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Updated: December 7, 2020

Bolstered by tenant Abbott Labs, Westbrook property's sales value soars $14M

COURTESY / HARNDEN COMMERCIAL BROKERS A 126,072-square-foot industrial building at 5 Bradley Drive in Westbrook sold in November for $22.75 million, six months after it was acquired for $8.75 million.

In May, Calare Properties Inc., a Boston real estate investment firm, bought a 126,072-square-foot industrial building in Westbrook for $8.75 million.

Six months later, Calare netted $14 million when it sold the 5 Bradley Drive property, in Westbrook’s Five Star Industrial Park, for $22.75 million.

Calare sold the property to North River Roque LLC, which is a joint venture partnership between North River Co. LLC and Roque Island Capital.  

Jon Rizzo and John Meador of the Boulos Co., along with Roy Sandeman, Chris Skeffinton and Tim Mulhall of CBRE, represented the seller in the deal. TC Haffenreffer of NAI The Dunham Group represented the buyer. The deal closed Nov. 9.

The property is 100% leased on a triple-net basis to Abbott Diagnostic Scarborough Inc.

Triple net means the lessee pays all real estate taxes, building insurance and maintenance in addition to normal fees such as rent and utilities.

The building sold for $180 per square foot, setting a record in the market, according to a news release from the Boulos Co.

The property sits on 14.72 acres and has approvals in place for an expansion of approximately 80,000 square feet.

Entry point

Calare bought the property, a former Olympia Sports warehouse, in May as an entry point into Maine’s industrial real estate market. The Boston-based investor paid $8.75 million, $250,000 above asking price.

Calare liked the property’s features, such as heated and cooled warehouse space, 30-foot clear height and wide column spacing, as well as the potential to expand. 

The building was vacant, but Calare immediately signed a long-term lease with Abbott Diagnostic, a high-credit tenant that leased the entire building to ramp up production of its rapid test for COVID-19.

Abbott Diagnostic is a subsidiary of Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT), one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical and medical device companies. 

The 5 Bradley Drive lease was one of two transactions Abbott Laboratories completed as part of its expansion. Abbott leased another 68,818 square feet and 16 acres at 7 Manson Libby Road in Scarborough. 

Back on the market

Calare put 5 Bradley back on the market in July. The company is now planning to build a 160,000-square-foot Class A distribution facility at 45 Industrial Park Road in Saco. 

“Calare is very bullish on the southern Maine market, and this is their next step,” Rizzo said in the release. “The facility they’re planning will have 38 loading dock doors and up to 60-foot clear height. That’s unique for this market, and it won’t be the first. We’re working with them to identify additional properties to add to their Maine portfolio.” 

According to the release, Calare isn’t alone. Portland is on the radar with real estate investors. Demand is partially due to shifting geodemographics: People want to live in southern Maine. The pandemic and the need to work at home have reinforced the trend. E-commerce businesses are rethinking the market for final-mile distribution centers. The trend is expected to drive new construction. 

Calare was founded in 2003 and is focused on acquiring and managing warehouse, manufacturing, research and flex-office assets, primarily in the Northeast. Calare has led the acquisition of over 18.5 million square feet of properties, representing $850 million in real estate transactions through funds, direct deals and a multi-asset portfolio.

North River Co.

North River Co. LLC is a privately held real estate investment and management firm based in New York City, according to its website

It owns and operates over 3.75 million square feet of mixed-use properties and over 300 acres of ground-up development in New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Colorado and California. 

The 5 Bradley Drive property is operated by North River’s Maine-based management team.

In December 2019, the Central Maine Growth Council present its annual Developer of the Year award to North River Co., owner of the Lockwood Mill complex in downtown Waterville. The company is undertaking major projects in both Portland and Waterville.

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