September 19, 2018
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Iconic Portland tower bound for auction block

Seth Koenig | BDN
Seth Koenig | BDN
The Time and Temperature Building in Portland, as seen in this March 20, 2018, BDN file photo.
By Jake Bleiberg, BDN Staff
Updated:

Portland’s iconic Time and Temperature Building is going up for auction.

The 14-story office tower that’s defined the skyline of Maine’s largest city for nearly a century will be placed on the auction block in October with the starting bid set at $2.75 million, according to a notice of offering from the real estate firms handling the transaction.

[Can a new owner fill Portland’s landmark Time and Temperature Building?]

A sale would mark the second time the building has changed hands since 2016 and follows years in which the once-grand Congress Street tower has hemorrhaged tenants and fallen into foreclosure and disrepair.

CWCapital Asset Management is selling the Time and Temperature Building and an adjacent parking garage after taking ownership of the properties through a 2016 foreclosure proceeding. The Maryland-based finance company declined to comment.

More than 60 percent of the 157,000-square-foot Time and Temperature Building is currently unoccupied, according to the local real estate broker handling its sale. A buyer would likely need to refurbish the building to fill the empty offices, but existing zoning also creates the possibility of converting some of the building to residential use.

“The easy answer is to just go in there and revamp the building,” broker Matthew Cardente said. “You could add residential in there but that scenario would involve a whole different type of buyer.”

In Portland’s tight housing market, Cardente said he sees “potential to convert some of the floors into residential” but also noted that any new owner’s priority is likely to be “to get some of those dark spaces refilled.”

[Portland’s Time and Temperature Building fails fire safety inspection]

A new owner would likely need do significant work just to bring the Time and Temperature Building up to code.

The 477 Congress St. tower has long been neglected. Last November, city inspectors found 19 life safety code violations in it, including that six floors lacked required sprinklers.

[After failing safety inspection, iconic Maine building corrects some safety violations]

The failed inspection led some tenants to question whether CWCapital cared about their safety. But the building’s manager had addressed several of the issues by the time a follow-up inspection was conducted in January, although the missing sprinklers were not among them.

A city spokeswoman said Thursday that there are five outstanding code violations in the Time and Temperature Building but could not immediately identify what they are.

Spokeswoman Jessica Grondin called the building “a jewel of the downtown” and said city staff look forward to working with whoever buys it.

Cardente said that there’s been “a ton of interest” from developers but declined to speculate on what the building might fetch at auction.

In 2006, it sold for $13 million, but when it sold again 10 years later the price fell to $6.1 million, according to public records. The building and land on which it sits have an assessed tax value of $4.5 million.

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