BY IVANNA C. SUKKAR
BY KURT STEPHAN
Wat c h The state’s second-largest city struggled the past few decades during the decline of its textile industry. The early ’90s conversion of the historic Bates Mill complex into a business, dining and multifamily center helped revital- ize the city culturally and economically. Lewiston is teaming with neighbor- ing Auburn to draft a charter proposal to merge the two cities into one that would rival Portland in population.
The Greater Portland metro area, consisting of more than a half million
people, makes up a third of Maine’s population and is the state’s economic capital, benefitting from its southern port, 115 miles from Boston. CBRE reports that commercial construction is picking up after an
extended dormant period, with three major hotels and several condominium projects under way in the peninsula area.
Greater Portland office market
The office market has returned generally positive results the past two years
in the Greater Portland region, according to a survey by Malone Commercial
Brokers, with overall vacancy at 9. 13 percent at the end of second-quarter
2014. Net absorption, however, after steadily increasing since 2011 to a
peak of more than 150,000 square feet in 2013, dipped into the negative —
at nearly - 41,000 square feet — at the half way point of this year.
New development has been
modest and is expected by
analysts to remain that way
into 2015. No major office construction projects are planned for 2014,
but some may break ground in
2015, according to Malone.
GREATER PORTLAND OFFICE MARKET
Source : Matthew Barney/Malone Commercial Brokers
The Pine Tree State looks to solve
Maine occupies a unique place in the nation, being among
the smaller states in terms of size and population. It is the
country’s most northeastern point, and is the least densely
populated state east of the Mississippi River, according to
the U.S. Census Bureau.
Economically, Maine has followed a different path from
much of the nation, with its recession starting later and
impacting the state less severely than it did many other regions. This is in part because Maine has headquarters of few
large corporations, and comparatively few of the types of
industries that were hardest hit in the downturn.
But Maine also has bounced back from the recession less robustly than much of the nation, with its
economy relatively flat. Maine’s real gross domestic product grew by 0.9 percent in 2013, according
to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, below the New England regional
rate of 1.3 percent and the U.S. rate of 1.8 percent.
Unemployment in Maine has consistently been below the U.S. average, but the state faces another employment-related issue: concern
about its ability to grow its economy going forward because of an aging workforce and stagnant population growth.
Key industries in the state include agriculture, especially poultry,
eggs, cattle, blueberries, and maple syrup and sugar; commercial
fishing, notably lobstering; and manufacturing, including wood and
leather products, electronic equipment, textiles, and biotechnology.
2010 2011 2012 2013 Q2 ’ 14
Direct asking rental rate (per square foot) Direct vacancy rate