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A buyer with other properties in the Libbytown neighborhood paid $750,000 for a 6,204-square-foot industrial building at 1004 Congress St.
The limited liability corporation that bought the property, 1004 Congress LLC, is owned by PK Realty Management, a real estate management firm headquartered in South Portland. The seller was JK Properties Inc.
Tom Moulton and Katie Allen from NAI The Dunham Group brokered the sale, which closed July 1.
The building is occupied by flooring supplier Atlantic Hardwoods, which holds a leaseback on the building, said Moulton, who represented the buyer.
The property wasn’t listed on the market.
“I talked with seller directly,” Moulton explained.
PK Realty owns the former New England Shipbuilding Corp. property in South Portland, 50 Monument Square in Portland’s financial district, and other properties in Greater Portland. It also owns three other properties in Libbytown.
PK Realty was founded by Richard Packard. Born in the town of Norway and raised in western Maine, Packard has a background as a business and real estate attorney and real estate developer in California, including large-scale development of apartment projects, planned communities and hotels. He founded PK Realty Management to specialize in commercial, industrial and residential space in Greater Portland.
PK Realty's latest acquisition is at the corner of Congress and Westfield streets. Next door to 1004 Congress St., PK Realty owns 1006 Congress St., which is in the planning stage for redevelopment, said Jennifer Packard, Richard Packard’s daughter and a PK Realty principal.
The other properties it owns are 17 Westfield St., occupied by Bunker Brewing Co., and 1020 Congress St., which is occupied by Paulin’s Tire & Auto Service.
The four properties are all within a block or two of each other.
The first Libbytown acquisition, in 2017, was 17 Westfield St.
“It has a long history of being an industrial building,” she said.
Jennifer Packard said her father liked its location. It's close to Thompson’s Point, the Portland Transportation Center, I-295, Portland’s downtown and the Portland trail system, which has a spur running down Westfield Street.
Also in 2017, the family bought 1006 Congress, a 13,500-square-foot mixed-use building that was an early 1900s ship captain's house and then added onto in the 1980s to become the Deliverance Center Church; and 1020 Congress, a 2,700-square-foot mixed-use building.
The purchases of the four properties evolved organically, she said, adding: “Libbytown is an undervalued area of Portland."
As a leaseback deal, the latest acquisition of 1004 Congress St. is a strategic move for PK Realty.
“We were happy to secure the building for the future, because we think it’s a great location,” she said.
Libbytown, she noted, is currently dominated by services, including two hospitals, the county’s sheriff’s office and jail, and a strip mall.
The properties are long-term holds. The goal for redevelopment, she said, is to create more of a neighborhood feel, with more housing and amenities such as, perhaps, a café or market. The family, she added, seeks community input as part of its planning process, has been involved with the Libbtyown Neighborhood Association and also conducted a charrette to bring residents and business owners into the planning process for 17 Westfield St.
“We’re at the beginning steps of that process,” she said. “The idea is create something more human centered and human scale.”
On the other side of town, PK Realty also recently bought a 22,700-square-foot industrial property at 31 Diamond St., in the East Bayside neighborhood.
Federick LLC sold the property for $2.5 million in a deal that closed June 11.
Moulton and Katie Allen from NAI The Dunham Group brokered the sale. Like the deal for 1004 Congress St., it was an off-market purchase with a leaseback to the seller, who operates Door Services Inc.
Moulton said he considered the price fair for East Bayside.
“That building is in an interesting part of town that’s seen a lot of improvements over the past few years,” said Packard.
That includes a new distillery, Three of Strong Spirits, at neighboring 35B Diamond St., and other trendy businesses such as Coffee By Design and Rising Tide Brewing Co.
“There’s a lot of interesting things going on in that neighborhood,” Packard said.
The building needs some TLC, she said, but no firm plans have been made. PK Realty will work with Door Services in whatever direction the latter wants to go.
Most of PK Realty’s transactions are off-market.
“Our process is Tom Moulton,” Packard said. “It requires a lot of vetting and due diligence and understanding the market. At some point, your best mode of transportation is a leap of faith that this is going to be a good investment. Sometimes you just have to do it.”
Since buying the former New England Shipbuilding site in November 2018, PK Realty has been engaged in research on the location, infrastructure, market and community before drafting any plans for the property.
Comprising 30 acres of prime waterfront property next to South Portland’s Bug Light Park, the largest parcel, 23 acres, is at 149 Front St.
The shipyard was one of 18 across the country that were responsible for building more than 2,700 Liberty Ships during World War II. There are five industrial buildings. At the time of purchase, they were occupied by 13 businesses, such as ax-maker Brant & Cochran, Portland Barrel Co., Keeley Crane Service, PODS and Sea Rose Trap Co.
A few more have arrived on-scene, including PK Realty’s own offices at 1 Madison St. she said.
The firm was granted funds to conduct a site assessment through the city of South Portland brownfields program; and is in the beginning stage of community engagement, which has been conducted via videoconference since the start of the pandemic.
In August 2019, PK Realty Management bought industrial buildings in two separate deals at 1 Lincoln St. and 53 Wallace Ave. in South Portland. Moulton represented the buyer in those transactions, which were also off-market.