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Updated: January 31, 2022

Buyer sees big value in little seaside village of Northeast Harbor

3 little buildings with signs and flag Courtesy / Carter's Real Estate

Three little buildings and half of a Masonic Hall, on Main Street in the midcoast village of Northeast Harbor, represent big value for the buyer.

Kim Swan bought 115, 117 and 119 Main St. as a package from Adaptive Preservation Inc. for $650,000.

Swan bought 112 Main St. from Northeast Harbor Lodge No. 208 for $650,000.

Swan, owner of Swan Agency Real Estate and a 2019 Mainebiz Women to Watch honoree, and Katrina Carter of Carter's Real Estate brokered the deal.

“I see great value in Northeast Harbor,” said Swan.

Northeast Harbor is a village within the town of Mount Desert, one of four towns on Mount Desert Island. Situated near Acadia National Park, Northeast Harbor, which has a population of about 500 year-round residents, depends on tourists to patronize galleries, restaurants, music venues and other cultural offerings.

An enclave perhaps touted most as a favorite summer home of the nation's wealthy, the economy — anchored by Main Street and a town marina — is partially propelled by a robust tax base and the seasonal services required to tend mansions and yachts.

A turn to retail

Swan is a long-time investor in the lodging sector who in recent years has been consolidating investments closer to her home base in Bar Harbor.

She said she’s turned her eye toward retail as a more passive investment that doesn’t require as much day-to-day involvement.

115-119 Main St.

115-119 Main St. consists of three separate income-producing buildings on a single parcel of land located in the village’s downtown. The three shops have strong rental histories. The wood-frame buildings, totaling 2,882 square feet, date back at least a century.

The building at 115 Main St. was occupied for a while by a Friends of Acadia pop-up shop but was vacant when Swan bought it. Next door at 117 Main St. is a seasonal Maine-made artisan co-op called Maine Gifts By The Sea; 119 Main St. houses another artist co-op, Island Artisans.

“When I was a little girl, 115 Main St. was the fish market and everyone in town will still call it the fish market,” said Carter, who represented the seller and whose real estate firm is also on Main Street.

The market was likely built in the late 1890s, said Willie Granston, Carter’s son and an aficionado of Northeast Harbor history who is a board member of the local Great Harbor Maritime Museum and a doctoral student in architectural history at Boston University.

“It was run by one family as a fish market for nearly 100 years, I’m sure,” said Granston.

The shop at 117 Main St. likely dates back to around 1900 and may have been moved to the site from another location, said Granston. It housed a barbershop at one time.

3 little buildings with signs and flag
Courtesy / Carter's Real Estate

“I remember going there to get my bangs cut,” said Carter.

The building at 119 Main St. was rebuilt from an earlier structure at one time, said Granston. It is one of Main Street’s earliest buildings, likely dating back to the 1880s.

Locals remember it as “Mrs. Preaver’s shop,” said Carter.

“She sold handmade sweaters and pie and bread and sweets and yarn,” Carter recalled.

“What’s amazing about Main Street, Northeast Harbor, is that the buildings have been fairly stable until recent years,” said Granston. “A building in the 1950s looks the same as the 1970s which looks the same as the 2000s. I think that gives people comfort. You know the same buildings will be there. Those three buildings are quintessential.”

The properties quickly went under contract after they were listed for sale.

“They’re great pieces of property, a big piece of Main Street, geographically,” said Carter.

Swan said she bought the package as a strong investment in solid structures with two long-time tenants and a lease about to be signed to install a wine shop in the vacant location this summer.

112 Main St.

The Masonic Lodge at 112 Main St. was built in 1929. 

From the street, it looks like the building houses both 112 Main St. and a retail shop at 114 Main St.

But the two addresses are really two buildings because they’re separated by a wall, said Carter. 

big building with post office and store
Courtesy / Carter's Real Estate
Bar Harbor real estate investor and broker Kim Swan bought 112 Main St., the left side of this building.

The ground floor of 112 Main St. houses a post office and a boat brokerage owned by Lyman-Morse, a boatbuilding firm headquartered in Thomaston. The second and third floors were used by the Masonic Lodge, who activities had dropped off in recent years, said Carter. 

In all, 112 Main St. is three stories and 9,390 square feet.

The post office and boat brokerage will remain. Swan said she hasn’t determined uses for the upper stories yet.

As a local business owner, Carter said she’s excited to see Swan investments. 

“It will invigorate the community,” she predicted.

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February 1, 2022

Fun to read this. Mrs. Pervear's (Preaver's?) Shop is where I sold my first cakes while in high school. The first time dad gave me the keys to the car after I got my license, I drove to the Post Office and Katrina was a high school classmate.

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