An Adaptive Reuse That Enhances the Bayside Community

Brokers Thomas Moulton, CCIM, SIOR, and Katie Breggia knew there would be a lot of interest when they listed a tired industrial building on Diamond Street in the East Bayside neighborhood of Portland. “Everyone wants to be here,” remarks Moulton. “We were getting three calls a day.” The building was not being put to its highest and best use, however it was clear that it would be a complicated process to redevelop the space. Zoning required the building to be home for light industrial use and the property required significant work to bring it up to its potential. Fortunately, Moulton and Breggia found the perfect buyers who were experienced developers and creative thinkers – PK Realty. Working collaboratively, PK Realty embarked on the long, multi-year journey to redevelop the entire building into a space for multiple tenants. The project was a cooperative effort on every level, from working with Archetype Architects on the design to navigating unexpected delays with the construction company. The project began just as the Covid pandemic hit which created additional challenges such as delays in the city permitting process. This made lining up building tenants difficult. “It was impossible to give anyone a realistic timeline. We all had to have a lot of faith in the developer, PK Realty. It was very stressful.” For Moulton and Breggia, the key to helping clients navigate turbulent waters such as these is communication. “Tom communicates consistently,” shares Breggia. “Some people go dark. Tom will never do that. Some people avoid problems or conflict. We believe you have to stay on top of a deal and find solutions, even if it feels like there are no solutions.” Through collaborative hard work and the support of Moulton and Breggia, PK Realty was able to forge ahead with the redevelopment despite the challenges. The end result is a sleek building that looks brand new, truly unrecognizable from its former state.

“The transformation is really gratifying,” shares Jen Packard, President of PK Realty Management. “I live here and I drive past the building every day. It feels good to have a positive impact.” From the outset, the PK Realty team sought out community feedback so they could develop a space that would add to the neighborhood. “Tom and Katie helped make connections for us,” remarks Packard. “We had a vision for the building and needed to find the right combination of tenants to coexist together to create a nice little community and also align with our values and sustainability goals. It’s an iterative process.” With their emphasis on developing environmentally friendly buildings, one of the exciting features of the upgraded Diamond Street space is dual-fuel rooftop heat pump units – the first of its kind in the city. Working with Efficiency Maine, PK Realty will be tracking energy use, guiding tenants on how to reduce their carbon footprint, and sharing data on the building’s performance with the city.

For Packard, patience is a key value in her work. With the perfect storm of challenges during the development process, it almost felt like there was a bit of magic involved to get all the complex pieces – the right loan, the right GC, the right tenants, well-negotiated leases – to fit together. “Our work doesn’t happen without the support and knowledge of good brokers who have their ear to the ground. Tom and Katie help our business be successful.” 31 Diamond Street is now home to four businesses that enhance the community, including two breweries, a retail clothing company, and a restaurant.

One of the tenants, Tom Ruff of Orange Bike Brewing Co. – Portland’s first dedicated gluten-free brewery, was a great match for PK Realty’s values and goals for the Diamond Street development. Ruff worked with fellow Dunham Group broker Justin Lamontagne, CCIM, SIOR. He had spent months trying to find a space himself and needed help so he could focus on building his business. Ruff was pleasantly refreshed by Lamontagne’s approach. “It was clear The Dunham Group was looking out for my best interest,” shares Ruff. “Justin was humble and down-to-earth. He wasn’t just about closing the deal, which was huge for me.” Lamontagne, an expert in the industrial market who has helped many Maine breweries find a home, brings an in-depth knowledge of all the players as well as the types of investments that buildings need for a brewery to be successful. Ruff and Lamontagne looked at several spaces and Lamontagne was always upfront with his concerns about why spaces weren’t a good fit. “He really cares. I really appreciated him raising red flags,” says Ruff. “I’ve been burned before, so that was reassuring.” When they found the space at 31 Diamond Street, it felt like they hit the jackpot. Ruff immediately felt a sense of community in the neighborhood. Orange Bike Brewing Co. would be in the heart of brewery row in East Bayside providing a nice alternative as a gluten-free brewery. Also, it was important to him that the landlord and other tenants shared a similar ethos and commitment to sustainability. Orange Bike Brewing Co. is looking to become a Certified B Corp and is working with several universities to examine how breweries can be more environmentally responsible.

Lamontagne loves working with people like Ruff. “I really enjoy working with breweries. I admire the creativity – they are building something. They are entrepreneurs at heart…all the work, risk, and energy that goes into it. As users, they are complex and high-impact. They need visibility, but they also need industrial infrastructure. The end result is cool for me to see…when I walk into a place full of families that is an inviting, friendly, energetic, vibrant place, it’s very satisfying for me. I know I had a small part in [their success].”

31 Diamond Street was the winner of “Redevelopment of the Year” for CoStar’s 2024 Impact Awards.

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