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January 28, 2019

Three-building investment signals confidence in South Portland's Knightville

Courtesy / NAI The Dunham Group
Courtesy / NAI The Dunham Group
The buyer of 169, 171 and 173 Ocean St. in South Portland sees the purchase as a great value-add proposition.

The purchase of three adjoining buildings in the Mill Creek section of South Portland's Knightville is seen by the buyer as a value-added opportunity in an up-and-coming South Portland neighborhood.

Double S Investments/Cashflow I-Q bought 169, 171 and 173 Ocean St. from 171/173 Ocean Street Properties LLC for $1.3 million. Sam LeGeyt and Chris Craig from NAI The Dunham Group brokered the sale, which closed Nov. 5.

The portfolio, half a block from Mill Creek Park, comprises 14,234 square feet of space as well as a 35-car parking lot.

The buildings are fully occupied. A portion of the property dates to 1900; another portion was built in 1962.

"It went under contract to a developer right away, and then came out of contract during due diligence due to some of the longer-term leases in place," said LeGeyt, who represented the seller.

In the end, the property sold after being on the market for a total of about four months, he said.

"It was a great time to sell because of the strength of the market and this submarket specifically," he said.

LeGeyt said he saw a fair amount of interest both from investors and developers. The latter was likely because of zoning changes on increased height limits in the Mill Creek Core District, he said.

According to the ordinance, the district's zoning is designed to "allow for and encourage the development of mixed-use, multistory buildings as Mill Creek evolves into a pedestrian focused, higher density more downtown-like area."

Knightville and Mill Creek have had a lot of investor interest in general, LeGeyt said.

"When something comes up in this area, it tends to move pretty quickly," he said.

New foodie center

Courtesy / NAI The Dunham Group
Courtesy / NAI The Dunham Group
The Ocean Street property is in an evolving neighborhood in South Portland that's part of a commercial hub.

Double S Investments/Cashflow I-Q is owned by Tim Sanfino. Sanfino was born and raised in Portland and lives in Scarborough. He said he and his wife got into real estate investment in 2000.

"I've bought and sold many apartment buildings and some commercial," he said. He also holds leases and rents, and provides property management.

"My primary focus has always been the Portland market," he said.

He became interested South Portland as an evolving area.

"Portland is a hot spot for foodies," he said. "People love to go there, and it's become a charming, walkable city. I believe some of that is slowly spreading over the bridge to South Portland. There have been efforts in the past to grow that market. Knightville is a focal point that will become like a small Portland. I think it could become a little foodie center."

Sanfino said he will invest in upgrades to the buildings.

"They're average-quality properties," he said, adding that he'll start with exterior upgrades. He said he plans to work with existing tenants on a plan to do interior upgrades without disrupting them.

The buildings have 15 units. That includes three restaurants — Teriyaki Exchange, RJ's Pub and Uncle Andy's Diner; two residences; and 10 office suites.

Abundant parking was one of the big attractions of the properties, he said.

Sanfino said that, overall, he sees great potential for the neighborhood to become more upscale, although this particular location is somewhat constrained by having two shopping centers behind it.

"But you've seen already, over the last five to 10 years, there's been a lot of upscaling on the waterfront section in South Portland. I see that continuing," he said.

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