Developer Sean Ireland addresses the crowd during a grand opening for The Grant in downtown Bath. Jason Claffey / The Times Record

The Grant Building on Centre Street in downtown Bath was built in 1936. Jason Claffey / The Times Record

The historic Grant Building in downtown Bath is nearly 100 years old, and according to developer Sean Ireland, it’s poised for the next 100 years.

“The best is still to come with this building,” Ireland told a crowd of city, state and federal officials during a grand opening celebrating the building’s $3 million redevelopment. It’s one of downtown Bath’s largest renovation efforts.

The Art Deco-style building was built in 1936 by the W.T. Grant department store company at the site of the former City Hall. The department store closed in the 1960s. Bath Iron Works used the building for training sailors in the 1970s through the 1990s. R.M. Tate, a retail salvage store, operated in the building from 1995 to 2014. It has been mostly unused since.

Ireland, principal of Windward Development, purchased the building for $309,000 from the Sagadahock Real Estate Association in 2021.

Now called The Grant, the 22,000-square-foot building houses Ireland’s coworking space, Union + Co, on the first floor, four apartments on the second and third floors and a theater, art studio and office space in the lower level.

“The Grant Building has long been an integral part of our cityscape,” City Council Chair Mary Ellen Bell said. “It’s more than just bricks and mortar. … It encourages opportunities to live and work in downtown Bath and to help create a thriving city center. It


Developer Sean Ireland addresses the crowd Thursday during the grand opening of The Grant. Jason Claffey / The Times Record

includes residential spaces at a time of desperate need for increased housing.”

Two one-bedroom apartments and two two-bedroom apartments already have been leased out and occupied; rents range from $1,300 to $3,500. The performance group Invulnerable Nothings is using the theater space, which can fit about 50 people. Union + Co has about 50 members who use the coworking space. A solar array is expected to generate about 30% of the building’s energy needs.

“The Grant Building represents a tremendous step forward for the Midcoast economy and our community,” state Sen. Eloise Vitelli said. “It is a monument to the Maine entrepreneurial spirit.”

She said the building provides critical housing and will serve as a launchpad for business.

Heather Johnson, commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, praised Ireland and Union + Co co-owner Mandy Reynolds for their vision for the building.

“Great projects like this don’t happen without great leaders,” Johnson said.

The city of Bath provided a tax credit for the project through its tax increment finance district.

Ireland specializes in the renovation of historic buildings; his projects include the Press Hotel in Portland, Bath Brewing Company and Maine Street Design Co.

Union + Co regularly hosts events such as a happy hour, a lunch-and-learn series and a comedy night.

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