Rob Woodman has created private office spaces in Gorham’s old Playhouse Theatre. Robert Lowell / American Journal

GORHAM — Rob Woodman of SYNCGorham has found that creating individual offices in an old movie theater is the ticket for success, especially during a pandemic.

“Now, remote working is the cool thing,” Woodman said.

Future plans, post-pandemic, call for opening a co-working space and providing meeting space at the building for civic groups, he said.

A view of the second floor interior. Contributed / Rob Woodman

Woodman owns two of the five business condos at the Playhouse Theatre building in Gorham Village. The two condos take up 60% of the old theater’s space.

He bought his first condo in 2019 and converted it into seven private offices. It opened in August of 2019 and all seven offices filled up. In November 2020, he bought space on the second floor for $95,000 and with $50,000 in renovations turned it into nine more offices. During the work, he said, movie tickets fell from the ceiling.

Three of the second-floor offices have been taken and he hopes to have the remaining six leased in the next few months, he said last week.

Woodman offers six- to 12-month leases ranging from $250 to $350 per month. Amenities available for second-floor offices include a ping pong table, waiting area, conference room with TV monitor, kitchen and coffee station.

Rev. Aaron Manning, pastor of Fort Hill Community Church, who also has an insurance business, is one of Woodman’s tenants. He previously worked at home but has young children and needed an office, he said. He knew Woodman, the rent seemed reasonable and he lives two minutes away, he said.

“I didn’t shop around,” Manning said.

The building housing the Playhouse Theatre was built in 1880 and the theater opened in 1940 and closed in the mid-1970s. Contributed / Gorham Historical Society

Another tenant is a Baldwin farmer who needed good Internet access, said Woodman, a former civil engineer and now a national sales manager, who works out of one of his condos himself.

After the pandemic, Woodman plans to open co-working area with a monthly membership fee, he said. He expects it will attract members from Gorham, Buxton, Hollis and Standish.

“My goal is to provide space for remote workers,” he said.

Kevin Jensen, director of the Gorham Development Corp., said Woodman’s timing is right.

“We believe there will be continued demand for co-working office space in Gorham,” Jensen said.

The Gorham Economic Development Corp. loaned Woodman $45,000 for the project. The GEDC provides direct loans to qualified Gorham businesses that aren’t met through banks to bolster the town’s tax base and the town’s economy.

“We were happy to collaborate on a project that fits the town’s aim to draw more business activity to the village center that benefits the local economy,” Jensen said.

In addition to Woodman’s condos, the building also houses an Edward Jones Investments office and Southern Maine Appraisal Service. BH2M was located there for decades before it relocated to 380B Main St.

Gorham’s former Playhouse Theatre, 28 State St. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Once the pandemic passes, Woodman also wants to provide space for civic groups to meet in keeping with the building’s history.

“It used to be a place where people gathered,” he said.

The building was built in 1880, according to Gorham tax records. The Gorham Theatre opened in 1940 and was renamed Playhouse Theatre in 1943, according to cinematreasures.org. It had 405 seats. It closed in the mid-1970s, Gorham Historical Society President Suzanne Phillips said.

Playhouse Theatre also served as a house of worship before St. Anne’s Church was built on Main Street.

Comments are not available on this story.