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June 12, 2017

Biddeford's renaissance attracts small-business investor

Courtesy / CBRE|The Boulos Co.
Courtesy / CBRE|The Boulos Co.
The sale of two small buildings at 160-162 Elm St. represents big confidence in Biddeford.

BIDDEFORD — The purchase of two small buildings here might seem insignificant in the grander world of million-dollar commercial real estate transactions.

But the investment adds to the evidence of Biddeford as a city undergoing a renaissance.

Two commercial buildings at 160-162 Elm St., comprising 9,368 square feet of retail space, sold for $525,000 to 160 Elm Street LLC, in a deal that closed May 12. Michael Cardente of Cardente Real Estate represented the buyer and Vince Ciampi of CBRE|The Boulos Co. represented the seller, DVD LLC.

"One of the things that were a driving force for [the buyer] was the fact that he sees a lot of potential in Biddeford," said Cardente. "With the Pepperell Mill redevelopment and other development, he feels it's a strong place to invest, with a lot of upside."

The buyer is a Portland-based developer who has several commercial properties in Greater Portland.

"As vibrant or as hot as the Portland market is, a lot of investors are looking outside of Portland for a better return on their investments," said Cardente. "The other piece of it is that Saco, Scarborough, Kennebunk — all the towns surrounding Biddeford — have seen tremendous growth and low vacancy and increasing property values. So when he looked at this, he said, This is an area where things are starting to improve, and that trend will continue."

The two single-story buildings are fully leased, to a Rent-A-Center and the Biddeford Food Pantry. The Rent-A-Center building was built in 1910 and renovated in 2007. The food pantry building goes back to 1940.

The property was on the market for three months, which is about average for this type of commercial retail space, said seller's rep Ciampi. The seller decided to put the property on the market in order to consolidate some of his holdings closer to Portland, he said.

The buildings are in good shape, but the buyer plans to do some renovation and upgrades if and when the current tenants leave, said Cardente.

As described by Mainebiz in April, Biddeford is undergoing what some have called a "Biddesance," with historic buildings undergoing redevelopment for mixed and residential uses, and great potential for further development.

Elm Street is the section of Route 1 leading to the downtown, where re-purposing of historic buildings has brought in a lot of local retail, restaurants and service businesses on the first floors, said Cardente. "There's not a tremendous amount of pedestrian traffic yet. But there's a lot going on. How far they've come in the last five or 10 years has been huge."

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