A series of interdependent real estate transactions in Portland worth more than $14 million and involving three Maine companies and a Boston-based developer has closed.

The complex transaction, brokered by The Boulos Co., involved the sale of L.L. Bean-owned 43 Northport Drive, the sale of the iconic former Galt Block Warehouse Co. property at the northeast corner of Commercial and Franklin streets, and finding a tenant to replace the latter commercial property’s departing seller, Auto Europe, which bought and is relocating to 43 Northport.

43 Northport Drive in North Deering

The five-story Galt Block building has been owned and occupied by Auto Europe, an international car rental agency, since 1994. Boulos said in a news release that the company was looking for a single-story location in Portland with free parking and access to public transportation for its more than 250 employees.

Auto Europe agreed to sell its existing property to Boston-based developer Ara Aftandilian, Boulos said. Auto Europe took advantage of what’s known as a Section 1031 tax-deferred exchange, or 1031 exchange, under which it sold the Galt Block property to Aftandilian for $10.5 million, with $4.2 million of the proceeds going directly to the seller of the Northport facility.

Boulos would not disclose the Northport property’s seller, but property records show it was Freeport-based retailer L.L. Bean.

Aftandilian, who had no specific plans for the property, required a new long-term tenant to replace Auto Europe. Boulos said it contacted Certify, a travel, invoice and expense report-management software firm that had expanded to multiple locations throughout Portland and was hoping to find a consolidated home downtown in a building with character that supported its employee-focused vibe and offered visibility to assist in recruiting. The Galt Block property was a perfect fit, it said.

Galt Block on Commercial Street, Portland Photo courtesy of The Boulos Co.

Certify agreed to lease the Galt Block property with a planned move-in date in 2020, Boulos said. Auto Europe will relocate to the Northport building in February.

“Businesses like these are helping to grow and strengthen the Portland and Maine economies,” said Boulos Senior Partner Tony McDonald in the news release. “It’s very rewarding when a complex deal like this falls seamlessly into place.”


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