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July 9, 2018

Sale of Main Street building speaks to burgeoning downtown Lewiston

Courtesy / Marc Goulet
Courtesy / Marc Goulet
Marc Goulet sold his building at 177 Main St. in Lewiston for $675,000, retaining a 15-year leaseback for his firm, Goulet and Associates.

LEWISTON — The sale of an Art Deco style building downtown signals continued confidence in the strength of Lewiston's resurgence as an investment opportunity.

NB 177 LLC bought 177 Main St. — a 9,540-square-foot retail and office building — from Sa-So LLC for $675,000. Kevin Fletcher of Northeast Commercial Brokers at Keller Williams Realty represented both buyer and seller in the deal, which closed June 14.

The property sold off-market, thanks to Fletcher's connections and knowledge of the area.

Sa-So LLC is owned by Marc Goulet, who bought the building in 2001, and is president of the real estate appraisal firm Goulet and Associates, which occupies the second floor.

"I just matched the buyer with the seller," Fletcher said. "I had had some discussions with Marc, I had a buyer, I called Marc and said, 'Do you still want to consider selling?' We walked through, shook hands on the deal, and two months later it closed."

Looking for solid investment properties for a 1031 exchange, the buyer has a history in Lewiston/Auburn, liked the building's architecture and general look, its location, the tenant mix and the cash flow, said Fletcher.

The building originally housed a law firm, Fletcher said. Along with Goulet and Associates on the second floor, there are three ground-floor tenants – Community Dental, Heritage Collectibles and a vape shop.

The property will not need any further investment for renovations, he said.

"Marc did an exceptional job of maintaining it," Fletcher said. "He's a very astute landlord so he did everything that building needed over the last 10, 15 years. I give kudos to Marc."

He added, "I think the sale speaks to the strength of the Lewiston market in relation to stable investment products. It was a classic win-win deal for everybody. I think everyone walked out of there feeling very good about the deal."

The building was constructed in 1928 and features exterior Art Deco details like sunbursts and zigzag bands.

"It's one of the first steel-framed and entirely poured concrete buildings in the downtown area," said Goulet.

Goulet said that when he bought it it was in good enough condition to occupy but needed considerable work, which he's done. That included stripping out the hallway paneling, gutting and rebuilding the first floor, putting in new windows, repointing the entire brick exterior and putting in a new roof. He installed parabolic lighting and antique looking ceiling tiles in the hallways, and brought in fiberoptics.

Goulet has retained a 15-year leaseback on the second floor, but said it was a good time to sell for a good price.

Courtesy / Marc Goulet
Courtesy / Marc Goulet
Art Deco details like sunbursts and zigzag bands can be seen from both the Park Street and Main Street sides.

Earlier this year, Fletcher spoke with Mainebiz about another building he's listing in downtown Lewiston, the massive Depositors Trust Building, at 55 Lisbon St., built in 1921 in the Classical Revival style.

Tenants include the Androscoggin County district attorney's office and the regional office for Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. The first and third floors are prime for redevelopment, he said.

Redevelopment of Lewiston's historic buildings, Fletcher said, is much of what's driving investment.

"I think downtown Lewiston and the Riverfront Island project – when you talk about the canals the city now owns, and the river, and the available square footage and the character – has so much potential," he said at the time. "What it really needs is the continued focus of people coming down there. Continued economic development and people taking chances and doing projects ultimately will reflect on increasing the viability of downtown Lewiston."

In the meantime, he said, property values are remaining stable, largely because of the amount of inventory that's still available.

"It's a good strong market, but I'm not sure property values are going up," he said. "People can go down there and make a viable project. And people are doing that. As far as Lewiston/Auburn is concerned, slow progress is amazing progress."

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