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.

South Portland Eyes West End Development Project

May 9, 2016 in News

Author: Mainebiz
Publication: MAinebiz

South Portland eyes West End development project

City officials of South Portland have approved the development of a West End Master Plan as part of the capital improvement project budget for fiscal year 2017.

According to The Forecaster, the master plan will focus on a corridor that hasn't seen development for several decades — Westbrook Street from the intersection with Western Avenue to the Portland International Jetport.

Of particular interest to city officials is deciding whether reconfiguring zoning in the area — which is a mix of residential, limited business and suburban commercial districts — would encourage businesses to set up shop in the area to serve nearby residential neighborhoods, The Forecaster said.

South Portland's city council has set aside $30,000 for the preliminary effort, with half of the funding coming from the city's fund reserves and the remaining half coming from a Community Development Block Grant, according to newspaper.

Developer completes lengthy $2M renovation of historic Congress Street building

May 3, 2016 in News

Author: Laurie SCHREIBER
Publication: Maine Biz

PORTLAND — In 2011, Freeport developer Kenn Guimond, who runs The Guimond Group, took on the renovation of a building of historical significance but in derelict condition.

Located in the Congress Street Historical District, which is also part of Portland's Arts District, the renovation of 660-662 Congress St. turned out to be much longer and more complicated than he anticipated.

"I was contacted by a local broker who thought it would be an interesting project for me — and believe me, it was interesting," he said. This was Guimond's first historical preservation project in a portfolio, spanning about 40 years, that includes mainly residential and commercial development in the Portland-to-Freeport region. "It's hard to make the dollars work, but the satisfaction is off the charts."

The building, finished in 1886, is known as the George S. Hunt block, named after a Portland businessman who owned the Forest City Sugar Refining Co. on Commercial Street in Portland, according to the Maine Historical Society. In the 1870s or so, according to Guimond, Hunt bought a derelict tenement building at the current site, had it razed, and hired Francis Fassett, a preeminent Portland architect of the time who worked in the Victorian High Gothic and Queen Anne styles. Fassett designed the current Queen Anne building, with features typical of the style that include brick-relief columns and pediments, a slate roof and bay windows. Hunt lived next-door to the building. Storefronts were added in 1912 and 1950. The building is also distinguished by its triangular shape.

The building was subsequently owned by a number of people, said Guimond. Its last commercial tenant, on the ground floor, was an antique store. Previously, Kenneth Aherne's Tailor Shop occupied the space. The upper two stories were always residences. Originally designed as one unit per floor, the residential space was divided several times into smaller spaces over a 30-to-40-year period.

After several years of vacancy, Roxanne Quimby, the philanthropist and Burt's Bees founder, bought the building in 2009. She planned an artist studio and gallery space, according to a 2011 Portland Press Herald story, but in 2010 the interior was severely damaged by fire. Quimby eventually put the building up for sale.

"So by the time it got to my sphere, it was damaged both by disrepair and by the fire," Guimond said.

Guimond hired Present Architecture of New York City to design and oversee the restoration. His son, Andre Guimond, is a principal in the firm, which got its start around the same time Kenn Guimond bought the building, making this one of the firm's first projects.

Due to unexpected structural problems, the expected 18-month project took four years.

"It wasn't until we got our engineer in the building that we found it in much greater disrepair than we thought, and it would take pretty much a complete restructuring of the interior," Kenn Guimond said.

Interior structural components failed to meet modern engineering codes, yet couldn't be stripped out wholesale or the building's brick shell could have been compromised. Instead, supporting structures such as beams and joists were replaced and surfaces releveled in a section-by-section surgical approach.

Since there are no images of the original interior, Present Architecture designed a contemporary look, with open spaces, white walls and ceilings and little trim. Removal of a roof-to-foundation chimney provided flexibility for the floor plan. Innovative lighting includes custom-designed skylights and LED fixtures tucked into ceiling coffers for a wash of soft illumination into living spaces. A shared stairwell features custom metal balusters and white oak treads. All systems were replaced.

The exterior was sound but needed work, including a new slate roof, new copper gutters, mortar replacement and new windows that honored the original design.

Renovation to the historic building had its challenge, said Andre Guimond. Non-historic downspouts had to be replaced. The team discovered roof-to-ground pockets, to accommodate historic downspouts, hidden inside the brick walls.

"It's not easy to do, because you're sluicing cold rain water through the inside of your walls," said Andre. "But we thought it would be great way to restore the building to its original look and clean up the façade, so we incorporated that."

They ran into other surprises. For example, a new water line for sprinkler systems had to cross Congress Street, which meant closing the street. The closure took longer than anticipated when street crews found, first, cobblestone paving down one layer, which had to be dug up. Then they found old trolley lines down a further layer, which had to be cut.

All together, 7,600 square feet now comprise one high-end apartment on each of the two upper floors, commercial space on the ground floor and a brick-and-stone space below the sidewalk level that could be useful for the commercial tenant.

The purchase price was in the mid-$200,000s, and renovation cost over $2 million. Guimond supplied 60% of the financing and received bank financing for the rest, with federal and state tax credits available for designated historic structures offsetting costs.

Guimond recently began marketing the spaces; the first residential tenant was slated to move in late April. Like the majority of other Guimond Group design and build projects, this will be kept in the portfolio.

"To us, it's a piece of history, not just another commercial project," said Kenn Guimond. "It means a lot to me. I've been in the business 40 years, and done all sorts of custom homes and office buildings. But this has been the hardest project I've ever done, because it was such a delicate process and we wanted to respect the integrity of the original design. We want to preserve this building in such a way that it should be here for another 140 years."

Four Communities Receive $15.2M for Wastewater

April 25, 2016 in News

Author: MaineBiz
Publication: MaineBiz

Four communities receive $15.2M for wastewater infrastructure upgrades

As part of the Friday's Earth Day festivities, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that four Maine communities will receive $15.2 million for upgrades to their wastewater infrastructure, thanks to the USDA's Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program.

The wastewater treatment facility in the town of East Millinocket was awarded $7.14 million in the form of a $3.5 million grant and a $3.65 million loan, will be awarded to the town's sewer district. It will be used to support improvements to the treatment facility by recycling infrastructure from the former East Millinocket paper mill and making significant upgrades to treatment equipment and processing capacity.

"This project is an important step forward in securing core community assets, enhancing the local economy, and protecting our natural resources," U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King said in a joint statement on Friday. "As we work together to address the significant challenges facing East Millinocket and the region, these investments from USDA Rural Development, coupled with local and state funding, strengthen the community and set the foundation for future economic development."

According to the release, the other Maine communities that were awarded funding for upgrades and improvements to their wastewater infrastructure are:

  • The Freeport Sewer District, which has been selected to receive a water and waste disposal direct loan in the amount of $2.1 million and grant in the amount of $1.1 million. Funds will be used to rehabilitate 11,000 linear feet of sewer lines, replacing key components of the Mast Landing and Porter Landing Pump Stations and the construction of a new pump station.


  • The Lincolnville Sewer District, which has been selected to receive a water and waste disposal direct loan of $1.6 million and grant of $1 million. Funds will be used to construct a new wastewater collection system and a new wastewater treatment facility in the beach area of Lincolnville.


  • The City of Old Town, which has been selected to receive a water and waste direct loan of $1.65 million and a grant of $550,000. Funds will be used to replace three of the city's aged wastewater pump stations. The city's wastewater system plays an important role in preserving the Penobscot River.




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