2015-08-07 / Community

Commons razed; Martin’s Point moving in

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

Scarborough Commons, a multi-tenant business building on 153 Route 1 in Scarborough, is being demolished after burning down in September 2014. The location may soon be the latest site for a Martin’s Point Healthcare medical office. (Michael Kelley photo) Scarborough Commons, a multi-tenant business building on 153 Route 1 in Scarborough, is being demolished after burning down in September 2014. The location may soon be the latest site for a Martin’s Point Healthcare medical office. (Michael Kelley photo) SCARBOROUGH — After sitting vacant and fire damaged for nearly a year, the Scarborough Commons building at 153 Route 1 is being razed in favor of a new medical office for Martin’s Point Healthcare.

“We are in the very early stages on this. We have informed the town of Scarborough that Martin’s Point has entered into an agreement with the property owner of further development on that site,” said Martin’s Point Vice President of Support Services Dick Daigle.

Daigle said he hopes to present development plans to the Planning Board by fall and, once permits are secured, start construction in the spring.

The plan now, he said, is to construct a 15,000-to-18,000-square-foot primary care/medical office building.

“There is nothing salvageable. They will be razing the building totally down to the foundation,” said Scarborough Town Manager Tom Hall.

Scarborough Commercial Code Enforcement Officer/Fire Inspector Jim Butler issued the demolition permit earlier this month.

“We are certainly happy that the (demolition) is happening,” said Scarborough Zoning Administrator Brian Longstaff.

The building, which had more than a dozen tenants, caught fire just before 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 8. The State Fire Marshal’s Office, which investigated the fire, determined that it started when the electrical system malfunctioned above the ceiling in the center part of the building. The fire broke out after many of the building’s tenants had gone home for the evening. While no one was hurt in the fire, Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said it caused “at least a million (dollars) in damage.”

The section of the building where the fire originated was not outfitted with sprinklers, as it was built before Scarborough enacted a sprinkler requirement.

Despite the condition of the property now, Daigle said it is an ideal location for a new Martin’s Point facility.

“It is right on the Route 1 corridor and, with a signalized entrance, it makes it easier for people to get in and out. It fits our site selection criteria,” Daigle said.

Martin’s Point provides health care services and health insurance to more then 75,000 patients at its facilities in Bangor, Biddeford, Brunswick, Gorham, Portland, South Portland and West Falmouth, as well as Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The Scarborough location would be the third new medical office Martin’s Point built in the last few years. The nonprofit constructed a state-of-the-art medical office in 2013 at 575 Main St. in Gorham, and is moving into a new office on Barra Road in Biddeford in mid-August.

“We are constantly evaluating our site locations,” Daigle said of Martin’s Point, which is based on Veranda Street in Portland.

The new building could replace the Martin’s Point facility at 51 Ocean St. in South Portland. That building, which Martin’s Point has used for 14 years, houses primary care, as well as osteopathic manipulative medicine and cosmetic dermatology.

Martin’s Point had hoped to relocate into the old Hamlin School on the corner of Ocean Avenue and Sawyer Road in South Portland, where the city’s Planning and Development Department is located, but the plan was ultimately nixed this spring.

The Scarborough location would, for now, operate in conjunction with the other medical offices Martin’s Point operates in the area.

Daigle said Martin’s Point is working on its business plan to determine if it retains the Ocean Street facility.

“We have made no final determination on the site,” Daigle said.

Hall said if the plan goes through, Richard Aube, the property’s longtime owner, would retain ownership of the property.

Karen Martin, the executive director of Scarborough Economic Development Corporation, has been working with Aube to redevelop the property and played a role, along with commercial broker Roxane Cole, in bringing Aube and Martin’s Point together. Although it is a nonprofit, Martin’s Point will be paying property taxes.

“We always wanted to redevelop that property. It is a key parcel in town. There is no doubt we needed to figure out how that would be redeveloped and get it back on the tax rolls,” Martin said.

Martin said she is excited about the prospect of Martin’s Point coming.

“Getting that property back on the tax rolls is vitally important to the town, as was finding as quality a partner as Martin’s Point. It really met both parties’ needs so well. We are so excited about the possibilities with Martin’s Point.”

While Martin’s Point officials continue to plan the redevelopment of 153 Route 1, many of the businesses that used to be housed there are operating in other locations in Scarborough. Northeast Solutions, a surveying and engineering firm, has relocated to 381 Payne Road after temporarily moving into space at Willowdale Place at 360 Route 1.

Other businesses have maintained a presence on Route 1. Focused on You moved to 162 Route 1 and Gallery Hair Design to Bessey Square at 264 Route 1.

Several former Scarborough Commons tenants, including Lisa King, Chapman Chiropractic Center and Dr. Mark Braun, have found space in Southpointe Professional Park at 306 Route 1.

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