AUGUSTA — It was a bit of a saga, but a Dunkin' Donuts franchisee was finally able to purchase a former Tim Hortons site that was on the block.
Cafua Management of Methuen, Mass., operating under the name JFJ Holdings LLC, purchased a 1,698-square-foot building on 0.90 acre at 56 Bangor St. in Augusta from Tim Donut U.S. Limited Inc. for $350,000, in a deal that closed Feb. 14. Don Pilon of The Maine Real Estate Network represented the buyer and Mark Malone of Malone Commercial Brokers represented the seller.
"It's strange how this came about," said Pilon.
Pilon had a previous relationship with Dunkin' Donuts, having brokered a piece of property on the company's behalf in Old Orchard Beach. That property had an entrance onto the highway and was on the "a.m." side of the street — in other words, a large traffic flow in the morning, which he said is what the company looks for.
"I contacted Dunkin' Donuts because I thought it would be an ideal location for them," he said of that earlier transaction. "It took me forever to get them enthusiastic about looking at it, but finally I got them to send someone. They said, 'You're right, it's perfect.'"
Pilon was then approached by another commercial real estate company about a site in Augusta — just down the street from 56 Bangor St. — because they knew of his relationship with Dunkin' Donuts. That site had a drive-through window, but was on the "p.m." side of the street.
"I said, 'Okay, I'll call Dunkin' Donuts and tell them about it,'" he related. Dunkin' Donuts said, "Well, we don't want that site. We want the old Tim Hortons building" — the 56 Bangor St. building. "I said, 'Okay, let me find out who has it.'"
The listing broker was Malone.
"So I called Mark Malone," Pilon continued. "I didn't identify the client, but I said, 'I have a coffee operator who would like more information about the old Tim Hortons building.' And Mark said, 'There's a deed restriction on that property.'"
The restriction specifically named a number of coffee operators to which Tim Donut U.S. Limited Inc. would not sell the property. That included Dunkin' Donuts.
"I said, 'That's ridiculous. [Tim Hortons] is not even in the market here any more and it's unlikely they'll come back. Why don't they delete the restriction and get rid of the real estate? It's not doing them any good.'"
The company subsequently agreed to remove the restriction, so Cafua Management purchased the property.
Built in 2007, the building is in great shape and is on the a.m. side of street.
"When Dunkin' Donuts looks at site locations, they want to be on a.m. side of street and not on the p.m. side," said Pilon.
It's on a prime retail corridor just a minute north of busy Cony Circle, with a traffic count of 26,020 vehicles per day and 500-plus businesses and 9,000-plus daytime employees within a mile radius.
Cafua Management is now in the process of working with the city of Augusta to get their permits.
"I think they'll move this along as quickly as possible," said Pilon.
Once the permits are in place, move-in for this type of operation is quick and easy, he said.
"The equipment is stainless steel and most of it is on casters or wheels, so it's portable," he said. "So he can basically just roll everything that's in there out, and roll in the Dunkin' Donuts equipment. It's pretty easy these days — nothing's built in. But they'll want to do a little alteration on the outside" to change the branding.
Cafua Management owns hundreds of Dunkin' Donuts all over the United States, and is possibly the largest franchisee of Dunkin' Donuts in the country, said Pilon.
Malone had three or four people interested in the property, which originally listed for $325,000.
"So they overpaid by $25,000 just to get the site," Pilon said. "And that's frankly peanuts, for the site. As I told them, what's $25,000 in the scheme of things? You'll make it back in a couple of years."
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