Outlook for Maine real estate brighter

January 27, 2012 in News

Author: Tux Turkel
Publication: Portland Press Herald

Experts predict slow gains in 2012 in the retail sector and office market, but housing is a mixed bag.

By Tux Turkel tturkel@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer


PORTLAND - Maine's real estate industry is slowly recovering from the recession and showing some bright spots, but will continue to face challenges in 2012, speakers told Maine's largest gathering of real estate professionals Thursday.


"I believe the worst is over," said Karen Rich, a commercial broker at Cardente Real Estate in Portland.

Rich presented her outlook for southern Maine's retail sector during the Maine Real Estate & Development Association's annual forecast conference. The sold-out event drew a record crowd of 650 to the Holiday Inn by the Bay.

Nationally, the economic recovery is making gradual progress, but home prices and real incomes continue to decline. That hurts affordability, said Charles Colgan, an economic forecaster from the University of Southern Maine, and will keep the market from improving significantly before 2013.

In an economy driven by consumer spending, the retail sector is an important indicator, and Rich said she sees encouraging trends in Greater Portland. The area's retail vacancy rate, which peaked at nearly 11 percent in 2009, is falling. The rate last year was just above 6 percent, Rich said.

Windham has emerged as the region's healthiest retail area, with a 3.7 percent vacancy rate.

Some big holes remain, such as the former Shaw's Supermarket space in Falmouth and the former Filene's department store at the Maine Mall. But new franchises have filled some empty spaces, including Books-a-Million, which replaced Borders at the Maine Mall, and Urban Outfitters, which occupies a once-empty building on Middle Street in Portland's Old Port.

Several restaurants, including Five Guys and Elevation Burger, have opened. "Mainers love their restaurants," Rich said.

Looking ahead, Rich said, more big-box stores could close, as the Lowe's Home Improvement store in Biddeford did last year. But she also expects more expansion by banks and credit unions, Starbucks and thrift stores.

Greater Portland's office market also is recovering. Buyers and tenants can still find favorable deals, but the overall vacancy rate has basically stopped climbing. It hung last year at just under 13 percent, said James Harnden of Malone Commercial Brokers. The office market absorbed 90,000 square feet of net space last year, the first positive number since 2008.

Conditions will remain essentially flat this year, Harnden indicated. But the mood is more optimistic and a handful of projects are being proposed, including those at Thompson's Point and on West Commercial Street in Portland.

On the housing front, the multi-family market is a mixed bag, said John Graham of Sullivan Multi-Family Realty. Short sales and bank-owned properties continue to make up a substantial portion of the market. Condominium conversion is flat.

Dunkin Donuts Is Doubling in Size

January 4, 2012 in Articles

Dunkin Donuts is planning to double they amount of their locations over the next 20 years. To read the full article, please go to:


Secret Bridges has leased space at 605 US Route One

January 3, 2012 in News

Cardente Real Estate is pleased to announce that Secret Bridges has leased 1,600 +/- square feet of retail space from Ferret Realty at 605 US Route One, Scarborough, Maine. This transaction was brokered by Karen Rich and Matthew Cardente of Cardente Real Estate.

Experts Provide Forecasts for 2012

January 3, 2012 in Articles

Author: Steve Baumann, David Harrigan, Frank O'Connor, Tony McDonald
Publication: Portland Press Herald
This article discusses forecasts for 2012 for the different commercial real estate sectors in Maine.
Read the PDF

Picturing Portland in the digital age

December 29, 2011 in Articles

Author: Tom Bell
Publication: MaineToday

Picturing Portland in the digital age

A trove of images that offer an unusually detailed glimpse of the city's architecture in the Roaring '20s is finding its way online.


Stored in the city tax assessor's office for nearly 90 years, a remarkable collection of historic photographs of more than 10,000 Portland buildings is now being digitized so they can be readily accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.





Join Our Mailing List

Contact Us


322 Fore Street, 3rd Floor
Portland,Maine 04101




207.773.0066 (fax)



Need a Broker?