Business Beat: Old St. Lawrence Street Home Converted Into Two Luxury Condominiums – With Dramatic Waterfront View

By Carol McCracken

The ‘for sale’ sign in front of 75-77 St. Lawrence Street went up last summer and it’s still there. Sales of condominiums on the Hill are way down and so it’s not surprising it hasn’t been sold. The property developer is very optimistic, however, about the real estate market on the East End in the future.

That developer is Mark Poirier. When the sign was put up last summer, he’d just finished gutting and restoring the two family unit into a showplace ready for the real estate market. The two unit condominium has all of the amenities that are expected in todays luxury marketplace while keeping the high ceilings and large rooms that retain an unmistakable, old-time charm. The piece de resistance, however, is the partial third floor Poirier added to the top of the building. It has a stunning view of Portland harbor and the City. The “observatory” measures 20’ x 16’.

There is something else that isn’t standard in todays condominium marketplace either. This property has undergone an energy audit by the Heat Doctor. Energy losses to the old building were detected through the use of an infrared camera – then they were corrected. Thus saving an average of about 1,000 gallons of oil to the units, said Bob Swan, one of the two Heat Doctors working at the St. Lawrence Street home. The above ground portion of the basement walls had to be insulated with polyurthane spray foam to seal all the air leaks at the St. Lawrence Street property. During the summer, Swan said he worked 6 or 7 days a week trying to keep up with the demand for energy audits. However, since the price of fuel has declined significantly, the demand for energy audits has slowed down as well.

The other Heat Doctor is Mark Poirier, a developer and Swan’s business partner. “Back when these old places on the Hill were built, insulation was not on the checklist,” said Poirier. When he describes to Hill residents the house he has just restored, the response frequently is: “That’s Cecil Hines’ old place.” Hines was well known in the area as a swimming star at Portland High School where he set records. Later in life, he worked for the city’s recreation department where he taught thousands of children to swim over his career. Poirier bought his former home from his estate. For more information on the Heat Doctor, please call 653-2235. Poirier who has been in the real estate business for years says it will take another year for the real estate business to turnaround and head back up. People keep wondering – has the market reached the bottom yet? “The East End is the hottest real estate area in Maine. It has so much to offer,” Poirier said.

For information on the old Hines place, please call real estate agent Colleen Bedard at 553-7349. Prices start at $350,000.00