SCARBOROUGH — Four years after the shutdown of the Konica Minolta plant, there’s a buzz of activity on the property.

The former photo processing plant on Route 1 is being transformed into medical and business offices. The first tenant, Coastal Women’s Healthcare, will likely move in this summer, according to Bob Gaudreau, the owner of Hardypond Construction, the developer and contractor for the $4 million project.

“We are adding some distinctions to it, so it’s less of an industrial box and it feels friendlier as an office building,” he said.

The new building will be called the Elevation Center, a reference to the Elevation Farm that was once on the site, Gaudreau said. It will contain roughly 30,000 square feet each of medical space and Class A office space.

The project will help Scarborough’s efforts to update Route 1 architecturally and aesthetically, said Harvey Rosenfeld, president and executive director of the Scarborough Economic Development Corporation. The improvements to the former plant will improve a gateway to the town, he said.

“Any construction project in this recession is great,” Rosenfeld said. “The fact that they’re willing to take this risk because they think there’s growth potential in Scarborough is a great endorsement.”

Much of the building’s interior will remain intact, but the plan calls for removing the center of the building to create an interior courtyard.

A new facade will be created with a cement coating, with the lower portions treated to resemble brick. That coating and a new roof system are among the energy-efficient elements of the project.

Outside the building, about 15,000 cubic yards of earth have been removed to more than double the number of parking spaces to 300.

The project also involves road modifications and relocation of the main entryway.

Gaudreau will be reimbursed up to $559,065 for the traffic improvements over the 15-year life of a tax increment financing agreement with the town, said Rosenfeld, who was involved in putting together the TIF deal.

Elevation Center is Hardypond Construction’s second conversion of an industrial space in the area. The Portland-based company already turned the former Humpty Dumpty potato chip plant into Nonesuch Plaza, an office complex a bit further north on Route 1.

The old Konica building is a charming one compared to the potato chip plant, Gaudreau said, but the project is still a risky one.

“Truly, this is an economic stimulus package of my own to keep my employees busy,” he said. “We’re all a lot slower than we were a year ago, two years ago. In this case, I’m assured I’m going to be paid, being both the developer and the owner. I can wait to see rewards.”

Coastal Women’s Healthcare is moving from across the street to accommodate expansion, Gaudreau said.

He expects the center to house eight to 12 tenants in total.

 

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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