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May 25, 2018

ReVision Energy to consolidate in newly purchased South Portland building

Courtesy / CBRE | The Boulos Co.
Courtesy / CBRE | The Boulos Co.
758 Westbrook St. in South Portland will become Revision Energy's new headquarters.

The solar energy installer ReVision Energy has purchased a 26,924-square-foot building, at 758 Westbrook St. in South Portland, to consolidate its operations and relocate its regional headquarters.

Ty Hobbs of CBRE | The Boulos Co. and David S. Tropp of CBRE | Chicago represented the seller, and Vince Ciampi of Porta & Co. represented the buyer in the deal, which closed April 19.

According to ReVision co-founder Phil Coupe, the purchase price was $1.1 million and the company is planning to invest at least $1 million in renovations.

The building is on 5.9 acres and was built in 1935. Bangor Savings Bank financed the acquisition and renovation and Bernstein Shur did the legal work, ReVision Energy co-founder Fortunat Mueller told Mainebiz via email.

Tight inventory

The company had been looking for space since early 2017, investigating a variety of options to accommodate ReVision Energy's growing Portland operations, which are currently spread across a couple different office spaces and at least four different warehouses because the company has outgrown its existing space on Presumpscot Street, wrote Mueller. The company looked for space available to lease, space to buy, as well as opportunities to build to suit (either on the company's own or with a developer).

"What we found is that existing inventory is very scarce and that building to suit was likely cost-prohibitive for us," Mueller wrote. "I think we got pretty lucky with the property we have landed on, because we had only started focusing on an outright purchase of an existing building a month or so before the property came on the market in December."

The parameters for a new space, he wrote, included being in Greater Portland, with South Portland, Scarborough, Falmouth and Westbrook included in the search. The requirements for a building were a mix of warehouse, office and customer showroom/education space.

"We were looking for a minimum of 10,000 to 12,000 square feet of warehouse and at least 5,000 square feet of office, and ideally with additional room to grow," he wrote. "For the warehouse our most important requirement is large truck access (for incoming deliveries), and easy/quick highway access for our install crews to make it out the door in the morning to serve our customers. For the customer space, we were looking for a space that is easy to get to and inviting."

Unique character

Courtesy / Barrett Made
Courtesy / Barrett Made
Conceptual rendering of ReVision's new headquarters in South Portland.

The building at 758 Westbrook St. is the former home of Pactive Corp., a manufacturer of disposable food packaging.

ReVision says the former Pactiv building is a unique property that fits its needs very well, with a mix of office and warehouse space and easy access to Interstates 95 and 295 and a building that was "in fairly good shape overall."

The company plans a six-month renovation and expects to move into the space early in 2019.

"We like the property for its functionality and location, but also because it has a bit of a unique character and isn't just a soulless metal box," Mueller wrote. "The oldest part of the building is a farm house and attached barn that dates back to the early part of the 20th century and which has had a series of commercial warehouse type buildings added to it over time."

ReVision is working with Barrett Made in Portland to develop a renovation plan to turn the barn, which was more or less unused by the previous owner, into a customer showroom and education space to highlight clean energy technology that ReVision installs for customers, including solar, heat pumps, energy storage, EV charging and LED lighting. The space will be made available to community groups and nonprofits looking for meeting space, Mueller wrote.

ReVision currently has two facilities in Portland, at 142 Presumpscot St. and 55 Bell St.

Speaking with Mainebiz by phone, Coupe said getting all of ReVision's employee-owners under one roof will promote team cohesiveness and will make operations more efficient.

"We'll have the ability to collaborate in close physical proximity on innovative ideas," Coupe said. "That's much easier to do under one roof than it is split between two buildings."

The two spaces comprise about 15,000 square feet. The new space will nearly double that.

A major part of the renovation is installing insulation, solar energy and other clean-energy systems the company is known for, Coupe said.

No. 1 solar installer in New England

ReVision has 225 employees in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts and continues to hire, said Coupe. On its website, seven jobs are posted specifically for southern Maine, 11 in total for all of Maine, and 21 in total across Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Since 2003, the company has installed more than 7,000 clean energy systems in the region along with a rapidly growing network of electric vehicle charging stations.

Among its largest projects, in 2017 the company installed 3,000 solar panels atop South Portland's capped landfill.

The company was named the No. 1 Rooftop Solar Installer in New England by Solar Power Industry magazine in September 2017.

In 2015, ReVision Energy became a certified B Corp, an official designation that the business is trying to create maximum positive societal impact rather than the traditional approach of maximizing shareholder returns. In 2017, the company converted to 100% employee ownership.

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