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November 20, 2017

Existing use at former Spurwink facility paves way for $1M deal

Courtesy / John Buro A former Spurwink facility at 12 & 17 Bishop St. in Portland is being converted into a new facility for individuals suffering from substance use disorder. In a deal that closed Oct. 3, Spurwink sold the property to Bishop Holdings LLC for $1.15 million.
Courtesy / John Buro John Buro will serve as COO of the new Pine Tree Recovery Center in Portland.

PORTLAND — The purchase of a former Spurwink Services Inc. facility will allow a group of partners to establish a much-needed facility for individuals suffering from substance use disorder.

In a deal that closed Oct. 3, Spurwink sold 12 & 17 Bishop St. in Portland to Bishop Holdings LLC for $1.15 million. Greg Boulos and Vince Ciampi of CBRE|The Boulos Co. and Chris Sullivan of Vitalius Real Estate Group brokered the deal.

Sullivan, who represented the buyer, said the deal came together quickly. The property came on the market right around the time of his initial meeting with the partners, he said.

“There were a number of factors about this specific property that appealed to the buyer,” he said. “The location was good, the existing use by Spurwink was going to streamline the licensing and permitting process for the new owners, and the current setup of the building would largely enable them to leave the second floor intact as administrative offices, so they would only have to renovate the first floor.”

Spurwink provides behavioral health and education services for children, adults and families. Spurwink has its headquarters in Portland and numerous sites around the state.Spurwink Vice President of Development Kristen Farnham explained that Spurwink vacated the Bishop Street building a couple of months ago.

“There were two different programs in that space and they both now have new homes,” she said. “Our child abuse program has a new office location in South Portland. We also had a residence there, and that’s now located in Westbrook,” in a building purchased by the organization. The two new facilities better suit the needs of the program, she said.

While Spurwink is a nonprofit and Pine Tree Recovery Center will be a for-profit operation, the work they do will revolve in the social service area.

Pine Tree Recovery Center to move in

According to a mission statement provided by one of the partners, John Buro, who will serve as chief operating officer of Pine Tree, the facility, to be named the Pine Tree Recovery Center, will include residential detoxification services and short-term stabilization services.

“Our proprietary detoxification protocols are designed to comfortably and safely eliminate physical dependence on substances in order to prepare client for the next appropriate level of care,” the statement says.

Buro got into the field as a result of his own experience with substance use disorder. Ten years ago, he said, he relocated from Massachusetts to Portland because the latter had several recovery homes and a close-knit recovery community.

After his own recovery, he went to college to study behavioral health and addiction psychology, obtaining licensure as an alcohol and drug counselor, then worked at several treatment centers in Portland and elsewhere in New England. He was also involved in helping to establish new recovery programs, including an extended care and sober living facility in Portland, and a detox and residential facility in Florida. All together, he’s been involved in helping to set up about a half dozen facilities in New England and two in Florida.

The partnership for Pine Tree came about with long-time colleagues and friends, Buro said.

“It’s a few people who grouped together” to obtain bank financing for the project, he said.

Buro was looking at another building, in Westbrook, when the 12,100-square-foot Bishop Street building went on the market.

“It was perfect,” he said. “It’s a great location, just off the highway.” Built in 1913, the building is in great shape. And it also works well because of the existing set-up, which includes overnight accommodations established by Spurwink.

Some renovations are underway, expected to total $500,000. That includes updating the commercial kitchen and installing new flooring, ceilings, and landscaping. The first floor will be used for the residential detox facility for up to 22 people. The top floor will have offices for therapists to see clients on an outpatient basis, and a community center for the free use of Alcoholics Anonymous, family support groups and similar programs.

The facility will accept health insurance. Services will also be available on a slide-fee scale, with 10% to 15% of beds dedicated to people with limited income.

“This facility is for people who are in acute need,” he said. “People who want to get into recovery, who want to get sober — this is their very first step. Typically they’re in a facility like this 3 to 7 days, then they go into a residential treatment facility.”

The goal is to be operational by April 1, 2018, and to hire 40 to 50 employees to staff the facility 24/7.

The need is persistent, he said.

“I’ve watched the opiate epidemic get a lot worse,” he said. “The whole state is in need of more treatment beds.”

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