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July 14, 2021

Developer plans condos for 'luxury toys' at Cook's Corner

a rendering showing a fancy sports car and boat in a storage garage with a loft overhead that has a couch and flat screen tv Courtesy / GenX Capital Partners Motor Toys Luxury Vehicle Storage, planned for 105 Farley Road in Brunswick, not only has boat and car storage, but units will have a loft where owners can hang out.

Mark McClure had noticed on trips to Texas that the state had something Maine didn't — large climate-controlled condominiums to store boats and luxury cars.

Back home in Falmouth, he found neighbors always had to scramble to find storage, either full-time or seasonal, for their big toys.

If all goes as planned, the scrambling will be over sometime this fall. McClure, of GenX Capital Partners, is in the final approval steps of Motor Toys Luxury Vehicle Storage, at 105 Farley Road. The Cook's Corner 30-unit self-storage building like no other in Maine, or maybe even the upper East Coast.

"There's a big market for it," said McClure, speaking on the phone from a trip to Las Vegas where he was scoping out marketing and other technical aspects of similar condo buildings. "People have cars and boats that are expensive, but in Maine, they have nowhere to store them. I hear it all the time."

A separate, but nearby, development by McClure is also in the pipeline — 16 residential condominiums at 61 Farley Road with a first-floor brew pub and restaurant.

Greg Nisbet, a broker with EXP Realty, who's marketing both projects, said that while they are separate, they have some things in common. They're both unique projects with something that doesn't exist in the area, aimed at a specific market.

The luxury storage is a place where people can not only store, and work on, cars and boats, but also find a like-minded community to hang out with. The residential development takes aim at the remote-working professional crowd, and the two-bedroom units, which will be between 1,700 and 2,200 square feet, will also have dedicated office space separate from the bedrooms.

They're both for owners "who want to be in a fun community of like-minded people," Nisbet said.

a grouping of large garages around a paved landscaped courtyard
Courtesy / GenX Capital Partners
A rendering shows the planned Motor Toys Luxury Vehicle Storage condominiums planned for 105 Farley Road, in Brunswick.

A place to hang out

The storage condos are similar to units that are selling like hotcakes in places like Florida and Texas, McClure and Nisbet said. McClure said if the Brunswick condos catch on, it will be the template for similar ones in the Portland area, and down the North Atlantic coast.

If you're picturing a supersized version of the typical concrete-walled roll-door self-storage unit, reset your mental screen. The units have a 23-foot ceiling that includes loft space for lounging, with a flat screen TV and comfortable furniture. The main floor of the 25-by-32-foot units have a bathroom with a stand-up shower, bar and refrigerator. They have heat pumps for cooling in the summer and heating in the winter.

"It's a place people can hang out, fix the car, watch TV, watch the game, hang out with the guys or the girls," McClure said.

Nisbet said there's a market for a place people can "pursue their passion" without the distractions of home or work. He said the mezzanine area, shown in a rendering with a sectional couch and flat-screen TV, can also be used as a fitness area, or any other use the owner wants. The units will be wired for cable and wifi.

While the storage condos haven't been marketed yet, Nisbet said there has been a lot of interest, and they will work with owners who want to customize their units before construction is completed.

The condos are priced at $165,000 a unit, with a $200 monthly condo fee, McClure said. 

Nisbet said they're in talks with lenders about portfolio financing for buyers, since the model is unique and may be hard to categorize. He said that the market for them is hot enough that they expect equity to build quickly for owners.

"This is going to be a beautiful gated, secure community," Nisbet added. "It's not just a storage space."

The luxury condo storage developments McClure has looked at in Texas and Florida have hundreds of units. But he's starting out small. If the 30-unit Brunswick complex. "If it takes off, we'll expand," he said. 

He said as the project progresses to other markets, the mezzanine level may also include an outdoor balcony, and units will be larger to accomodate larger boats common to coastal areas south of Maine.

Brunswick is the perfect starting place for the first rendition, McClure said. It's close to the water, close to Portland but also the peninsulas where many boat-owners and summer residents have homes.

Courtesy / GenX Capital Partners
A rendering of a 16-unit apartment and brewpub complex planned for 61 Farley St., Brunswick, by GenX Capital Partners.

A residential alternative for professionals

The residential project, on a 1.2-acre lot that McClure expects to close on next month, will fill a need for the area that exists despite the hundreds of houses and apartments being built at nearby Brunswick Landing.

"This is a whole different animal," Nisbet said. "It's for middle to upper-class professionals who are tired of owning a house" and may be working from home. Nisbet said people working from home have had trouble carving out office space, often having to make an extra bedroom into an office. This plan provides that space, as well as a first-floor conference room that can be rented.

Nisbet said the access to the Coastal Connector and Interstate 295, as well as to nearby shopping and restaurants, should be a draw for the condos.

McClure is in talks with restaurant/brew pub tenants for the first-floor space.

Since the project hasn't gotten final plan approval, some specifics haven't yet been determined, but the developer doesn't see any major changes from what's been proposed.

Both projects still need final Brunswick Planning Board approval, but don't require any rezoning or variances, and so far, the town has been positive about the projects. Snell Construction, of Brunswick, is the builder. If all goes as planned, construction on both projects will begin this fall.

Timelines and cost estimates are still to be determined, pending the final board approval. McClure said that the storage condos project will go quickly once shovels are in the ground, and they could be ready for owners by the end of the year. 

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