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Updated: July 13, 2020

SoPo industrial property attracts quick sale

Courtesy / The Boulos Co. AV Technik will lease back its recently sold South Portland site while it builds a larger facility in Scarborough.

In a tight industrial market, the listing of an industrial building in South Portland attracted multiple offers and a quick sale.

AV Technik LLC sold 76 Darling Ave. for $1.1 million. Jessica Estes and Brice O’Connor represented the seller in the deal and Greg Boulos represented the buyer. All are with the Boulos Co. The deal closed June 16.

Built in 1976, the 10,654-square-foot on 0.92 acre houses both office and industrial space, according to the listing brochure. The warehouse features a 12-foot ceiling height, one overhead door and one loading dock. There’s a large kitchen and break-room, and the facility is fully air-conditioned. The property is well situated just off Maine Mall Road and close to Exits 45 and 46 of the Maine Turnpike.

As a mix of office and industrial space, the building was viewed as suitable for small to mid-size business needing industrial space and front-office operations, Estes said.

The property was listed in March.

“We had three offers and a lot of tours,” she said. “Industrial product now is in very high demand.”

Interest came from industrial and manufacturing companies. Ultimately, an investor scooped it up and plans to offer the space for lease through the Boulos Co.

“It speaks to the strength of the industrial market that it was purchased on a speculative basis without any revenue stream, with the intention of being able to lease it quickly,” Estes noted.

The buyer, who made the deal under the limited liability corporation 76 Darling LLC, is a local investor who has purchased a number of warehouse buildings in the past, said Greg Boulos.

“The investor came along and purchased it in the middle of the worst part of the pandemic,” he said. “Even during the pandemic, deals are getting done. We’ve been very busy on the industrial front. Industrial is very hot.”

“The building is in excellent shape in a great location,” Boulos added.

The seller, AV Technik, holds a leaseback on the space through September. The building will be available for lease after AV Technik leaves.

AV Technik is headed by Daniel Willis, who is having a new facility built in the Innovation District at The Downs in Scarborough.

AV Technik, established in 2004, is a full-service event production company whose regular clients include the L.L.Bean concert series and Portland Ovations.

Construction on its new building is underway. It will be a 25,000-square-foot building, with 5,500 square feet of office space, 19,000 square feet of warehousing and ceiling height up to 27 feet. It's on 1.43 acres at 90 Payne Road. The one-story metal building will be more than double the space at 76 Darling Ave. Amenities include individual office spaces, large kitchen, outdoor patio, small fitness room and interior loading bays. The company manages an enormous amount of gear for each customized event. Construction is being managed by Risbara Bros.

The Scarborough building is scheduled for delivery Sept. 1, Willis said.

Construction of the building started just before the pandemic. The company's business is primarily live events, an industry that has experienced considerable turbulence over the past few months.

But Willis said he and his team were able to pivot somewhat thanks to a component of the business that focuses on recording and streaming services.

“We had the infrastructure in place to move online,” he said. 

The transition included marketing the firm’s value-added services to new and existing clients in addition to helping them develop an online presence. Examples of projects utilizing the company’s online services include recording and streaming drive-in college and high school graduation ceremonies. That included the ceremonies of Scarborough High School and Westbrook High School, hosted at Rock Row in Westbrook. The job included setting up a massive outdoor LED video wall and radio broadcast capability. Willis and his team are creating videoconference and webinar series for organizations such as the Maine Real Estate & Development Association, including custom branding and secure platforms.

Courtesy / AV Technik
AV Technik produced the drive-in graduation ceremonies, including a giant LED screen, for Scarborough High School and Westbrook High School at Rock Row in Westbrook.

“A lot of platforms are more of a self-serve experience: You’ve got to try to figure it out,”  he said. “With our service, just like with a live event, we’re managing the technology — managing the switches between presenters, adjusting volumes and graphics — so we’re able to create a much more broadcast-television quality product.”

Willis has received much of the online business from his existing customer base.

“A lot of our client base was already familiar with what we were able to do,” he said. Now, new clients are coming in who have seen what his company has done.

The expanded services have helped sustain the business, which is also using the time to work on internal projects such as gear maintenance and implementing new systems. 

And he expects to announce two new initiatives in the next couple of weeks that, he said, can change what people can do in a virtual environment and also translate back to in-person events.

Courtesy / AV Technik
Seen here is part of AV Technik’s complex set-up for streaming a North Yarmouth Academy event.

“I’d love to be a lot busier, but we’re not sinking,” he said. “Everybody’s getting paid. Everybody’s still on payroll. The lights are still on in our building.”

The sale of the South Portland building will go toward payroll and other expenses to keep the business afloat. That wasn’t part of his original plan, but “I’m very lucky to have that money at this time,” he said.

Willis had high praise for Estes, who represented Willis in the deal.

“Jessica went above an beyond at every turn to make sure that this got done,” he said.
“Just the fact that we were able to sell it during a pandemic is a testament to Jessica's motivation and passion for what she does and how hard she works for her clients. Owning two buildings during this time could have been a huge burden.”

Seen here is a rendering of the 25,000-square-foot building underway, for the growing event production company AV Technik, at Innovation District, an 80-acre business park at The Downs in Scarborough.

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