The historic Bartol constructing, previously the Freeport library after which an Abercrombie & Fitch has been vacant for 2 years. The Forecaster file photograph.
FREEPORT — After two years of emptiness, Freeport’s historic Bartol constructing can have the lights on as soon as once more, no less than by the vacation season and presumably past.
Freeport City Supervisor Peter Joseph introduced Tuesday evening that officers have made an settlement with the Cumberland and Falmouth Farmers Market to arrange a brief weekend makers’ market this vacation season.
The group will keep for no less than the month of December, however has indicated they may keep longer, Joseph advised the city council.
The city has struggled to discover a use for the constructing since December 2018.
Situated at 55 Major Street, the constructing continues to be on the rental market, Joseph stated, however the use is “a nice sign, even if it’s only a temporary use.”
There are “a few people sniffing around,” he stated, however on the very least, the market will expose extra folks to the within of the constructing and “maybe something will come out of it.”
The constructing was designed by Portland architect George Burnham and inbuilt 1906 with assist from a $6,500 grant from the Andrew Carnegie Basis, inserting it amongst a bunch of about 1,600 “Carnegie Libraries” throughout the nation.
Named after benefactor and Freeport Native Barnabas Henry Bartol, it functioned as the general public library till 1997 when the Freeport Group Library was moved to North Major Street
The town-owned constructing later housed retailers and was most lately occupied by Abercrombie & Fitch, which in 2018 vacated the area after about 18 years of occupancy.
Abercrombie & Fitch paid about $350,000 yearly in hire, Joseph advised the Forecaster final yr, and though the city provided to barter the lease, there was no curiosity from the retailer as a result of it “wasn’t profitable for them.”
Some have urged the city take into account having the constructing function a neighborhood hub, providing area for the humanities, a customer’s heart, museum, gallery, well being care or academic makes use of.
Not too long ago, the constructing has been used a handful of occasions as a venue for the occasional perform, however they’ve been principally “one-offs,” Keith McBride, director of the Freeport Financial Improvement Company stated.
The Bartol Constructing is larger than what most potential tenants are in search of as a retail area, and with the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a whole lot of insecurity round retail basically, making it a tricky time to be advertising and marketing the placement, McBride stated.
The roughly 6,660 thousand sq. foot constructing is valued at about $1.7 million, in response to city property data.
One factor is obvious although: “The community has been really clear about wanting to hang onto it as a potential community asset and historical asset,” he stated.
McBride is hopeful that ultimately it can discover a tenant to regenerate a few of that misplaced income for the city.
The brand new market is an thrilling step towards that chance.
The coronavirus pandemic has been troublesome on Freeport’s downtown companies, he stated, and the neighborhood depends on folks to come back expertise what the downtown space has to supply.
The vacation purchasing season is very essential for the retail-driven native financial system, however to ensure that that to achieve success, “that means bringing some new life and some new energy to downtown,” McBride stated.
The makers’ market will characteristic the whole lot from winter greens and baked items to items and different wares from 10 Maine-based distributors.
An indoor winter market will probably be a primary for the Cumberland and Falmouth Farmers Market, and whereas solely about half the scale of the profitable summer time endeavors, advertising and marketing director and vendor Don Gaile stated he thinks it “could be the start of something really exciting.”
Gaile stated the summer time markets have been busier than ever this yr, with folks popping out in “droves” for contemporary meals and native crafts.
When the season wrapped up this fall, he stated, market administration determined to look “for an opportunity to continue that momentum and find a place inside.”
Gaile, a Freeport resident, instantly considered the Bartol constructing.
“I knew it was empty and that the town owns it. I thought it would be easier to work with the town because they have a vested interest in making Freeport successful,” versus a distant landlord seeking to make a revenue, he stated.
As a resident, he’s watched as Freeport has labored to market itself as a vacation spot for extra than simply retail, and whereas the market will probably be extra retail, he nonetheless believes “we fit that mold perfectly,” he stated. “We have people who offer something you can’t get anywhere else.”
Situated within the coronary heart of downtown, the constructing is in an excellent location for foot site visitors, and with added indicators, some decorations to make it “warm and cozy,” they’re eager for a constructive reception.
“This is an experiment, Gaile said. “We’re happy to try this out, see how it goes.”
The market will run Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning Dec. 5. For extra data go to cumberlandfalmouthfarmmarket.com or electronic mail [email protected].
BIW begins work on newest destroyer
Tub shipyard making progress on manufacturing delays
This iframe incorporates the logic required to deal with Ajax powered Gravity Types.