“Working with Mark Richards has been a blessing since I met him,” says Matthew Cardente. “You don’t meet many people in the business world who are as smart, level-headed, humble and kind as Mark.”

Client Peter Thompson, owner and founder of Peter Thompson & Associates, also kept the company going through the tough years. Thompson writes on a Google review in March of 2016:

“I have invested in commercial and residential real estate in the Portland area for more than 20 years. Over the last 10 years, I have used Cardente Real Estate to handle several commercial and residential real estate transactions. Matthew Cardente has consistently provided excellent service, working diligently to find me properties that fit my needs and get me the best possible deals. Prior to hiring Matthew in 2006, I used other brokers in Portland, so I am able to compare the services CRE provides to those other firms. Matthew Cardente is, in my mind, the hardest working broker in town and I would recommend him highly.”

In 2010, Cardente Real Estate purchased and moved into a 2,908-square-foot office condo at 322 Fore St. in the Old Port of Portland, where the company remains today. Being near the Financial District and in the Heart of Portland opened the door to compete on a larger scale. In 2013, Rich—the Maine Commercial Association of Realtors Broker of the Year in 2012—represented the seller of 465 Congress St., Portland. The 85,000-square-foot office building and parking garage sold for $5.55 million. That year, Michael Cobb II joined Cardente after doing residential brokerage out of Gray, then became Partner in 2015.

“I think he might have made a record in commercial real es- tate when he came onboard,” says Cardente, “After telling him it would take a while to get his feet wet, within days he found a buyer for our 959 Congress St. listing, closing the $1,287,500 transaction three months later.”

In 2014, Michael Cardente teamed up with Cassidy Turley and auction.com to sell the Old Port Portfolio for $5,617,500. One of

the most significant packages in the Old Port, that sale included 50,000 square feet of retail, res- taurant, and mixed use space.

To close out 2014,both Cardente brothers joined with Turley again to sell 511 Congress St.,Portland.The 130,000-square-foot office tower and adjacent surface parking lots sold for $12.45 million. Purchased by Ed Gardner, also the Principal of Portland-based residential firm Ocean Gate Realty, Gardner re- branded 511 Congress into Ocean Gate Plaza and gave Cardente the leasing representation. As of June 2016, Ocean Gate Plaza’s vacancy rate was 3.48%, down from 9% at the time of the purchase.

“Mr. Gardner has always been meticulous with every detail of the properties he’s developed over the years,” says Cardente “With the significant changes he made to Ocean Gate Plaza, he trans- formed a notable office building on Portland’s skyline into a vibrant masterpiece that offers incredible synergy—and is now considered the Gateway to Portland’s Arts and Financial District.”

Perry—Cardente’s first Real Estate Broker of the Year, and the Maine Commercial Association of Realtors Broker of the Year for 2016—broke new sales and leasing records in recent years. Representation includes the buyer of the 88,000-square-foot Hannaford-anchored Shops of Long Bank in Kennebunk for $6.925 million.

“Greg amazes me every year,” says Cardente “He does it all, from selling large businesses that nobody knows about because of confidentiality, to coming up with our slogan, ‘Building a Foundation of Trust, One Client at a Time.’”

The firm continues to expand and find specialty services. Sarah Sausville, hired in 2014, is “in-house” Architectural Designer, cre- ating CAD plans for property owners and 3D scaled renderings and test fits for prospective tenants wanting a better “vision” of the space they are considering leasing. Sausville is now getting her Associate Broker’s license. In 2015, Mark Sandler joined Cardente as Associate Broker, after working with the Dunham Group.

Over the years, the deals, clients and advisors have made Cardente what it is today.

“My biggest influence has been my father,” Cardente says. “He has been a leading client, confidant and mentor. My brother has been loyal and selfless from the start. People don’t realize Michael worked for free for a long time, helping me get the company started.”

And for the company’s growth and success over the decade, Cardente credits the three commercial brokers who joined him at the start.

They had faith in me then, are all still here today,” he says. “That is amazing to me, considering the ups and downs of the market during our time together. If you find a Greg Perry, Karen Rich and Michael Cardente, you can build the foundation to make a ‘small shop’ brokerage a leading firm in today’s commercial real estate market.”

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