It’s not every day that you see a real estate transaction provide solutions for all parties involved; there are often winners and losers as the deal gets finalized. However, at The Dunham Group we strive to do things differently. Known for building long-term, loyal partnerships with clients, our team of brokers is always looking to collaborate and put together deals where our in-depth market knowledge connects clients with the right opportunities for growth. This was certainly the case for Pack Edge and Northland Enterprises in their recent real estate transactions with The Dunham Group.
Pack Edge is a Maine company that specializes in temperature-sensitive packaging solutions for everything from lobsters to bio-medical supplies. Jim Freeman, President of Pack Edge, first reached out to Greg Hastings, SIOR, back in 2007 when he needed to find land to build a new factory for his fast-growing company. That factory was built and then added on to, and then another 10,000 square-foot factory with a custom-built freezer for manufacturing gel packs was built in 2014, and later a storage facility in South Portland was also added. “I was with Jim as he grew this company,” shares Hastings. “I was with him the whole way. Three expansions. Three properties.” For Freeman, Hastings was an invaluable partner. “On a personal level, Greg has been very helpful. He has his finger on the pulse of what’s going on and is imparting knowledge from his 30+ years in the industrial market,” says Freeman. “He’s [also] extremely responsive; I email him and he gets right back. I always felt like he had my best interest at heart.” Recently, in considering the future of his company, Freeman decided to transfer ownership to his employees and consolidate the three locations into one facility that would meet all of Pack Edge’s needs. Hastings was there to find the right real estate solution for Pack Edge’s next chapter.
It just so happened that Northland, one of Maine’s leading real estate developers, was in a position to buy one of Pack Edge’s original industrial properties. They were also developing a new built-to-suit industrial site in Saco where Pack Edge could build their new consolidated factory. Northland CEO & Managing Partner Josh Benthien had a long term relationship with The Dunham Group as well, having worked with TC Haffenreffer and Sylas Hatch for years. “We want to work with people who are pragmatic and creative,” says Benthien. “The Dunham guys know how we work and try to match the two sides [of a deal] to be compatible.” Northland was looking for a property to park funds from a 1031 Exchange, and worked with Sylas Hatch to buy Pack Edge’s factory in Portland with the value of a lease back negotiated so Pack Edge had time to build their new facility. The lease back also gave Northland plenty of time to look for the right long term tenant. In a beautiful symbiosis, the relationship with Pack Edge and Northland continued as TC Haffenreffer worked with Greg Hastings to put together a deal for Pack Edge to build their new facility. “We are collaborative,” remarks Hastings. “It makes transactions run smoothly when you work with brokers who work as hard as you, and TC and Sylas are just a pleasure to work with. They see the big picture.” Haffenreffer expands on the team-based approach at the firm: “This was an opportunity for all parties to leave happy. We try to find creative paths to get that win-win for clients.”
With Haffenreffer and Hastings facilitating, Pack Edge and Northland were able to structure a deal to build a new, customized facility to meet all of Pack Edge’s needs on Northland’s industrial site in Saco. Having a foundational tenant like Pack Edge provides the infrastructure for Northland to continue to develop their site for other tenants. Creating opportunities for everyone to benefit was by no means simple. “This whole process took years,” notes Benthien. “Development has its ups and downs; it’s how the other side reacts when wrenches get thrown in. [This] was a good match of personalities and philosophies. We worked as a team and we’ve been problem solving together.” Ground broke for the new building in late summer of 2023. “We’re really excited about construction,” shares Ellen Thompson, Northland’s Chief Financial Officer. “We’re helping Pack Edge get under one roof which allows them to focus on what they do best.” Benthien echoes her enthusiasm: “It’s inspiring to provide a facility that enables [Pack Edge] to be more efficient, grow, and create more jobs. It adds value to the community. We’re happy to be a part of that.” For Haffenreffer, this type of deal is what they are always aiming for at The Dunham Group. “We deal in information. These were two companies with like-kind needs. We put that information to good use.”
For over 45 years, The Dunham Group has provided in-depth market knowledge and trustworthy representation for its clients. Our collaborative approach ensures that our clients benefit from the combined resources of our team of brokers, now and in the years to come.