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December 18, 2017

Neighborly deal for a Westbrook site features flexible leaseback terms

Courtesy / Roxanne Cole Commercial Real Estate
Courtesy / Roxanne Cole Commercial Real Estate
1 Karen Drive in Westbrook, a 13,360-square-foot building on 2.26 acres, sold for $1.18 million to a neighboring business.

WESTBROOK — The sale of 1 Karen Drive in Westbrook is a great example of how long-time relationships between buyer and seller can reduce the stress of a commercial transaction when the seller wants its business to continue occupancy after the sale.

Just off Route 22, 1 Karen Drive consists of a 13,360-square-foot office/flex building on 2.26 acres. Joe Disanza of One Karen Drive LLC purchased the property for $1.18 million in a deal that closed Nov. 21.

The sellers, Will Vercoe and Dick Page of FPV LLC, also owned Offtech New England, which has been operating at 1 Karen Drive for 27 years.

Established 32 years ago, Offtech sells and services large-format and print finishing systems to major commercial printers in New England, employing 13.

An engineering company also leases space in the building, and there is currently 1,792 square feet of vacant office space.

The transaction was brokered by Roxane Cole of Roxane Cole Commercial Real Estate LLC. She also represented the sellers.

Long-time neighbors strike a deal

Courtesy / Roxanne Cole Commercial Real Estate
Courtesy / Roxanne Cole Commercial Real Estate
The sellers of 1 Karen Drive in Westbrook, Will Vercoe and Dick Page of FPV LLC, also own Offtech New England, which has been operating at that location for 27 years. Established 32 years ago, Offtech sells and services large-format and print finishing systems to major commercial printers in New England, employing 13. A leaseback agreement with the buyer will allow it to remain at that location under flexible terms.

Vercoe and Disanaza know each other because Disanza owns the neighboring property, at 3 Karen Drive. Cole said Disanza had expressed interest in purchasing 1 Karen Drive in the past.

"I told the sellers a 'for sale' sign would receive a lot of attention and the activity would be brisk," said Cole. "It's a very good location with great visibility and a flexible layout that works for a lot of different types of businesses. Upon learning about the dynamics of this fast-paced commercial market, and the fact that the property would be of great interest to owner-users wanting to occupy the Offtech space, the sellers decided that staying in place after the sale with flexible leaseback terms was the right answer for their situation."

Unlike many leasebacks where longer lease terms are a prerequisite of the transaction, Cole said that Disanza offered terms that gave the sellers the flexibility they needed.

"As long-term neighbors, the buyer and sellers liked the idea of creating a business relationship at 1 Karen Drive that met real estate goals for both parties," she said.

The outcome was a three-year leaseback, with a two-year extension option for 6,000 square feet of office space and a one-year term with options for 3,000 square feet of warehouse space for Offtech New England.

Flexible leaseback terms

At 3 Karen Drive, Disanza ran Maine Contract Flooring until he sold it in 2016 to an employee group. He also continues to run a lighting business there, Sebago Energy Conservation.

"Will and I are abutters on these commercial properties, and I said to him, 'If you ever consider selling this place, I'd love to talk with you about it,'" Disanza said.

Disanza said he was interested in 1 Karen Drive as an investment property that would generate income and eventually allow him to retire.

Vercoe said that when he decided to sell the property in an excellent seller's market, he reached out to Disanza. Both said that, since they already knew each other, negotiations went smoothly.

"There wasn't a lot of the typical game-playing — the jockeying for the bigger price," said Disanza.

For Vercoe, the leaseback is a way to continue his company in the same building and allow him to phase out as he prepares for retirement — "without the drama of a new owner coming in and saying, 'You've got to go,'" he said.

He continued, "We're not nickel and diming it. This is big money. Joe is my neighbor. I knew him. That was important in the sale."

Vercoe had high praise for Cole.

"She's a great Realtor," he said. "She dots the I's and crosses the T's."

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