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Camden National Bank Donates Historic Buildings to Gardiner Main Street to Support City’s Revitalization Efforts

Gift valued at $350,000 includes property located in city’s National Register Historic District

Gardiner, Maine – November 3, 2016 – Camden National Bank has donated a historic block of buildings in downtown Gardiner to Gardiner Main Street in support of the city’s redevelopment efforts. Located at 149-167 Water Street in Gardiner’s National Register Historic District, the block of properties comprises 23,000 square feet in four stories and is located next to Reny’s and directly across from the Gardiner Public Library. In addition, the gift, valued at $350,000, also includes a vacant lot located at 129 Water Street. The announcement was made at a public ribbon cutting at the location on Wednesday, November 2nd.

“Camden National Bank believes in the revitalization of our communities and the importance of preserving the rich history of the towns we live in,” said Greg Dufour, president and chief executive officer of Camden National Bank. “We are proud to offer this gift to the Gardiner community and partner with Gardiner Main Street in its efforts to offer new opportunities for local artisans and entrepreneurs and expand upon the cultural resources and growth that this area has already seen.”

Gardiner Main Street (GMS), a public benefit nonprofit corporation committed to strengthening Gardiner as a regional hub for commerce, community and culture, plans to expand its current “co-working” space in the Water Street building and redevelop the newly donated space. The properties, which date to 1856, are collectively known as the “Dingley Block,” which got its name from the Dingley brothers, who operated a hardware store in the space from 1867 to 1905. The block abuts “Gardiner Landing” park and offers commanding views of the Kennebec River. 

For the past four years, GMS has been operating a business incubator space known as the “Co-Lab,” a co-working space on the third floor of a neighboring building. The organization plans to expand this space and improve the concept, benefitting from a first-floor conference space, shared office amenities, and a mix of private offices and shared desk space. In addition, other redevelopment plans include a $2.5 million historic rehabilitation, using a mix of historic preservation tax credits, grant support, private equity investment, and traditional financing. 

“The significance of this gift cannot be overstated,” said Patrick Wright, executive director of Gardiner Main Street, Inc. “We have supported historic preservation as well as economic and community development for the last 15 years, but we have never had the opportunity to make such a profound impact on an entire block within our historic downtown.”

Wright continued, “Being able to obtain the property with zero debt will allow our small nonprofit to carry the expenses of the building while we bring together the right redevelopment partners. We are very grateful to Camden National Bank for this huge investment in the city of Gardiner and for being such a strong partner in supporting our efforts.”

Gardiner Main Street is looking to pilot a replicable redevelopment model for downtown areas throughout Maine by creating a unique Maine Makers Marketplace. The organization is consulting with Developers Collaborative, the Maine Craft Association, and Maine Preservation to transform the vacant portion of the Dingley Block, located at 129 Water Street, into a series of affordable live-work spaces for local craftspeople and entrepreneurs. 

Camden National Bank acquired the properties as a result of its merger with The Bank of Maine in October 2015. The Bank of Maine, and previously Gardiner Savings Bank, had stabilized the buildings structurally, saving them from possible demolition after acquiring them over time. 

About Camden National Bank
Camden National Bank is a full-service community bank that offers state-of-the-art online and mobile banking resources through a network of 61 branches and 84 ATMs in Maine, as well as lending offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Headquartered in Camden, Maine, the Bank has been supporting Maine’s people and businesses since 1875 and believes in creating strong connections to the community through volunteerism, sponsorships, and donations that strengthen and invigorate the areas it serves. Through programs like Hope@Home and the Community Spirit of Giving (CSOG), Camden National Bank partners with local agencies to provide vital assistance to those in need throughout the state. To learn more, visit here. Member FDIC.