Why Commercial Real Estate in Maine is a Good (Great) Investment!

July 8, 2007 in Articles

Author: Karen Rich
Publication: Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

As prices for residential real estate throughout Maine and New England have either fallen or held steady over the past several years, commercial real estate, especially in the retail, office and development sectors continues to thrive. Those of us who sell or lease commercial/ investment real estate in Maine, are often asked the questions “How is the market?”, “Are you seeing a slowdown/softening of the market?”, “How have the interest rates affected sales?” and so on.

The truth of the matter is that commercial real estate in Maine, especially in Southern Maine, remains a good (great) investment for any and all who have chosen that route over the last 15+ years. I personally started selling commercial real estate in Portland in 1991. For the purposes of this article, I have chosen to highlight a number of different office and retail properties that have changed hands at least twice over the course of the last 10-15 years.

These particular properties involved some fitup and investment by the owners, but relatively small in comparison to the gains that they realized by leasing up their properties and then eventually putting them back on the market. Some of these properties, I am aware of personally because I was involved in the sales and/or leasing. Some of them, I am just aware of from being in the marketplace and had no broker involvement on my part whatsoever. Typically, the owners realized a significant profit, even after considering their fitup costs, brokerage commissions, capital improvements and other costs associated with owning commercial real estate. (Continued on PDF)

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Creating A Greener Office

April 22, 2007 in Articles

Author: Matthew Cardente
Publication: Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

"Please Feel Guilty” was the statement that I put on the back of our Recycling Committee T-Shirts in college. The point then, as it is now, is to make people feel guilty or at least aware of their recycling decisions.
According to an article written by the Resource Conservation Alliance titled Paper Consumption, the world loses 30 million forested acres per year (the size of State of Pennsylvania) and 40 percent of the wood is used for paper.
Every day at the workplace we make conscious decisions to recycle or not to recycle items such as used copy paper, junk mail, or even an empty can of soda.
Mostly, we do not recycle or reuse because we are lazy and are stuck on the concept of convenience. Another reason is that the office environment is not set up properly to make recycling easy for their employees. If there is no paper recycling bin, I doubt many employees will be willing to take their recyclable paper home with them.
In preparation for this article, I set up recycling bins in each person’s office in addition to the main recycling bin that we have next to the copy machine. For the last several months, I have been weighing the amount of paper that we recycle. (Continued on PDF)

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Maine Outlook- Office

February 4, 2007 in Articles

Author: Matthew Cardente
Publication: RE Journal Online
Submitted by Matthew Cardente, broker and owner of Portland, Maine-based Cardente Real Estate. Posted 02-04-07.

What area is your expertise?
• Southern Maine office market.

What trends do you see presently in office development in your area?
• We are currently seeing a mix of new development in the downtown Portland and suburban markets, as well as the redevelopment of commercial buildings into Class B office space.

Please name one or two significant office developments in your area. What impact will these projects have on the market?
• Several new projects to note for the downtown Portland market include:
• Custom House Square: Located in the Old Port area of downtown Portland, this approximately 60,816-square-foot, six-story office condominium tower is currently under construction and offers office condos on the upper levels and retail on the first level.
• Bayside Redevelopment Land: Bayside is located off of Franklin Arterial, Somerset Street and Marginal Way in Portland. The City of Portland recently put several lots in this district on the market for redevelopment of office and mixed-use. Lots range from approximately 0.28 to 1.3 acres and are available for sale for $125,580 to $583,052 per acre.
Another recent development in Downtown Portland was 280 Fore Street which is an approximately 110,000-square-foot office building constructed in 2005. This building's anchor tenant is Baker, Newman, & Noyes.

As for the suburban Greater Portland market, new developments include Stonewood Crossing, which is located on Route 1 in Freeport, Maine. This approximately 22,000-square-foot office building was completed in 2005 and only has approximately 3,000 square feet remaining for lease. Current tenants include MiddleOak and Power Engineers. Another significant suburban office project is Pineland Farms, which is located in New Gloucester. Pineland was originally established in 1908 and was used to facilitate Maine's mentally challenged. Now fully redeveloped into an approximately 258,000-square-foot office campus, Pineland is home to tenants including Energy East and Mountain LTD and offers an onsite cafeteria, a YMCA with a full fitness center and area trails used for running and cross-country skiing.

Where is the majority of development taking place? Why is this area doing well?
• We are continuing to see the majority of the office development and redevelopment in the Greater Portland area of Southern Maine. As noted before, there are several large office buildings that have been built in the financial district of Portland, and there are plans in the Bayside area to build more. The suburban markets are holding strong in areas where there is easy access to Interstate 295 and the Maine Turnpike. The suburban markets can now compete with the financial district of Portland because the suburban markets offer free parking, reasonable lease rates and state-of-the-art telecommunications. Parking in downtown Portland can cost $85 to $110 per parking space per month.

What area do you expect to be the next big development market? Why?
• We anticipate that the next areas of big development in Southern Maine will be on the Route 1 corridor between Falmouth and Freeport, the Haigis Parkway area of Scarborough and the Bayside District of Portland. All of these areas offer mainstream exposure, easy accessibility and fully developable land.


One flew under the Cuckoo's nest: Portland city council approves new "Formula Business"

February 1, 2007 in Articles

Author: Greg Perry
Publication: New England Real Estate Journal
In the early morning hours of November 21st, 2006, Portland's city council narrowly voted to approve a new "Formula Business" ordinance for several sections of the city's commercial district.
THe purpose of the ordinance, as stated by the city council of Portland, was to "regulate the number and location of formula businesses in order to maintain the city's unique character, the diversity and vitality of the city's commercial districts, and the quality of life of Portland residents". (Continued on PDF)
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Percentage Rent Can Make Sense

December 24, 2006 in Articles

Author: Matthew Cardente
Publication: Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

Retail leases should be a partnership between landlord and tenant. One way to help achieve that relationship is percentage rent—a method of compensation in which the tenant pays a percent of annual gross sales to the landlord.

Typically found in large shopping centers, percentage rent can be used for all types of retail, including servicerelated businesses, and smaller properties like a convenience store or restaurant. To date, the rent structure is rare in Maine; but with continued expansion in the state’s retail market, the arrangement is expected to become more prominent. (Continued on PDF)

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