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October 3, 2018

Oxford industrial space gets two new tenants

Photo / Maureen Milliken
Photo / Maureen Milliken
The buildings at 15 Madison Ave. (foreground) and 17 Madison Ave., back, in Oxford, were recently leased to a pie company and an indoor sports program.

Two industrial spaces on Madison Avenue in Oxford will have new tenants, a rare win for an area where large industrial spaces tend to go empty.

A 14,832-square-foot former warehouse at 15 Madison Ave. will become the new home to Valley View Orchard Pie Co., which has operated out of smaller space in Hebron.

The adjacent building in the small industrial cluster, 17 Madison Ave., is being leased by Warrior Sports Club, which provides indoor sports activities for local youths.

Tim Millett, leasing agent for the landlord, said the new leases are important for the area, though it's a coincidence they both happened at the same time.

Oxford, while home to the Oxford Casino and the Oxford Speedway, is at least a half-hour drive from the nearest exit on the Maine Turnpike, as well as from Lewiston-Auburn, where the market for industrial space has been picking up in the last year or two.

He said the distance is too far for many industrial users, even at a discounted leasing rate — the average rate in the Lewiston-Auburn area is $5.50 a square foot for industrial space, in Oxford it's $3.

"That's a pretty serious discount," Millett said Tuesday.

He said that while some L-A area users have shown interest in Oxford space, the extra commute for employees is also a factor.

"They felt if they took advantage of the discount and did move to Oxford, they might lose some employees," he said.

He said most of the interest in the town's space comes from businesses in the area.

Good location

Photo / Maureen Milliken
Photo / Maureen Milliken
The Madison Avenue industrial cluster in Oxford, a left at this intersection, is on a busy stretch of Route 26.

Millett said the proximity to Route 26, Oxford's business artery and the main Route from Portland to the Bethel area, makes the buildings a good location for both businesses.

The site, which has half a dozen small industrial buildings, is across Pottle Street, from a large business cluster that includes Ocean State Job Lot, Dollar General, and a variety of other businesses.

The area is also close to the entrance of the Oxford County Fairgrounds, and several miles north of the Oxford Casino.

The two Madison Avenue buildings are owned by Oxford Route 26 LLC, and the building at 15 Madison Ave. was on the market for a year and a half, Millett said. The 38-year-old steel frame building has been vacant on and off for years, and its most recent tenant was an auction house, Millett said.

Valley View Orchard Pies, which was founded by the Kroitzsh family in Greenland, N.H., in 1975, and has operated from their orchard in Hebron since 1991. It was sold last month.

The company does mostly wholesale business, but Millett said it may have a small retail presence in the new location. The new owners Wednesday said they'll be ready to talk about plans once they are more solidified.

The Warrior Sports Group center at 17 Madison Ave. is being sponsored by Ripley and Fletcher Ford, Millett said.

The building has 25-foot clear ceilings. "The dimensions work great for volleyball, basketball," he said.

The building is in the same complex as the Oxford Hills Middle School South Campus.

"There's a need [for youth activities] in the area, and it's in a good location for it," Millett said.

Lots for sale

Photo / Maureen Milliken
Photo / Maureen Milliken
The sprawling former National Wood Products building on Route 26 is one of many for sale on the stretch of road.

While there has been some new business activity surrounding the casino, which opened in 2012, Millett said that hasn't moved north on Route 26, the main artery from Portland to the Bethel area, into the rest of Oxford.

Town officials last year reported that the casino provides an economic boost, but Millett said it hasn't generated widespread economic activity. A Hampton Inn was built across the road from it in 2016, and a new hotel at the casino opened last year.

"There has been some activity immediately surrounding the casino," he said. "But when you get outside of it, there are [real estate] signs everywhere."

The property for sale includes more than 100 acres being marketed by Keller Williams Realty for Thurlow Family LLC.

One significant property closer to town listed by CBRE | The Boulos Co. is the former National Wood Products of Maine property across Route 26 from the speedway.

The sprawling complex has 68,175 square feet of space on 15.23 acres.

"It's really going to take a special user," Millett said. He said a buyer could also deconstruct some of the property, which includes building add-ons.

The property has been vacant for more than a year, he said.

It's one of several for sale in the six-mile stretch between the business area where Madison Avenue is and the casino, an area dotted with farms, businesses like flea markets and home construction firms, a Wal-Mart and New Balance Factory Outlet. Property for sale includes industrial buildings and old houses, large empty plots of land and even a former snow

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