December 11, 2017

$1.87 million deal the latest in downtown Bangor's booming market

Courtesy / Cardente Real Estate
Courtesy / Cardente Real Estate
Bangor's resurgent downtown is drawing new investment, most recently in the Adams-Pickering Block at 105 Main St.

BANGOR — Prospective buyer interest was high in the historic Adams-Pickering Block at 105 Main St., due to the resurgence of the city's downtown. So it came as no surprise to Mike Cobb of Cardente Real Estate when CSGBANG LLC purchased the property from Brick & Mortar Holding Group Inc. for $1.875 million in a deal that closed Nov. 28.

Cobb represented both buyer and seller in the transaction.

The property consists of a 25-unit retail and apartment building and adjacent parking garage. It's near a variety of restaurants, like Fork & Spoon and Verve Burritos, both of which opened in the past five years, and is across the street from the Maine Discovery Museum.

"It's a great building, with the iconic feel of downtown Bangor," said Cobb.

The buyer is an out-of-state resident who was a finalist in January in the bidding for a $3.125 million luxury apartment building at 28 Broad St. in downtown Bangor.

"So he's familiar with the market and liked this investment for his portfolio," said Cobb. "He's an avid real estate investor."

105 Main St. is expected to be a great return on the buyer's investment, said Cobb.

"This building has strong numbers," he said.

Cobb said that's because the sellers did a great job with it, noting: "They've updated most of the units. It has good income and it came with a 32-car parking garage. All of those factors weighed into the buyer's decision."

According to Cardente's marketing brochure, the 29,366-square-foot commercial and residential property, on 0.31 acre, is located in the heart of downtown Bangor at the corner of Main and Middle streets. It has 22 residential apartments and three retail spaces, and 32 parking spaces in an attached 4,800-square-foot parking garage. It's currently 96% occupied, with one unit under renovation.

Courtesy / City of Bangor
Courtesy / City of Bangor
Bangor’s National Historic Register nomination shows when a clothing and shoes store was at 105 Main St.

Constructed in 1871, it was remodeled in 1984. Over the past five years, the sellers have been renovating the residential units with new hardwoods, new kitchens and new bathrooms. The selling entity comprises a combination of Bangor business owners, said Cobb.

The building is in excellent shape, he said, although, like any building its age, there are some projects to be done.

"Some of the units are more 'done' than others but, for the most part, this owner plans on keeping the status quo," he said.

The retail tenants — Bangor Window Shade & Drapery Co., Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. and an art gallery called Limited Editions Studio — will stay on, he said. According to the Bangor Daily News, the gallery was opened just this past November by Kimberly Saucier, an artist and children's author whose gallery features fine art and retail items.

Downtown space in demand

The interest in Bangor property was evident in how quickly the property sold, said Cobb. Listed in mid-September, it was under contract by late September.

"When we listed it, we had multiple offers in the first week," Cobb said, noting that offers came from investors both in-state and out-of-state.

"I had clients from Portland and all over Maine who consider Bangor to be a good place for investment, particularly when you're comparing it to Portland," he said. "The cap rates are still at a point where an investor can expect to see a sizable return on their investment."

Prices are going up in Bangor as demand for space increases, especially downtown, he said.

"I'm bullish on downtown Bangor," he said.

According to Bangor Planner and Historic Preservationist Sean Gambrel, the building, known as the Adams-Pickering Block, was built by prominent Bangor architect George W. Orff.

It's listed today in the National Register of Historic Places and was originally constructed as two separated, nearly identical buildings, for two separate business interests. The southerly portion housed T. Hersey & Co., a purveyor of hats, caps, furs, boots and shoes. The first floor was a well-appointed retail space; cutting and manufacturing of fur goods and the company's trademark "champion pacs" moccasins took place on the upper floors.

The northerly portion housed the Adams & Co. store, which sold "fancy goods" like hosiery and gloves, and whose business extended throughout central and eastern Maine. The two top floors of the building housed M.H. Andrews' music hall.

"This was one of Mr. Orff's first large-scale projects and the construction of this building made him one of Bangor's most prominent architects," Gambrel said via email. Orff went on to design several other commercial spaces downtown, most notably the Bass-Rines-Hatch Block at 43 Main St., before eventually leaving Bangor for Minneapolis.

The city is currently seeing many transactions where long-time owners are seeing opportunities to exit the market in light of a significant increase in interest and value for downtown properties, Tanya Emery, director of the city's Department of Community and Economic Development, said by email.

"The energy and excitement in downtown Bangor has made it a great market for the development community," she wrote. "The city is thrilled to see continued interest from investors and from businesses and residents that want to be in the heart of the city."

According to Emery, downtown Bangor has come a long way in recent years. It has only one building that's entirely empty — 73 Central St., whose rundown building was the subject of dispute between the city and the owner, according to the Bangor Daily News.

That building is now being renovated, said Emery. And there are few office or retail spaces vacancies.

"This is a significant change from 10 years ago," she said.


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