By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,410)
“The deal to sell both Colucci buildings on the Hill to Crandall Toothacker fell through,” said a source close to the situtation this morning. The source went on to say that the “word on the street” is that Toothacker, a Hill resident, had expressed interest in purchasing the two buildings for a sum of $2.2 M to convert them into condominiums.
Yesterday afternoon at 2:00 pm., Toothacker conducted a tour of 1 North Street, one of the two buildings in the proposed package, but decided against the deal. Toothacker is a major landlord in Portland who owns numerous rental properties. He frequently goes into buildings, completely guts them, upgrades them and puts them up for rent – at a much higher rent than previously. In some cases, he converts them into condominiums, thus decreasing the stock of affordable rental units in Portland. Recently, Toothacker rennovated his 100th building in the area. How many is enough, Crandall?
“Dickie” Colucci, a co-owner, said in a telephone interview earlier today “that simply is not true. I don’t know where these rumors are coming from, but they are not true. Someone is lying.” Rumors about selling have been the talk of the Hill for weeks now. That is so because 135 Congress Street houses the popular convenience store, Colucci’s. Beer, pizza and newspapers are among its most popular products. In earlyMarch, the building was the victim of a 2-alarm fire at 3:30 am. The store was closed and remains closed. Tenants in the above apartments were displaced. There were no human injuries, but three pets were lost in the blaze. The arsonists was arrested and put in jail.
Another credible source said Colucci and his other partners plan to restore the 135 Congress Street building entirely and then put the package of two buildings up for sale. Dickie also denied this.
Progress on the restoration of Colucci’s Market has been amazingly slow, which has fueled speculation that the insurance company is not cooperating with the owners. However, it is hoped that the store will open for business sometime this summer.
Please see Post #1,311, dated March 8, 2013 for background information on the 2-alarm fire.