BANGOR, Maine — Interest in the block of downtown Bangor buildings that just went up for sale has been high. The brokers say they are scheduled to give three separate tours to potential buyers on Thursday alone.
The six buildings lining Exchange Street are on the market as a package deal for $1.95 million.
“There are two real jewels on either side of the block,” John Bonadio of Maine Commercial Realty, one of two brokers for the property, said Wednesday during a tour.
Those jewels are the former Bangor Hydro Electric Co. headquarters, at the intersection of Exchange and State streets, and the Nichols Building, at the corner of York and Exchange streets.
The former Bangor Hydro building was built of granite and brick in 1915 to house a bank. An antique Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Co. safe still sits in the back of the ornate lobby. On the floor are intricate mosaic tiles, and the tall ceilings and columns feature well-preserved plasterwork.
“I see a restaurant, though it could be a really beautiful office space,” Bonadio said.
On the other end of the block, the Nichols Building, dated 1892, is one of the few buildings on Exchange Street to survive the Great Fire of 1911, which devastated the downtown.
On the top floor is a hidden gem — an open ballroom with tall arched windows and a small stage. The ballroom has an attached kitchen space and a balcony that overlooks the stage and hardwood dance floor. Historically, the ballroom served as a dance hall and performance venue. It could easily serve that purpose again.
The Nichols Building also has a modern elevator that could bring people to the top floor for a performance or event.
The buildings in between don’t carry quite the same appeal, but they have versatile potential of their own. The first floors lend themselves well to storefronts, while the upper floors could easily be opened as offices or renovated into apartment units.
The buildings have been well maintained, and much of the property could be ready for use as offices or stores with relatively few changes.
Altogether, the buildings offer just under 53,000 square feet of space. With the $1.95 million price tag, that works out to about $37 per square foot — a steal for downtown space. The last time the block sold, it went for more than $5 million — though it was lumped together with a significantly smaller property in Portland.
Bonadio is working with another broker, Pete Laney of Century 21 Venture Ltd.
The buildings went on the market in late July, after a 10-year lease with Sweetser, the state’s largest private nonprofit mental health organization, expired.
They’re being sold as a group in part because the buildings are interconnected in a sometimes convoluted series of doorways and stairwells that are at times reminiscent of an M.C. Escher painting.
For example, the top floor of the Bangor Hydro building is accessed by a staircase in the neighboring building before crossing back over to the bank property. Dividing up the properties could create complicated code issues and require extensive renovations to meet access requirements, Bonadio said.
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