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July 1, 2021

Local investor scoops up Saco warehouse vacated by Scholastic Book Fairs

Courtesy / NAI The Dunham Group A former Scholastic Book Fairs distribution center sold to a persistent local investor.

Persistence saved the day for a local investor who had his eye on a Saco warehouse that was in excellent shape but wasn’t listed for sale.

Tom and Debrah Yale bought 33 Spring Hill Road from Spring Hill Development LLC for $2.2 million. Greg Hastings and Tom Dunham from NAI The Dunham Group and Debrah Yale from Benchmark Real Estate brokered the deal.

The property consists of a 20,400-square-foot high-bay industrial building on 2.2 acres, with five loading docks and one drive-in overhead door, located in the Saco Industrial Park approximately one mile from the Maine Turnpike/I-95 Exit 36.

The building was constructed in 2000 as a warehouse and distribution facility for Scholastic Book Fairs, a global business whose book fairs sell more than 100 million books to 35 million children and their families visiting more than 120,000 fairs in schools around the world, according to its website. Scholastic Book Fairs is a division of Scholastic Corp. (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children’s publishing, education and media company headquartered in New York City. 

Scholastic had 1,600 square feet of offices and 18,800 square feet for its warehouse distribution operation, said Hastings, who represented the seller. 

“Most of the building was racks and racks of school books,” he said. “They had everything systematized.”

The building was in great condition overall when the company last year ended its lease. 

“Unfortunately, the pandemic really hurt Scholastic when the schools closed,” he said.

Find another tenant

The sellers are a married couple who invest in real estate; they lived in Maine for a while and have since moved back to California, he said. 

Initially, Hastings said, he was tasked with trying to find another tenant. The lease listing yielded a couple of prospects, including a seafood company. But the company would have had to make some significant alterations, such as installing floor drains. The building owners weren’t fired up about the plan.

warehouse interior
Courtesy / NAI The Dunham Group
The 21-year-old building features spacious digs, five loading docks and a drive-in overhead door.

“They wanted to find someone who was more appropriate for warehouse distribution,” he said.

Persistent buyer

Although the property wasn’t listed for sale, local investor Tom Yale showed up with an offer.

“Tom had looked at it earlier and made offers, but never high enough to get the owner’s attention,” said Hastings. “He came back to the building two or three times trying to get to a number that would make sense.”

The Yales are the former owners of Yale Cordage Inc. on nearby Industrial Park Road. Over the past half year, they bought Saco’s 46 FirstPark Drive, one of the largest office buildings at Oakland business park FirstPark.

They also acquired a 1,500-square-foot condo at the Mill Brook Business Center, at 10 Mill Brook Road in Saco. There, Yale runs a new company called Resin Fiber, which makes a thermoplastic tape-ribbon called of FORJ ribbon.

For Yale, the attractions of 33 Spring Hill Road included its excellent condition, said Hastings.

“It had only been occupied by Scholastic, and they were not hard on the building at all,” he said. “In my opinion, for a 20,000-square-foot building in southern Maine, that building is probably one of the best you can buy.”

The sale “is a tale of perseverance by the buyer,” he added.

Yale now has the building listed as a lease through NAI The Dunham Group, which has conducted a number of showings, said Hastings.

“Anyone looking for modern functional, efficient, high-bay warehouse distribution space, this building has all the bells and whistles,” he said.


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