May 24, 2018
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Huge swath of Ellsworth commercial district put on the market by NJ owner

A listing for the sale of the Ellsworth Shopping Center included this image.
By Mario Moretto, BDN Staff

ELLSWORTH, Maine — The owner of a high-profile Ellsworth shopping center has listed that property and two nearby parcels for sale at a price of nearly $8.2 million.

In total, the properties — owned by New Jersey resident Matt Van Loon — represent 20 acres, including 97,000 square-feet of developed retail space and room for new developments. They are being sold through CBRE The Boulos Company, a Portland-based real estate firm.

Van Loon has listed the Ellsworth Shopping Center at 175 High Street, which includes Shaw’s, Renys, Family Dollar, Bar Harbor Bank and Trust, Wendy’s and the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce; the Hanff building at 151 High Street, which includes Martha’s Diner and other local businesses; and 175 High Street, which is occupied by Sterling Marine Supply.

The Van Loon family inherited the properties after Matt Van Loon’s father, James C. Van Loon, died in 2009. He said though the property went on the market this week, its sale is not a foregone conclusion. Matt Van Loon is handling the estate.

“My father’s estate is still not closed and my family has decided to weigh a few options,” he wrote in an email Monday. “One of them is to test the commercial marketplace in Ellsworth.”

The Van Loon family owned nearly all the commercial and residential properties on the block bordered by High, Water, Foster and Washington streets until December 2011. At that time, the Van Loon Estate sold six properties along Water Street to Penquis CAP, which is building a 29-unit housing facility on those lots.

The family or its limited liability companies still own 13 properties on that block, according to records at the Ellsworth Assessing Department.

Van Loon said his father and grandfather had a vision for the block when they opened the Ellsworth Shopping Center nearly 50 years ago. That vision lives on, he said, and the Van Loon family still may choose to expand the commercial site rather than sell.

“Another option would be to double the size of the existing center with the undeveloped acreage we have behind the center,” he wrote. “I have received numerous calls from retailers over the past few years looking to capitalize on the growing Ellsworth.

“Whether we decide to sell or not, we are committed to the vision my father and grandfather had some fifty years ago,” he wrote.

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

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