WESTBROOK – A business with an eye for restoring old windows wants to make a new home on Main Street in Westbrook, but awaits approval of a lease agreement for a small strip of city-owned land.

Bagala Window Works, a Falmouth-based company that has been offering window restoration since 1988, is looking to purchase the former church property at 677 Main St. and restore the building, which sits directly next to Riverbank Park.

Lying adjacent to the church property is a strip of city-owned land that was never owned by the former congregations, but had been used as a parking lot. The City Council will vote Monday to approve a lease agreement for the land that abuts the park to be used by Bagala for staff and clients.

On Monday, Bagala Window Works owner Marc Bagala said the company is excited for a chance to establish a permanent home for the business in Westbrook, as Bagala has been leasing space in Falmouth for years.

Bagala said that his company is focused on preservation, and through constantly working on historic buildings, has looked to operate in a building of similar historic value.

“Potentially having a permanent home in an 1885 building is just really, really exciting,” he said, adding that the church has large windows and plenty of light.

According to Bagala, since its heyday, the church at 677 Main St. has been altered, with some of the building’s most notable stained-glass windows covered by vinyl siding.

“Underneath that, there are beautiful windows in the tower,” he said. “We would love to bring that back to the way it would have looked 100 years ago.”

Bagala Window Works focuses on preservation while improving the energy efficiency of historic windows and doors. The company also offers reproduction of historic windows, and is working on a large project with the Portland Observatory. Bagala also recently completed a window restoration project at Walker Memorial Library in Westbrook. The company normally has a staff hovering around 10 employees.

According to information provided by Mike Sanphy, city councilor and president of the Westbrook Historical Society, the church was dedicated on Dec. 26, 1886, as the Advent Christian Church. Under several different pastors, the church saw many improvements, including the design and fundraising of the tower from 1910-1912, and the following tower construction and addition of stained-glass windows.

Listed by PoGo Realty, the building is under contract for $176,500, and is listed as 1,349 square feet.

Sanphy called Bagala’s plans “great news,” especially considering Westbrook’s loss of historic buildings during urban renewal.

“The building is being restored, and this will be a significant landmark for present and future generations interested in our history,” he said Tuesday. “We lost so much during urban renewal and that really dampened our Bicentennial celebration as most of the buildings that appeared in the photos of the 1914 Centennial were demolished. It is also great to see new businesses like this moving to Westbrook.”

Bill Baker, Westbrook’s assistant city administrator for business and community relations, said Tuesday that the potential move falls in line with the city’s push for downtown revitalization.

“We are very excited about the prospects of this high-quality, first-class service business coming to Main Street in Westbrook,” he said. “It represents the kind of mixed-use diversity of business that we think is healthy for the downtown.”

Bagala said he’s been looking for a permanent home for his business for a long time, and that the company is looking forward to being visible.

“This particular building just kind of spoke to me when I walked through the doors, and I said ‘this is our space, right here,’” he said.

He added that the project will also include the removal of a few interior walls, but that at one time, the building was open.

“The fact that they may restore this beautiful historic structure is also a plus, and consistent with the theme of our goal of becoming a downtown network community,” Baker added, referring to the city’s push to begin a downtown revitalization coalition.

City Administrator Jerre Bryant said Wednesday that the city was initially approached by Bagala to purchase the adjoining parking area, and the City Council was split on whether to sell or lease the land. Bryant said this resulted in negotiating the lease agreement with Bagala.

Bryant said the small, dirt lot, visible from Main Street with a patch of trees in the rear, was sought by Bagala for a needed 8-by-10-foot loading dock on the side of the building, and some off-street employee parking.

He said conditions included in the non-exclusive lease are that the public can use the lot if space is available, and a right to pass, meaning residents can enter the park through the property. Due to these conditions, it is ultimately up to Bagala whether to pave the lot.

Similar conditions apply to the parking lot at Legacy Publishing on the opposite side of the park, where 10 spaces are designated to the company, but others are available to the public.

Bryant called the negotiated lease agreement an example of how the city works with businesses to address challenges.

“We want to see the downtown develop and prosper, but there are a lot of challenges, including parking and access,” he said. “We try to work with businesses to try to help them overcome those challenges.”

He added that the historic implications of this project for Westbrook’s downtown are significant, especially as Bagala is tackling the restoration of a historic piece of architecture.

“Most churches have unique character and architecture that are part of the downtown,” he said. “To reuse and preserve a building that has been part of downtown Westbrook for 100 years is a nice thing to be able to do.”

Bagala said his company’s lease in Falmouth doesn’t expire for another six months, which means that if the sale of the Westbrook property goes through, the business would use the time to work on the building.

This photo of the church at 677 Main St. depicts the property as it once was, with highly visible stained-glass windows and tower. Bagala Window Works, a business that restores historic windows, is looking to purchase and restore the building.  

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