East Bayside getting grant money to clean brownfield sites

July 5, 2016 in News

Author: WCSH News 6
Publication: WCSH News 6

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --

The city of Portland hosted a bus tour of Portland's east bayside neighborhood on Thursday.

The city is trying to figure out how to distribute $200,000 in federal grant money in the neighborhood.

The money will help people who own and want to redevelop brownfield sights figure out how to do that.

East Bayside was selected as one of twenty neighborhoods in the country to get the money.

It was full of heavy industry for around a hundred years.

Some businesses owners hope they receive the grant money to continue their existing development projects.

“It will hopefully allow us to do some additional planning and try to overcome some of the obstacles that are preventing development,” said Michael Cardente, a property owner interested getting some help from the grant.

City leaders say the process of getting the sites and neighborhood fully revitalized will take time.

“We have a lot of obstacles in terms of the way it was laid out and in terms of pollutants in the ground,” said Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling. “This was really a chance for people to understand what some of those pieces are that are obstacles but also to see there are some interesting and exciting developments and ways people have turned, perhaps, some of the problems down here into real opportunities.”

Thursday's bus tour was the beginning of the process of selecting properties to invest in.

Other steps will include official city approval and community workshops.


A Historic Building at 11 Brown St.

June 24, 2016 in News

Author: Laurie Schreier
Publication: MaineBiz

PORTLAND — A historic building at 11 Brown St. in Maine's most populous city is on track in its conversion to luxury condominiums.


Portland developer Jack Soley paid $950,000 for the turn-of-the-century building in late 2015 as part of his mission to preserve the city's historic buildings and leverage the condo market. The site will include a ground-floor restaurant, just as the building had until the closure of Margarita's a year ago.

On May 25, Soley finalized the sale of the basement and first floor to Phelps Craig, owner of the BRGR Bar in Portsmouth, N.H. She plans her second BRGR Bar for the Portland location.

In the meantime, Soley and his nephew Dan Soley been investing approximately $1 million to redevelop the second, third and fourth floors into luxury condominiums — two units on the second floor and one 2,400-square-foot unit each on the third and fourth floors.

Since the 1930s, the top two floors had been used for storage. The building is part of what's known as the Eastman Block. Eastman Bros. & Bancroft, a major dry-goods retailer established in 1865, owned several buildings near the intersection of Brown and Congress streets, according to the Maine Historical Society, though it's not clear what the exact use of this particular building had been. The store closed in the Great Depression.

"Eastman" is inscribed in granite on the front of the building and the condos will be called the Eastman Block Condominiums.

"We're fairly far along in our conversion," said Soley. "We just started putting up sheetrock. In early July we'll start installing the final plumbing fixtures, the kitchens, flooring and finishes. We hope to be complete in late July."

The renovation will highlight the building's historic feel and features. The top three floors have ceiling heights of at least 12 feet, which will be preserved. The original huge, rough-hewn floor joists will be visible and the original hardwood flooring is being refinished.

"We'll keep the same large window openings that were originally designed with the building," said Soley. "Once that's all done, it will have a feeling almost like a New York loft space, which will be very unusual for the Portland area. These are unique units that will have lots of historic charm, tremendous ceiling height, huge windows, and a distinctly loft feeling."

The restaurant space has its own place in the city's history. It once housed the HuShang restaurant, which opened in 1979 and was one of the first restaurants to help transform Portland into a foodie destination. HuShang, known as the restaurant that introduced Portland to authentic Chinese food., closed in 1986. Afterward, Margaritas was there for 18 years, closing in August 2015.

BRGR Bar set to open in fall

In a deal that closed May 25, Soley sold the basement and first floor to Craig, who is the midst of design and renovation for her second BRGR Bar. Jessamyn Mackey and Peter Harrington of Malone Commercial Brokers represented Soley in the transaction. Michael Rogers of Maine Real Estate Network represented Craig.

Craig has been in the restaurant business in Portsmouth since 2003. Her previous restaurants included Green Monkey, serving eclectic cuisine, and Brazo, a Latin American restaurant. She sold both of those to start BRGR Bar in 2014.

"I decided to expand the BRGR Bar concept up north," Craig said. "It's behind the Civic Center and near the Asylum [music venue] and right off Congress Street, so the location is great."

Craig expects to invest $400,000 in the build-out and hopes to be open by October or November. She'll split her time between the two restaurants.

"We're excited to do business in Portland," she said.


2016 REALTOR of the Year

June 15, 2016 in News

Author: Maine Commercial Association of Realtors

It is our pleasure to announce and congratulate this year's 2016 REALTOR of the Year: Greg Perry of Cardente Real Estate.

Greg has been a REALTOR since 2006 and currently serves as a Director on the Maine Commercial Association Board of Directors & NECPE Board of Directors on which he has served in both capacities since 2013. In 2015, Greg spearheaded the 1st Annual MCAR Charity Golf Tournament which raised over $6,600 for Morrison Center.

Greg joined Cardente Real Estate in 2005 and became a Partner in 2012. He brokered the largest retail sale in 2015 and was awarded Broker of the Year by Cardente Real Estate.

Greg currently serves on the South Portland Economic Development Board. He has also served on the South Portland Economic Development Board of Appeals and was Chair from 2014-2015.

Born and raised in Cumberland, Greg resides in South Portland with his wife and five year old daughter.

Please join us in congratulating Greg!


Developer gravitates to Norway with $430K purchase

June 7, 2016 in News

Author: Laurie Schrieber
Publication: MaineBiz

NORWAY — Three commercial buildings totaling 6,000 square feet are viewed as having great redevelopment potential given their location on 1.49 acres in a commercial area on the primary thoroughfare running through this Oxford County town.

The buyer, 57 Main Street Norway LLC, is a commercial real estate investor based in Portland that buys, rehabs and leases space, typically to national companies, said Michael Cardente of Cardente Real Estate, who represented the buyer.

In a deal that closed May 23, the buyer purchased 57 Main St. from Business Real Estate LLC for $430,000. Kevin Fletcher of Malone Commercial Brokers represented the seller.

"What's different about this is that, because the Portland real estate market is so saturated, a lot of developers are looking to other markets in Maine for their investments," said Cardente.

Developers are attracted to Norway for its proximity to the Oxford Casino and the Oxford Plains Speedway as well as some revitalization initiatives downtown.

"Norway is a very vibrant community. So the focus is on looking for opportunities in other communities in Maine" beyond Portland, Cardente said.

The buildings were originally put on the market to lease, not to sell.

"We reached out to them about four months ago, and asked if they would consider selling it," said Cardente. "I think it had been available for lease for a while, so when somebody offered to purchase it, the owner said, 'I'll take it.'"

The owner had taken good care of the property. The three buildings, an assortment of concrete, glass and wood structures, are a former quick lube, an automotive self-wash with hoses, and an automotive touchless wash. The oldest dates back to perhaps the late 1980s, and the newest to about 10 years ago.

The property has gone through several owners over the years, but has likely been used for automotive purposes since the first building went up, said Cardente. It's near a Hannaford store and VIP, as well as smaller retail and service ventures.


Portland's Time and Temperature Building is in Foreclosure

May 13, 2016 in News

Author: WGME
Publication: WGME

 

PORTLAND (WGME) -- Portland's most iconic building, is now in foreclosure.


 

Facing low occupancy and years of neglect, the downtown landmark is seized by the bank. The Time & Temperature building is 92 years old this year and tenants say, that is in desperate need of a little TLC.

 

Attorney Joe Lewis and engineer Robert Bowker, who have offices on the tenth floor, say previous owners have neglected the building. And it cost them. Several businesses have moved out. "It's staggering to me that we're in such a bad place with such a great building," says Joe Lewis, attorney

"It's a beautiful old building. It's just unfortunate to see people leaving and the building just kind of going into disrepair," says Robert Bowker, engineer. Chris Roberts owns one of a handful of shops on the ground floor. He says back in it's hey day this was Maine's first indoor mall, even before anyone heard of the word mall. Now, this iconic building is in foreclosure as Wells Fargo takes possession. "You're seeing people leave, but you're not seeing anything new come back in. It gets a little unsettling after awhile," says Chris Roberts of High and Tight. Some of the tenants, say foreclosure may not be the worst thing. They're hoping Wells Fargo puts some money into the Time and Temperature Building so they can find a buyer, and that that buyer will put even more money into the building to restore it to its former greatness." "It's kind of like this hidden gem in Portland. And there's so much potential I would love to see it just kind of thriving again," says Mary Zarate of Z Fabrics "I would love to see an anchor store go into the corner space when the radio station leaves and it fills the whole building up with businesses," says Leigh Slaughter of The Bead Hound. All it takes, they say, is the right buyer for those dreams come true.

"It's an important landmark building for Portland. And frankly, there's good bones to this building. So it would be wonderful if somebody would dress it up and really take care of it," says Lewis.

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