The new owner of 701 Forest Ave. has plans to renovate the former pharmacy building and convert it into up to four new storefronts. Contributed / The Boulos Company

The former Rite Aid and Walgreens building at building at 701 Forest Ave. in Portland will be updated and subdivided into four units, according to its new owner.

“I bought it empty without any immediate plans for it than to re-tenant it. I will be putting in all new windows to open it up a bit and bring in more light,” said the new owner Tony McDonald.

The size of the roughly 13,000-square-foot building opens up a lot of possibilities, he said.

“It’s a big box you could do anything with,” he said.

Different uses allowed on the site include medical/veterinary services, retail, health club/gym, grocery, financial institution and takeout restaurant, said Jessica Estes, a partner and designated broker for The Boulos Company.

McDonald said the building’s location on the busy Forest Avenue business corridor and its proximity to nearby neighborhoods make it attractive. According to annual average daily traffic counts from 2019, that section of Forest Avenue sees 19,570 vehicles while Ocean Avenue sees 5,125.

“It’s got one foot in a residential area and one foot in a commercial area at a great intersection,” McDonald said.

The former Rite Aid pharmacy on Brighton Avenue has sat vacant for more than a decade, but there has been renewed interest in the site, according to the property’s broker. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

Across the city, the old Rite Aid building at 936 Brighton Ave. has been vacant for more than a decade, but a reuse may be near.

“We are working on something now. We are hopeful,” said Chris Pasyzc, a partner and broker with The Boulos Company. “If it does happen, it will be a nice professional use and we’d see the building completely rehabilitated.”

The building was built as a Rite Aid pharmacy in 1999. It closed a short time later, but the pharmacy continued to pay the 30-year lease until June 2019.

“We have had a couple of offers, but nothing gelled,” Paszyc said. “The dollar store type of businesses have been interested, but the landlord has been holding out, thinking an office or medial use is going to be the highest and best use of the property.”

The site is zoned for small-scale commercial businesses that are “complementary, quiet and generally do not disturb the comfort and enjoyment of the adjoining neighborhood environment.”

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