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March 6, 2019

Inside Washington Avenue purchase: Possibilities abound

Photo / Maureen Milliken The buildings at 104 and 108-112 Washington Ave. in Portland, second and third from left, were bought in the last year by a development group that sees lots of options on the street.

PORTLAND — Washington Avenue’s evolution as a food and drink destination and its location between two neighborhoods that are hot properties puts the purchase of two buildings on the street in good position.

Tom Landry, of Benchmark Residential and Investment Real Estate, said this week there are no immediate plans for the apartment building at 108-112 Washington Ave., which was bought by 104-112 Wash Ave LLC in May. The same holds true for 104 Washington Ave., which the group bought in November.

Longtime tenant of 104 Washington Ave., Dale Rand Printing, is moving across the city to 508 Riverside St. in early summer.

Landry said there are no immediate plans for redevelopment of the two properties, which together equal 8,000 square feet. The group will continue to rent them out for their current uses — residential at 108-112 and commercial at 104.

“It’s a fun area,” Landry said. The most exciting thing about investing in Washington Avenue “are all the possibilities.”

The building at 104 Washington St. housed Dale Rand Printing since 1990. Before that, it was Cookie’s, a neighborhood bar. It was built in 1936 as a grocery store.

Landry said that the zone — B2B — means there are a lot of potential uses for the building.

“There’s a lot of flexibility in that zone,” he said. Besides commercial, “it could be residential, mixed use.”

“It’s a desirable spot,” he said. “The big thing [on Washington Avenue] is food service.”

Not only have a variety of restaurants located on the street that runs across the peninsula from Interstate 295 to Congress Street, but it also has “distillery row,” with Maine Mead Works, Oxbow Blending and Bottling and Hardshore Distilling Co. all in the former Nissen bakery building.

The development of that building to include those types of uses was a key for the neighborhood, Landry said.

The street is also the dividing point between Munjoy Hill, a residential hot spot, and the evolving East Bayside area, a former largely industrial neighborhood that’s had a lot of recent residential and mixed-use development.

The street has some high-end places to eat, but also has a funky and authentic vibe that makes it approachable, he said.

Not only has it been discovered by “gastric tourists,” but it’s also a favorite for locals looking for a diverse variety of food and drink choices.

Landry said residential properties are also generating more interest on the street, which for decades has been a working-class area.

Three condos at the three-unit 151 Washington Ave. residential portion of a mixed-use development recently sold for an average of $375,000, he said. All three were sold to young professionals who wanted a “walkable lifestyle.”

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