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May 10, 2024

Despite delay, Portland funeral home starts on $3.6M expansion

rendering of building with sign and landscaping Courtesy / Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Homes Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Homes began construction of a new facility at 300 Allen Ave. in Portland’s North Deering neighborhood.

Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Homes has begun construction of a new facility at 300 Allen Ave. in Portland’s North Deering neighborhood.

The $3.6 million project is a ground-up construction on nearly two acres.

“We are all really excited about this project and the positive impact it will have on the Greater Portland community,” co-owner Adam Walker told Mainebiz. 

The construction team includes Benchmark Construction, Harriman Architecture and Design and Gorrill-Palmer Consulting Engineers. The project is being financed by Norway Savings Bank. 

Longtime Greater Portland connections

Conroy-Tully Funeral Homes was founded in 1959 by John Conroy and his brother-in-law Ralph Tully. The original facility was located at 15 Deering St.

In 1960, the firm purchased the R.J. Duddy and Sons Funeral Home at 172 State St. and moved the firm there. It continues to serve today as the main office.

In 1990, the firm opened a branch location in South Portland at 1024 Broadway. The new facility was a state-of-the-art full-service facility designed to serve the Greater Portland community. 

After a succession of owners, Adam Walker and his wife Caitlin bought the business in 2014.

The 172 State St. location was built in 1847 by Thomas O'Brion as a Greek Revival home. It has ample, accessible parking in two large parking lots with a parking capacity of over 70 vehicles. In 2015, the company undertook a substantial redecorating project designed to maintain the building's historical integrity while offering updated, comfortable surroundings.

The 1024 Broadway location was built in 1990 and serves as a chapel with capacity for approximately 250 people. In 2015, it underwent a large room conversion, providing a more spacious and comfortable lounge for receptions.

What's planned

The 300 Allen Ave. location will be a 9,899-square-foot modern facility aiming to redefine funeral home experiences and provide amenities tailored for comfort and convenience: 

  • Spacious gathering areas for formal services or intimate gatherings. 
  • Dedicated reception area with an outdoor patio. 
  • Partnerships with local caterers for food and drink services. 
  • Two private arrangement offices for personalized planning. 
  • State-of-the-art care center ensuring dignity for decedents and safety for staff. 
  • Employee areas fostering a supportive work environment. 
  • Ample off-street parking, including courtesy spaces at night and weekends from Bangor Savings Bank. 

“We will likely be closing our State Street location at some point in the future, but we have not yet determined when that will be,” said Walker. “It's such a hard decision to make because our State Street location has served Portland as a funeral home for nearly 100 years. It's a beautiful old building, but the rooms are small, and we have very little parking.”

aerial rendering of building, parking lot and greenery
Courtesy / Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Homes
The ground-up construction on nearly two acres includes spacious gathering areas, a dedicated reception area with an outdoor patio, private arrangement offices, a care center, employee areas and ample off-street parking.

The State Street building itself is just over 8,000 square feet, but the public areas are only 2,500 square feet. 

“If we do decide to close our State Street location, we will communicate very clearly to the community as well as any families who have prepaid funerals with us,” Walker continued. 

Walker said that the funeral home’s former owners, Paul Tully and Christopher Crawford, endorsed the project through supportive mentorship, ensuring the preservation of the firm's history and values. 

The project was originally slated for completion in October 2024. But unforeseen permitting delays extended the timeline and the new completion date is expected in the fall of 2025.  

The goal of the new location is to establish a new standard in Maine as a funeral, cremation and memorial event center. 

“Our new facility will be able to accommodate a diverse range of ceremonies, from elaborate traditional funerals complete with food and drink to intimate family farewells,” said Walker. 

“Often, families engage a funeral home to handle the cremation or burial of a loved one, only to then seek out separate venues like restaurants or hotels for receptions or celebrations of life,” he said. “With our new facility, families can consolidate all aspects of their event planning under one roof, resulting in significant cost savings and the added benefit of professional guidance and convenience." 

Said Walker, “We are excited to continue the legacy in our enhanced and innovative facilities.” 

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