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Updated: July 26, 2021

Buyers of Poland plaza see opportunity to fill retail, restaurant gap

3 buildings and parking lot Courtesy / The Fletcher Group at Keller Williams Realty Poland Crossing is on Route 26, a busy thoroughfare for local and tourist traffic.

The buyers of a three-building shopping center in Poland are working to fill two vacancies as part of a plan to fill gaps in the community's retail and restaurant offerings.

STJ Real Estate LLC bought the plaza, at 1385 Maine St., from JTK Holdings LLC for $2.54 million. 

Kevin Fletcher and Patrick Casalinova of the Fletcher Group at Keller Williams Realty and Drew Sigfridson of the Boulos Co. brokered the deal.

The shopping center is known as Poland Crossing. Tenants include Family Dollar, Dunkin Donuts, Subway, Northeast Bank and others. The property was marketed as an opportunity for retail, gym or medical use. The center serves both local and tourist markets and receives over 20,000 visits a day, according to the marketing brochure. 

In this Androscoggin County town of 5,300, Maine Street is the local name for Route 26, a major thoroughfare for year-round travelers to and from southern and western Maine. Destinations in the region include Oxford Casino and Sunday River and Mt. Abram ski resorts. Poland itself offers recreation opportunities such as lake activities, golf, hiking, snowmobiling and ATV trails.

Exit strategy

“This was an interesting transaction,” said Fletcher, who represented the seller, a California investor who bought the property in 2014 for $3 million, he said. It was developed in 2008.

“She put the property back on the market in late 2019,” he said.

Fletcher and Casalinova fielded a few offers. But when the pandemic hit, they pulled it off the market and explored other options, such as turning the plaza into a commercial condominium project. They were working on that option when Sigfridson reached out with a potential buyer with an offer to buy as-is, he said.

Courtesy / The Fletcher Group at Keller Williams Realty
National tenants anchor the well-maintained shopping center.

“It was technically off-market at the time,” Fletcher said. “We shared with them our pending exit strategy, which we had projected would yield the seller more money. But Drew’s folks came in with a strong offer and we accepted.”

The offer was indicative of the strong investment market, due to a lot of investor capital, low interest rates, investor demand and consumer confidence, he said.

The property is in excellent condition and has been professionally maintained, he added. 

“It’s a Class A retail project,” he said.

Upside potential

The retail center consists of three buildings totaling 19,893 square feet with high visibility and a national anchor tenant in Family Dollar, along with four other credit retail tenants.

The center draws significant traffic volume, according to a Boulos Co. news release.

The buyers are based locally and have ties to Poland and Thompson Lake. 

They see the opportunity to fill a gap in retail and restaurant opportunities for the community, as they work to attract additional tenants to occupy two vacancies in the center. 

The Boulos Co. will be working with the new owners to bring new tenants into the shopping center. It’s considered an opportunity for quick-service restaurants, salons, convenience and liquor stores, health care facilities and more.

The investment was a 1031 tax-deferred exchange. 

The buyers sold a 2,235-square-foot building on St. John Street in Portland. Sigfridson was involved in the sale of that property, then conducted a search throughout Maine for the second half of the 1031 exchange. 

The shopping center is expected to provide significantly more cash flow and upside potential on rents, net income and future appreciation, according to Boulos.

“The sale of a small building and acquisition of three larger buildings is similar to a game-winning strategy in Monopoly,” said Sigfridson.

“This was an opportunity to sell a substantially appreciated asset and buy into a much larger property with more upside potential and significantly more annual income. The long-term prospects are excellent because the buyers know what is lacking in the Poland community and we will help fill the gaps in the market.”

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