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April 8, 2022

A Casco Bay island sells for $5.35M to team behind Portland development firm

aerial of island Courtesy / Legacy Properties Sotheby's International Realty The northern half of House Island, in Casco Bay, was marketed as a potential personal compound and luxury hospitality and event venue.

Casco Bay islands are having a moment. 

Last fall, the 86-acre Hope Island and its family compound sold for $7 million.

Now the 12-acre northern half of House Island, located in the center of Portland Harbor, has gone for $5.35 million.

House Island was acquired by House Island Holdings LLC, an affiliate of PF Capital Fund. PF Capital fund is an investment vehicle for the Portland Foreside projects. 

Casey Prentice and Kevin Costello are the managing partners of the PF Capital Fund and Portland Foreside Projects. 

Prentice is also the president of the Prentice Organization and Prentice Hospitality Group, which own and operate a portfolio of Portland properties that include Chebeague Island Inn, EVO Kitchen + Bar, Twelve, a restaurant slated to open this summer on Thames Street in Portland, and Portland-based catering company 58 Culinary. 

Foreside Development is developing a mixed-use neighborhood along the eastern waterfront that it calls Portland Foreside. The project features the adaptive reuse of nearly 2 acres of former Portland Co. buildings dating back to the 1860s. Foreside Development also developed Fore Points Marina as part of the Portland Foreside project. 

“Ultimately the match with Prentice and his team was perfect,” Beth Taylor of Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty said in a news release. “Since taking over ownership of Chebeague Island Inn in 2010, Prentice Hospitality Group has showcased a bespoke approach to Maine hospitality by renovating and maintaining historical structures and infusing them with contemporary amenities.”

The sellers bought the northern half of the 27-acre, hourglass-shaped island in 2014 and began renovating its three original homes, which date to 1907, as well as adding a caretaker’s barn with solar power. Power and public water were also trenched over from Peaks Island as part of upgrading the property.

entry with stairs
Courtesy / Legacy Properties Sotheby's International Realty

The seller renovated three 1907 homes. The buyer owns a Portland hospitality group.

The north half of the island has 3,980 feet of usable ocean frontage, five sandy beaches, the three renovated homes, a barn with caretaker’s quarters, and a 375-foot deep water commercial-grade pier. 

The property was marketed as a potential personal compound and luxury hospitality and event venue.

“In order to find the right fit, we needed to cast a broad and creative net while marketing House Island to both residential and commercial buyers,” said Taylor, who represented the sellers. “There was strong interest from several large families looking for a private retreat, as well as in-state and out-of-state hospitality groups.”

The southern half of the island is home to Fort Scammel, a fortress constructed in 1808 and used to protect Portland during the War of 1812 and the Civil War. 

The island was also used as a quarantine way-station for immigrants from 1907 to 1937, earning the nickname Ellis Island of the North.

House Island was designated a historic district by the Portland City Council in 2015, which means that the Portland Historic Preservation Board must review any improvement applications in order to manage change.

“This includes any new construction, to ensure that it is compatible and sensitive in design, scale, and quality of materials to what is already there,” Taylor said. “Local historic district designation also provides long-term protection for the historic resources on the island, protections that transcend the ownership of the land.”

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