A New York-based real estate development group has purchased 2 Hammond St. in downtown Bangor, a former bank that now houses the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce, with plans to restore the building and add upscale apartments to the upper floors.
But Dash Davidson and his father, former Obama administration official Peter W. Davidson, said they wanted to purchase property in downtown Bangor for a reason that’s much more personal than it is financial.
The Davidson family has spent decades summering on Vinalhaven. This past August, Davidson’s mother experienced a serious medical emergency and was LifeFlighted from Vinalhaven to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, where she spent a month in the intensive care unit.
When they weren’t spending time at the hospital, father and son found themselves hanging out in downtown Bangor, where they found a welcoming and compassionate community to help them through a difficult time, whether they were enjoying a pint at Paddy Murphy’s or just walking around downtown.
“We are really thankful to the medical community and the people that welcomed us to town during our time of family trauma,” said Davidson, who himself is based in San Francisco, where he works in the real estate division of the Oakland Athletics. “We now have this really emotional connection to Bangor. The doctors there saved my mom’s life.”
Davidson began looking around for investment opportunities in Bangor, and after finding 2 Hammond St. began talking with Deb Neuman, executive director of the Bangor Chamber, who connected him with other members of Bangor’s business community.
“Deb was the one to tell us all about the downtown renaissance. We fell in love with the city,” Davidson said. “And it was really important that we find partners that live in Bangor, because I’m obviously not going to be in town very often. Deb is definitely one of those people.”
Dash and Peter Davidson, alongside a group of other investors, finalized the purchase on 2 Hammond St. on Friday, Nov. 20. Built in 1912, it was for many decades the site of Merrill Bank. In 1999, the Hammond Street Senior Center opened in the building, where it was located until 2015, when the center closed and the building was purchased by local property developers DES Properties. 2 Hammond St. was last listed for sale in January 2020 for $575,000, and the investors bought it for $570,000, Davidson said.
They intend to retain the Chamber of Commerce as a tenant, and to renovate the upper two floors into upscale apartments. Davidson said renovation work should begin next week. They are working with First National Bank to secure historic preservation tax credits in order to fully salvage the building.
A number of other properties in downtown Bangor have undergone significant renovations in the past five years, adding high-end apartments to the local real estate market, including 99 Franklin St., redeveloped by Vance Aloupis; 29 Franklin St., redeveloped by Abe and Heather Furth and Roy Hubbard; and 28 Broad St. and 31 Main St., redeveloped by Telford Allen III and Louie Morrison.
“We have a different aesthetic from some of the other renovation projects that have happened in downtown, that’s a little more modern and design heavy,” Davidson said. “But it’s also a building that is really well suited to including lots of cool homages to its history, and to highlight its really beautiful location right on the stream.”