A rendering of the new development project at Falmouth Shopping Center that will house a restaurant, a law firm and a medical company. Construction on the building is scheduled for completion in December. The project was postponed during the pandemic due to uncertainty surrounding the restaurant business. Courtesy photo / Compass Commercial Brokers

The developer behind two new buildings at the Falmouth Shopping Center has leased the majority of space before construction is even finished. Developers say that points to high demand for commercial property in the area.

The Falmouth Shopping Center was purchased by Jonathan Cohen in 2018. He expanded it to include a mix of retail and commercial space. Both buildings are four stories high and about 26,000 square feet.

Chase bank has leased the first floor of the first building, approved in February, and the fourth floor is under contract to a firm that will have private offices, Steve Baumann of Compass Commercial Brokers said. The second and third floors are still open, but there is a lot of interest in both, he said.

Construction on the building is expected to be complete in November.

The second building is fully leased with the exception of 3,972 square feet on the third floor. However, Baumann said there have been requests for proposals to use that space as well.

A rendering of the building at the Falmouth Shopping Center that will host a Chase bank and office spaces. This building is in addition to a second, similarly sized building that will house a law firm, restaurant and medical supply company. File

The building will be completed in December, though construction was postponed in late 2020 due to the pandemic.

Space in the second building will be leased by Sicilian Table, owned by Ed Manganello, the proprietor of Royal River Grill in Yarmouth and Tuscan Table at the Maine Mall. The tenants were announced last week by Cohen on social media.

“We have a high-end, first-floor restaurant taking that with a beautiful outdoor area,” Baumann said. 

The second floor and half of the third will be occupied by law firm Lanman Rayne of Portland. Puritan Medical Products, which produces medical cotton swabs, will be on the top floor.

Baumann said the offers show the need for the commercial area on Route 1, which underwent zoning changes around 2013 to become more business-friendly.

“Diversifying the tax base is also always of interest to communities,” Falmouth Director of Economic Development Theo Holtwijk told The Forecaster. “If you don’t have a commercial tax base, essentially the property tax burden goes on to residential taxpayers, so having it spread between residential and commercial helps everyone. So, we feel from a fiscal perspective that that’s a good thing.” 

Holtwijk also said multiple uses mean good use of the land, as one parking lot can serve a number of tenants.

Baumann noted the desire for cheaper parking for offices, and that many offices may be looking to move from Portland due to high parking costs. Baumann estimates that a parking space in Portland bears an additional cost of $9 per square foot per office.

We have seen quite an appetite for office space. The suburban market is much stronger than the downtown market,” Baumann said.

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