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Freeport's outdoor mall sells for $20 million at foreclosure auction

Shops at the Freeport Village Station. The outdoor shopping mall sold for $20 million at a foreclosure auction on Wednesday.
Robert F. Bukaty
AP file
Shops at the Freeport Village Station. The outdoor shopping mall sold for $20 million at a foreclosure auction on Wednesday.

Freeport Village Station shopping mall located at the center of Freeport's downtown sold for $20 million at a foreclosure auction held Wednesday.

The property went on the block after developer Berenson Associates defaulted on its loan payments. The winning bidder came from the company that held the original mortgage, Freeport Village Station Capital LLC.

Berenson Associates originally developed Freeport Village Station in 2008 for an inflation adjusted $64 million. Freeport's town assessor values the 3.5-acre property at $32.5 million.

"I would anticipate that there will be at some point a new owner in the near [to] distant future," said Mike Carey, co-CEO of Tranzon Auction Properties which organized the auction. "There’s a lot of continued interest in the asset. We had conversations from folks from Southern California to Florida to Boston to Portland. This an investment grade asset [and] I wouldn’t anticipate that the lender holds it long term, but I am not privy to their internal discussions."

The outdoor mall spans an entire block and is located across the street from L.L. Bean's flagship store. Freeport Village Station's 16 current tenants includes outlet stores for L.L. Bean and other national retailers. Tawni Whitney, executive director for the Freeport Chamber of Commerce, says despite the downtown area’s commercial success over the years, the mall had lagged behind.

"Freeport’s [commercial] vacancy right now is as low as it’s been in a few years, but [there's] a real gap where we are seeing vacancies still in [Freeport] Village Station," said Whitney. "The [retail] spaces inside just seem to be behind for whatever reason, and I think the auction was telling us to why that was happening."

Whitney hopes the property’s next developer will modernize the space. There are sixteen current tenants at the mall.

Nick Song is Maine Public's inaugural Emerging Voices Fellowship Reporter.

Originally from Southern California, Nick got his start in radio when he served as the programming director for his high school's radio station. He graduated with a degree in Journalism and History from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University -- where he was Co-News Director for WNUR 89.3 FM, the campus station.