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September 6, 2018

Portland's iconic Time & Temperature Building will be sold at auction

Courtesy / RealINSIGHT Marketplace
Courtesy / RealINSIGHT Marketplace
Portland's historic 14-story Time and Temperature Building is headed for the auction block, with a starting bid of $2.75 million.

At a glance

The asset snapshot for the upcoming Time & Temperature Building auction says the property size is 157,492 square feet on 1.86 acres. The property consists of four buildings. The parking garage can handle 340 vehicles. The property is 38% occupied.

The historic Time & Temperature Building, built in 1924 near Monument Square in downtown Portland, is headed for the auction block with a starting bid of $2.75 million.

According to the offering notice on the RealINSIGHT Marketplace page of property owner CWCapital Asset Management, the sale is scheduled to start Oct. 9 at noon and end Oct. 11 at 12:50 p.m. The sale includes the Time and Temperature Building and Monument Square Parking Garage, at 477-481 Congress St., 22 Preble St. and 45 Brown St.

Though the 14-story office building is due for an updating, it's being touted for its central location.

"The property's unparalleled location in the heart of Monument Square, steps away from the vibrant Old Port, coupled with a surge in Portland commercial real estate and favorable in place zoning, creates an exceptional opportunity," the notice says, adding the property is ideal for developers in search of the location, visibility and physical specifications needed to create a first-class development.

Matthew Cardente, president of Cardente Real Estate in Portland, is the local broker handling the building's showings, which must be arranged by appointment or during the scheduled pre-auction showing dates.

"It's a great opportunity for redevelopment," he told Mainebiz. "We've already had a substantial amount of interest from local and national investors."

Some spaces on the first floor have great potential for being retail and/or food use, he said.

Cardente is conducting an initial public walkthrough of the building today, from noon to 3 p.m. He's scheduled additional pre-auction showing dates:

  • Friday, Sept. 7, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 12, noon-3 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 13, 9:30- 11:30 a.m.

He said he plans to announce more showings after that.

"The building needs a strong investor/developer," Cardente said. He added that he has his own personal connection to the building: "Since I was a kid, I've been embedded with the time and temperature sign flashing there," he said. "So it's very well-known building. I think it's going to be an exciting opportunity for the city, and it's an exciting opportunity for a developer to come in and to do some renovations and to mix up the tenant base a little bit."

Some interested parties have mentioned possible residential uses in the building, he said; other have talked about sticking with the current uses, or possibly revamping the ground floor as a retail arcade.

The building's period details include a vintage bank clock, hand-painted ceilings, stained-glass windows, woodwork and a period brass mailbox.

"It's one of the most well-known building in the Portland area and maybe even in southern Maine," Cardente said. "It's the most noticeable part of the Portland skyline. There's a lot of history in there. It's a primo location and, with the real estate market being so strong, I suspect there will be a strong local, regional or national developer who comes in and brings some life back to it."

The property, which the auction notice said is 38% occupied, is branded as a "prime conversion opportunity." Multifamily, office and hotel uses are allowed under current zoning, according to the notice, which added that the Portland region is experiencing an "unprecedented surge in demand for housing, both rental and for sale product."

The notice also characterized the property as an excellent opportunity for office headquarters in the heart of downtown Portland.

A downtown landmark

Courtesy / RealINSIGHT Marketplace
Courtesy / RealINSIGHT Marketplace
An interior view at the Time & Temperature Building in downtown Portland.

According to a January 2016 blog called What's Up Downtown on the Portland Downtown website, the Time & Temperature Building at that time housed more than 100 businesses, ranging from law firms, nonprofits, tech companies and retailers.

Originally known as The Chapman Building, it's one of Portland's tallest buildings, just behind the 16-floor Franklin Towers and the 15-floor Back Bay Tower. The rooftop sign flashes the time and temperature.

In November 2017, the Bangor Daily News reported that Portland officials informed the Maryland-based owner, CWCapital Asset Management, that the building failed a safety inspection, due to the lack of sprinklers and smoke detectors on many floors. The building "had been hemorrhaging tenants and had fallen into disrepair even before it was foreclosed on last year," the newspaper reported.

According to its website, CWCapital is headquartered in Bethesda, Md. It provides acquisition and valuation services, asset management and real estate services.

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