Slow but steady progress continues on the Marble Block.

In 2017, as part of the Belvedere Historic Preservation Grant, Building Envelope Specialists did a complete analysis of the building’s exterior stability and issued a report of items to be addressed. The Marble Block suffered delays due to weather and other higher priority projects, such as the Lincoln Mill and the Lofts at Saco Falls. Credere Associates issued RFPs and bids were received for basement remediation. Work is again underway as of January 2018. Subcontractors K & K Excavation and Landscape is currently working to install a new sump pump and seal ground water leaks in the basement that are contributing to ongoing moisture and mold issues. The facade and three roofs are fairly water-tight, for the most part, and stable and not contributing to the moisture in the basement. We expect the work K & K is doing will resolve that issue.

John Anton, a building redevelopment and finance expert, has been on board as a project manager for the past year to help move the various pieces forward. Anton has expertise in building finance and been instrumental in securing a predevelopment loan in order to allow the Marble Block Redevelopment Corp. to fund various activities.

One of those activities is getting dependable construction numbers. It’s a contractor’s market out there which drives the cost of renovation, especially of difficult buildings like this one, upward. Zachau Construction was hired to prepare construction estimates and at first blush, the numbers came in lower than anticipated but with many exclusions. Zachau needs to schedule walk-thrus with subs and revise their construction estimates to inform fundraising needs.

The building is being shown to prospective tenants but until numbers are more firm and timelines established, the challenge of locating tenants to share space is great. The volatile commercial real estate market on Main Street is beginning to improve with the mills nearing capacity and new businesses popping up on Main and Alfred Streets.