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June 13, 2018

Reiche buys Yarmouth Grand Trunk depot for office space use

Photo / Peter Van Allen The Grand Trunk depot in Yarmouth was bought by developer Ford Reiche as part of Maine Preservation's Protect & Sell program.

YARMOUTH — The 112-year-old Grand Trunk railroad depot on Main Street will become commercial office space, after Cumberland developer Ford Reiche’s proposal beat out 13 others.

Maine Preservation announced Monday that the 1906 depot will be sold to Reiche, who has already bought and restored four buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Reiche has an enthusiasm for revitalizing historic properties and has already rehabilitated Halfway Rock Light Station off the coast of Harpswell and the Charles B. Clark House in Portland, both Maine Preservation Honor Award winners,” the Yarmouth-based organization said in a news release. He has also rehabilitated a historic Grand Trunk station in Gilead, which is now Gilead Historical Society headquarters.

The society had announced in March it had chosen a new owner for the building under its Protect & Sell program, but delayed the announcement until the details were worked out.

The depot restoration work will be coordinated by Reiche’s son, George Reiche, who is a board member of Greater Portland Landmarks.

Reiche co-founded Safe Handling Inc. in 1989, a rail-based shipping and logistics company established to help paper mills and other Maine industries receive bulk shipments of raw materials through the state’s rail network. In 2008 he was named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Maine Small Businessperson of the Year and the Mainebiz Business Leader of the Year.

The depot has been owned by the Yarmouth Village Improvement Society since 1968, when it acquired the property from the Canadian National Railway to save it from demolition. Since the early 1970s until last year, the building had been leased as a florist shop.

The group began working with Maine Preservation last year to sell the property to a “preservation-minded buyer.”

It was listed at $165,000. The purchase price hasn't been disclosed, because the sale isn't completed.

Maine Preservation is “delighted to be working with the Village Improvement Society and Ford Reiche to ensure a dynamic future for this Yarmouth landmark,” said real estate manager Sarah Hansen.

Linda Grant, president of the Village Improvement Society, said that the group was able to maintain and preserve the building, which she called a focal point of Main Street, and when the decision was made to sell it, it would be “with preservation easements to ensure its future as a unique building.”

“Maine Preservation has made this possible and we are thrilled that Ford Reiche, who has previously saved historic buildings, will be able to rehab and bring this building back to life on Main Street,” Grant said.

In March, Hansen said that the goal of the Protect & Sell program is to protect historical buildings, but also have them used actively.

"We want the property to be a functional, habitable space, so changes are allowed as long as essential historic features are not eliminated," she said. "Changes can include the addition of bathrooms, kitchens, additions.”

The society reviews plans and will help solve any problems that might come up. "We do not want these buildings to be museum-pieces," she said. "We know they need to change over time and find that our involvement helps ensure that the key historic elements of these places endure."

The program, which began in 2013, includes buildings in Buckfield, Pembroke, Bath and Norway.

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