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November 30, 2020

Husson sells prime Westbrook office building to focus on Bangor campus

Courtesy / The Boulos Co. Husson University sold a prime office building in Westbrook to MaineHealth for $4.65 million.

Husson University sold a prime office building in Westbrook in order to focus on its online and in-person educational offerings at its Bangor campus.

MaineHealth bought the 34,587-square-foot building at 340 County Road for $4.65 million.

Justin Lamontagne from NAI The Dunham Group and Jonathan Rizzo from the Boulos Co. brokered the sale, which closed Nov. 4.

The property sold for well under the list price of $5.8 million.

“That had something to do with the pandemic and demand for office space through the pandemic,” said Rizzo. “We’ve seen the office market hit 'pause' while trying to figure out what it will do going forward, in terms of space needs and tenants in the market.” 

Ultimately, he added, “It was a good sale for both the buyer and seller.”

Five loading docks

Built in 1988, the structure is on 3.79 acres and includes flexible floor plans, five rear loading docks, handicapped accessibility and on-site parking. It’s located at the intersection of County Road and Spring Street with easy access to I-295 and the Maine Turnpike, and is across the street from the Colonel Westbrook Executive Park.

Husson bought the building in 2014 from Portland real estate firm J.B. Brown & Sons, said Rizzo, who represented the seller in the deal. At the time, WBRC, an architectural and engineering firm headquartered in Bangor, worked with Husson’s leadership to reconfigure the former corporate office space into a variety of flexible classroom types and conference rooms, with some existing walls and offices retained, according to WRBC’s website. 

The building consists of three condominium units. 

Courtesy / The Boulos Co.
The flex building can accommodate a variety of uses.

Husson occupied about 18,000 square feet of the building for classrooms. 

“It was a nice Southern Maine campus for them,” said Rizzo.

The remainder of the building is occupied by engineering consultant HNTB Corp. and managed services provider and document solutions company SymQuest. HNTB plans to relocate soon, said Rizzo. According to July announcement by real estate firm Colliers International, HNTB took a long-term lease of 15,073 square feet at 82 Running Hill Road in South Portland. Mike Cobb, managing director of Colliers’ Portland office, represented HNTB and Tom Moulton and Katie Allen of NAI The Dunham Group, represented the owners of 82 Running Hill Road.

In-depth analysis

The university hired Rizzo a year ago on a consulting basis to do an in-depth analysis of the Westbrook facility and options to keep, vacate in part or entirely, sell, or hold as a leasing investment.

After the analysis, Husson decided to focus on the Bangor campus and take the Westbrook facility to market for sale and for lease. 

“Ultimately the goal was to sell the property,” he said. 

The property hit the market right before the pandemic. The building and grounds are in great shape, Rizzo said,

“The building has been very well maintained,” he said. 

The listing saw a fair amount of interest, including some from local and out-of-state investment groups. The owner/user marketing play proved more powerful, and the property went under contract in September. 

Accessible, flexible

For MaineHealth, the primary draws were location and flexibility, said Lamontagne.

“It’s extremely convenient to the highway and to many parts of Greater Portland,” he said. “It’s a single-story standalone flex building that lends itself to a lot of different potential uses. That, along with the amount of parking it has, will allow MaineHealth to do virtually anything they want with it.”

Lamontagne started the search process a couple of years ago. 

“We were looking for a mixed-use flexible building,” he said. After reviewing other properties, ‘We were fortunate to find this. It checked all their boxes.”

MaineHealth plans to announce its intended uses for the property at a later date, he added.


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