Recent Sales Heat up Lewiston-Auburn Retail Market

March 29, 2016 in News

Publication: Mainebiz

Recent sales heat up Lewiston-Auburn retail market

LEWISTON-AUBURN — As rising stars among Maine's metropolitan areas, twin cities Lewiston and Auburn are a great place to invest.

That's the outlook of Dan Boutin, a commercial real estate investor who, under the name 675 Main Street LLC, bought two shopping centers — the 32,000-square-foot Marketplace Mall located at 675 Main St. in Lewiston, and the 12,000-square-foot Taylor Brook Mall, at 14 Millett Drive in Auburn.

Malone Commercial Brokers said the Marketplace Mall sold for $2 million, while the Taylor Brook Mall sold for $800,000. Both deals closed March 9.

Malone Commercial Brokers' Kevin Fletcher represented the seller, Marketplace Investment Group LLC, of which Fletcher is a partner. Frank O'Connor of NAI/The Dunham Group represented Boutin, the buyer.

Boutin, who has been in real estate investment for 35 years, owns other properties in the area. These include shopping centers at 120 Center St. in Auburn and 1567 Lisbon St. in Lewiston, as well as a 114-unit mobile home park in Sabbatus. One of his companies, Oak Hill Management, manages the properties.

"I like retail and income-producing properties. And I like Lewiston-Auburn because there's a lot of growth," said Boutin, who was born and raised in the area and so also feels a personal attachment to his investments. "Portland is difficult — the vacancy rate is so low and the price of land has reached such an unrealistic amount. But Lewiston-Auburn has a lot of upside. Everything is up and coming in Lewiston-Auburn, and you want to be part of it."

The two one-story strip centers were never actually on the market. Kevin Fletcher, one of the four partners who owned the properties, said he was aware that Boutin was on the lookout for this type of commercial property, and the partners felt the timing was right to sell, so he simply called Boutin's broker. The selling partners had owned the Marketplace Mall for eight years, and the Taylor Brook Mall for seven years.

Both shopping centers date to the mid-1980s and are deemed by both seller and buyer to be in good shape. Both centers are in well-traveled areas.

The Marketplace Mall is on Main Street and has proven to be "a great neighborhood center," Fletcher said. There are currently 16 tenants, including a mix of hair salons, a Chinese restaurant, chiropractor and offices, all anchored by a Sam's Italian Restaurant, one of a chain in Maine. There is currently a 600-square-foot vacant space.

The Taylor Brook Mall has nine tenants and about 1,600 square feet of vacant space.

Boutin said he'll clean up the properties, make sure the signs and landscaping look nice, check out the systems to ensure they're all operational, and the like.

"I'm there to help out the tenants," he said. "The buck stops here."




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