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The purchase of a former Portland public works building, at 44 Hanover St., is expected to complement work underway to renovate neighboring 82 Hanover St. for multi-use space.
Port Property Management bought 44 Hanover St., in the West Bayside neighborhood, from the city for $1.275 million. Nate Stevens of The Boulos Co., representing the seller, and Joseph Porta of Porta & Co., representing the buyer, brokered the deal, which closed Dec. 13.
The building is a 8,450-square-foot high-bay industrial building.
Stevens represented the city in the 44 and 82 Hanover sales, where he saw interest mostly from local developers interested in repurposing the buildings.
82 Hanover is a brick building built in the 1940s formerly used by the public works department for multiple uses, and 44 Hanover is a metal-sheathed building, built in the 1980s, that was the public works department’s maintenance building.
The building at 44 Hanover has been renumbered 52 Hanover, said Port Property Management co-founder and property manager Tom Watson. It’s being leased by the city, which will vacate the premises in September, he said.
The original idea for 44 Hanover was to create a maker space, Watson said. Now he’s considering residential space.
“Housing is difficult to build because of construction costs now,” he said. “We’re weighing the variables. At same time, Portland really needs apartments and it needs apartments in Bayside. So that would be a wonderful thing to do.”
Renovation for maker space would occur in the existing building, which is in good shape, he said. Maker space repurposing would require additional investment of $1 million to $2 million, he added.
Residential space would mean taking down the building and starting from scratch, he said.
The purchase of 44 Hanover is related to the 82 Hanover St. project, Watson said. Watson bought 82 Hanover, a 43,000-square-foot warehouse, last August.
It’s now under renovation for retail and commercial use. So far, he said, a spin cycling business and a country rock bar have signed leases. He’s also talking with a restaurant owner. The names of the businesses can’t be released yet, he added. Port Property will also move its office from 104 Grant St., Portland, into the building.
Investment in 82 Hanover will be close to $8 million, including the purchase price of $2.4 million, he said. Renovations include interior demolition and rebuild plus installation of new systems, like alarms and sprinklers, to bring it up to code. It’s expected that renovation will be complete by the end of March. Some spaces are now ready for tenants to fit up.
“I think 75% of the tenants will be in by September and 100% by this time next year,” Watson said.
The renovations also include transformation of a 25-foot-wide strip on the south side of the building, which faces 44 Hanover, into a 25-foot-wide patio and a pedestrian/bike path alongside the patio that connects Hanover and Parrish streets.
Both properties were part of a portfolio that the city listed for sale with Boulos in April 2017. The portfolio comprised six parcels totaling about four acres that are bound by Portland, Parris, Kennebec and Alder streets. The land had been used for public works operations. This September, the city’s public works fleet services will move to the city’s new public works facility at 250 Canco Road.
Watson was one of a group of investors who bought the former home of sauce-and-condiment manufacturer Schlotterbeck & Foss Co., at 117-119 Preble St. in West Bayside, in January 2016. The investment group redeveloped the John Calvin Stevens-designed property, dating back to 1927, into a mix of 56 one-bedroom and studio apartments.
According to its website, Port Property Management manages more than 80 properties consisting of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments in downtown Portland, the West End, East End, Parkside, West Bayside and Woodford/USM areas, as well as in Mill Creek and off Broadway in South Portland. Watson founded the company in 1993 with his father, Jack Watson.
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