Pandemic creates winners and losers in Maine’s commercial real estate market

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

By Glenn Jordan, Portland Press Herald


"Tim Soley closed on three Old Port buildings Wednesday, two on Middle Street and another on adjacent Canal Plaza. They represent his first commercial real estate purchases in more than a decade.


The president of East Brown Cow Management, Soley bought his first commercial property in 1989. He said he looks for long-term value, particularly during periods of recession.

“This is an on cycle for me,” he said. “When people are yelling ‘Fire!’ I’m running into burning buildings to buy them.”


As a commercial landlord, Soley has worked with tenants on rent deferrals or reductions, on finding resources and support. He said very few people are making money right now and the vast majority are not.


“The pain that has been experienced by so many as part of the pandemic is without question,” he said. “And the economic impacts of this medical event are likely to be felt most distinctly for the next 12 months.”


Even so, he said, he’s optimistic about the future and sees opportunity in Portland’s commercial real estate market “to set a trajectory for the city that hasn’t existed for more than a century. Urban centers, such as New York City, are now considered risky. And smaller, tertiary cities, especially those offering authenticity and amenities as Portland does, have become more attractive.”"


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