MaineHealth buys Portland shopping center for $16.8 million

MaineHealth, which runs neighboring Maine Medical Center, in the background at right, has purchased Union Station Plaza, a strip mall at Congress and St. John streets in Portland, for $16.8 million. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

MaineHealth, which operates Maine Medical Center, has purchased a nearby shopping plaza at Congress and St. John streets in Portland for $16.8 million.

The health care system said Thursday it has no plans to develop Union Station Plaza, which was acquired from Union Station Plaza LMT Partnership, according to a news release. The 110,000-square-foot plaza borders the medical center’s newly built employee parking garage and an office building leased by MMC at 222 St. John St., just east of the city’s Libbytown neighborhood.

The cost of the purchase is offset by the property’s revenue-generating commercial leases, the release said. The plaza currently has an assessed value of $12.6 million and remains on the Portland tax rolls, according to city spokesperson Jessica Grondin.

Union Station Plaza, the site of a historic train terminal demolished in the 1960s, is now home to retailers including Maine Hardware, a Rent-A-Center furniture store and Buckdancer’s Choice, a musical instrument dealer in business since 1976.

Sydney Neptune is bar manager at American Pool & Billiards at Union Station Plaza in Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

At another storefront in the plaza, American Pool & Billiards, manager Sydney Neptune said the business hadn’t received many details about the sale, but isn’t too worried about it.

“We have a couple more years to start thinking about things with our lease,” and business is still doing well, she said.

MaineHealth has been a pretty good neighbor, she said, and the sale wasn’t exactly a surprise.

“People were kind of expecting them to start making their way over and start buying everything up when their parking garage was built,” she said.

Jeff Sanders, MaineHealth southern region president, said in the release, “This was a unique opportunity that we could not ignore. This allows us to consider a very long-term approach to meeting the health needs of our community and helps ensure the viability of the investments we have already made in that area. We understand and respect the significance the property and tenant businesses have to the neighborhood and city, and we intend to honor the business leases currently in place.”

Maine Hardware is one of the businesses at Union Station Plaza, which was purchased for $16.8 million by MaineHealth. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

MaineHealth owns other real estate nearby, including the sites of Pizza Villa and a D’Angelo sandwich shop. In 2020, MaineHealth purchased the former Greyhound bus station, across St. John Street, and is developing the site into a food pantry to serve community residents.

“We had a number of offers before listing the property for sale,” Bob Connor, former owner of Union Station Plaza, said in the release. “I’ve owned the property for 30 years, and finding the right buyer was important to me. In MaineHealth, we had a local buyer with a positive impact on our community and a vision for the future that benefits all Mainers.”

MaineHealth is northern New England’s largest health care system, with 22,000 employees and 12 hospitals including 700-bed Maine Medical Center.

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