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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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.

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