A Portland development company known for transforming Old Port properties has purchased the Centervale Farm antique store on Route 1 in Scarborough and hopes to move its corporate offices there by late summer.

The purchase means the popular antique store will have to move out of its building on Route 1 by the end of the year and discontinue its retail business. It will continue selling its antiques wholesale.

“Our customers don’t seem very pleased. We kind of have a niche here because we have a lot of furniture,” said Pat Center, who owns the business with her husband, Steve.

The Portland development company, Ram Management Company, is a retail, residential, industrial and office developer and also manages some property. The company was co-founded in 1974 by Howard Goldenfarb, who is credited with renovating 21 properties in the Old Port.

“The company has been in downtown Portland since its inception,” said Todd Goldenfarb, of Ram Management. “But our focus has shifted out of the Old Port.”

Ram Management will occupy 5,000 square feet of the building, and once Centervale Farm moves out, the development company will lease the remaining 13,000 square feet.

“The (company’s) base will remain in Maine, and that was something we thought about and found Scarborough to be a perfect fit,” said Goldenfarb.

The Centers built the 18,000-square-foot building in two stages, beginning in 1991. Four years later the couple completed the barn portion of the structure.

Centervale Farm Antiques opened in 1991 and at this point is believed to be the largest one-owner antique store in the state.

Pat Center said the pair was not looking to sell the building, but made contact with Ram Management through a mutual friend and eventually struck a deal. Neither Ram Management nor the Centers disclosed the financial terms of the agreement.

“The timing was right, and everything fell into place,” she said.

Goldenfarb said the location provides Ram Management with nearby access to the highway, is an easy place for employees to reach, and has ample parking. The corporate office employs 11 people.

“It just makes a lot of sense,” he said. “We found a beautiful property, one consistently recognized as the best on Route 1 in its design.”

Overall Center said she is please that Ram Management is buying the building and will work to keep its character.

The store will remain open through 2006 to allow the business to wind down before a new tenant is brought in. Centervale Farm Antiques has become known for its wide selection of antique furniture, especially mahogany furniture produced from the 1880s to 1930s.

Centervale Farm Antiques will remain in business, but will shift its focus from retail to a wholesale business and also will sell items at antique shows.

Scarborough Economic Development Corp. President Harvey Rosenfeld said Ram Management is a high quality developer and is a good organization to have in Scarborough.

Rosenfeld said the Centervale Farm building really started the beatification process of Route 1 and led the way for the construction of some nicer buildings.

“Things are changing, and really that was probably the start of it,” he said. “It’s hard to make a five-lane road attractive, but it’s coming.”

Ram Management is now in the process of receiving the necessary town permitting. Goldenfarb said some interior renovations will be done to transfer the space into an office, but the character of the building will remain intact.

Goldenfarb expects the building’s future tenant in the remaining space will be a similar retailer or an office to fill the approximately 13,000-square-foot space. He said Ram Management plans on marketing the building during the next year to potential tenants.

“Because of its strong reputation as a retail destination, a retail tenant will most likely fill the future vacancy,” Goldenfarb said. “However, as medical and office use expands in Scarborough, some may see Centervale Farm as a prime location for office use. Either way the property will remain a jewel in the area.”

Ram Management purchased the Centervale Farm property for use as its corporate headquarters. Centervale Farm Antiques will remain open through the year.


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