Welcome to our home page and blog. Dirigo Capital Advisors, LLC is a real estate development company. We are known for uncommon success in imaginative but complex commercial redevelopment projects, and for exacting standards in the reconstruction of large, iconic properties in the northeast United States. Please check back often for the latest news, or subscribe to our RSS feed.

A Maine real estate deal with a story to tell

Click on this link or the image below for Kevin Mattson’s video analysis of a recent and very important commercial real estate transaction in Augusta. Mattson is president of Dirigo Capital Advisors.

The Kennebec Journal reported that one of our projects has been sold to an out of state company. The project, which enabled the construction in 2011 of the building that houses MaineGeneral’s Musculoskeletal Center at 15 Enterprise Drive in Augusta, is one of the city’s most visible commercial real estate success stories, situated as it is right along Route 27 with very close access to I-95. It’s a success story not just for the “Class A” building itself, but because of the national reputation that the facility has drawn to Augusta. This video adds important context to the story.

Great newspaper series about TIFs

Without a TIF, MaineGeneral's former campus would have been razed instead of re-developed.

Without a TIF, MaineGeneral's former campus would have been razed instead of re-developed.

As a commercial real estate developer, Dirigo Capital Advisors has been a party to the creation of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts in a couple of Maine municipalities. These are complicated legal instruments that most people misunderstand. Last year, the Kennebec Journal took note of an innovative social media tactic we used to try to explain what a TIF is, and one Augusta city councilor called our YouTube video the best explanation of a TIF he’d ever heard.

Transparency in the creation of TIF districts is incredibly important, so we’d like to applaud reporter Naomi Schalit and the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting for an outstanding two-part series, “The TIF Game.” Even though we use TIFs as a development tool, DCA’s president Kevin Mattson shares some of the concerns articulated in Schalit’s report, particularly in regard to “credit enhancement agreements.”

A properly constructed TIF agreement is a very useful economic development tool, and a good agreement can certainly withstand the type of light that Schalit is shining on the use of TIFs here in Maine. No doubt TIF districts will continue to be created here in the state. But educated taxpayers and educated municipal officials are crucial to making sure that municipalities craft good agreements. Our thanks to the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting for significantly advancing the education process

Any Maine businesses looking for bargain leasing?

Guess what low and stable energy prices (the arrival of natural gas) and hundreds of thousands of square feet of very low-cost inventory combine to produce? BARGAINS, if that’s what you’re looking for in a commercial lease. A new article published just today in Mainebiz contains this on-the-money quote from Chris Paszyc, a partner in Maine’s leading commercial real estate broker, CBRE/The Boulos Co. "He's definitely positioned himself as the low-cost space provider in the area.”

Paszyc is talking about Kevin Mattson, the president of Dirigo Capital Advisors. The article that quotes goes on to say, “(In) Augusta, Kevin Mattson, principal of Mattson Development, has a plan for reusing some mammoth space that will shortly become available as MaineGeneral Health completes its consolidation of scattered facilities into a new $322 million regional hospital in North Augusta slated to open Nov. 9. The consolidation will create 300,000 square feet of vacant space in the old MaineGeneral Medical Center that Mattson intends to redevelop, a project with expected repercussions on commercial properties throughout the capital city.”

Read the FULL MAINEBIZ ARTICLE HERE. If you are interested in an affordable commercial lease at Augusta East or at the Central Maine Commerce Center, contact Bill Dowling at 207-215-3863.

 

He’s definitely positioned himself as the low-cost space provider in the area.
— Chris Paszyc, Partner, CBRE|The Boulos Co.

The Guardian: Newcastle Square pub one of Maine’s 10 best

Kevin Mattson, president of Dirigo Capital Advisors, has some news about what's coming to Newcastle Square. 

Kevin Mattson, president of Dirigo Capital Advisors, has some news about what's coming to Newcastle Square. 

Business is booming at the Newcastle Publick House, and according to the news that Kevin Mattson has for you in THIS VIDEO, more exciting  developments are just around the corner at Newcastle Square.

All very exciting, especially after we learned that respected U.K. publication The Guardian called the Newcastle Publick House one of Maine’s 10 best pubs in this recent review: “After an extended visit to Oxbow Brewing in Newcastle, nothing hits the spot like a rack of oysters and a few beers across town, at the Publick House. Here you'll find traditional English pub decor and even "English Nachos" (starring smoky pulled pork). There's a great patio, too, and as it's not far from the Damariscotta river you could go for a cleansing swim later (just wait at least 30 minutes to digest). Note that the entrance is towards the back of the building, due to an old town ordinance prohibiting bars from being within a certain distance of churches.”

 

DownEast Magazine files a REPORT from Saco Island

“The Run of the Mill is nearly irresistible.”

CLICK THIS VIDEO LINK for commentary by Kevin Mattson. There was a time in the not-too-distant past when downtown Biddeford-Saco was RARELY mentioned in DownEast Magazine. Let’s just surmise that perhaps the editors felt --- in a previous era --- that the “image” of downtown Biddeford-Saco didn’t quite fit in with the demographics of its readership.  Positive thinking and forward momentum seems to be changing all that --- very, very QUICKLY.

Click HERE for video from the pub or HERE for the full text article in DownEast Magazine. 

 

Mattson steers Newcastle waterfront project to safe harbor

Sale of the Harbor House on September 30, 2013 means that the property will be successfully re-developed. 

Sale of the Harbor House on September 30, 2013 means that the property will be successfully re-developed. 

(Newcastle, Maine) Dirigo Capital Advisors announced this morning that it has sold its Harbor House waterfront project to a commercial real estate developer.

The Standard of Newcastle, a company owned by entrepreneurial restaurateur and developer Xavier Cervera, closed on the purchase of the Harbor House yesterday in Newcastle. Cervera is well known for opening stylish restaurants and pubs in Washington, D.C. and Miami Beach.

Kevin Mattson, president of Dirigo Capital Associates, released a YouTube video today commenting extensively on the sale. He said the worldwide recession that began in 2008 and a sudden town moratorium on marina development combined to make the original development plan unfeasible, but he also said he is pleased with the eventual outcome.

“I’m really glad we stuck with it, and ignored all the unwanted advice to cut bait,” Mattson said. “The total collapse of the U.S. housing industry made this one of the biggest challenges we ever faced. Unfortunately my crystal ball wasn’t working in 2006, otherwise we never would have proposed what we did. But perseverance does pay off. The project will be different, but it will be a great addition to Newcastle.”

Mattson said he is especially thankful for the support he received from townspeople who understood unprecedented complexities created by the total collapse of the U.S. housing market. In Dirigo's video released published this morning, Mattson announced news of the sale and thanked the town for its patience.

Dirigo Capital Advisors (DCA) is a company with expertise in financial modeling, investor recruitment, large project planning, regulatory compliance, construction supervision and property asset management. It currently controls more than $200 million in commercial real estate in Maine, including large, iconic properties like the Central Maine Commerce Center in Augusta, Saco Island, MaineGeneral Health’s former Seton Unit in Waterville, 415 Congress Street in Portland, and MaineGeneral Health’s hospital campus in Augusta’s East Chestnut Street neighborhood, which is currently being redeveloped.

(The Harbor House project) will be a great addition to Newcastle.
— Kevin Mattson, president, Dirigo Capital Advisors

News, Maine commercial real estate

As reported today by the Kennebec Journal:

Two GOP notables join Dirigo Capital board of advisers

By Paul Koenig 
Staff Writer

The company heading major development projects in Augusta and Waterville, including two MaineGeneral Health properties, recently brought in two prominent Republican party members as advisers.

Dirigo Capital Advisors, LLC announced this week that Rick Bennett, chairman of the Maine Republican Party and vice chairman of GMI Ratings, and Philip Harriman, former state senator and partner at a Falmouth law firm, joined its newly formed board of advisers at the beginning of the summer.

Kevin Mattson, president and one of the owners of Dirigo Capital Advisors, formerly Mattson Development, said bringing Bennett and Harriman on board is needed as the company takes on larger projects.

"They bring with them a maturity that a company that has grown to our size really needs," Mattson said.

The real estate development company often buys older, vacant property and renovates it for commercial use. Its most recent projects include MaineGeneral Health's East Chestnut Street hospital, slated to be closed at the end of the year; and the Seton campus of MaineGeneral Health in Waterville.

The board of advisers will provide guidance on whether potential deals make sense, and have more of a big-picture perspective on the company's strategy, Mattson said.

In the case of the Seton project, Mattson said, the board members advised using more of a community-based approach to finding a reuse for the building.

Bennett and Harriman will be compensated for their work on the board, but Mattson declined to say how much. He said the company plans to add three more members to the advisory board.

Both Mattson and Severin Beliveau, general counsel and another business partner in the company, have served the Maine Democratic Party previously. Mattson was chief of staff for a Democratic Maine House majority leader in the 1990s; and Beliveau, a prominent State House lobbyist, is a former state legislator and Maine Democratic Party chairman.

The company controls just under $300 million in commercial real estate in Maine, according to Mattson, including the Central Maine Commerce Center in Augusta and the Offices at Saco Island.

Paul Koenig -- 621-5663, pkoenig@mainetoday.com

 

ANNOUNCEMENT from Dirigo Capital Advisors

(Portland, Maine) Dirigo Capital Advisors announced today that it has recruited two of Maine’s most prominent and successful business executives to advise the company in its mission, redeveloping several of the state’s large and iconic commercial properties.

DCA has appointed Richard Bennett and Phillip Harriman to the newly formed DCA Board of Advisors in order to assist the company with strategic asset management and long term planning.  Company president Kevin Mattson recently published a YouTube video to announce that Bennett and Harriman are now part of the company. Mattson, business partners with Jim Clair and Severin Beliveau, was the Chief of Staff from 1996 to 1998 for the House Majority Leader of the Maine Legislature, Rep. Carol Kontos (D-Windham.) He realizes news of DCA’s launch may raise eyebrows in political circles, but said political roles and rivalries will be irrelevant in the daily operations of the company.

“None of the political dynamics matter to us,” said Mattson. “DCA is a large holding company, requiring prudent governance of strategic assets. When Severin, Jim and I brainstormed about recruiting extremely sophisticated business talent, Rick and Phil came to mind immediately. Both men are real leaders in Maine, very interested in economic development, and they are perfectly suited to help grow this company. We’re very pleased they agreed to join our team.”

Dirigo Capital Advisors (DCA) is a company with expertise in financial modeling, investor recruitment, large project planning, regulatory compliance, construction supervision and property asset management. It currently controls more than $200 million in commercial real estate in Maine, including large, iconic properties like the Central Maine Commerce Center in Augusta, Saco Island, MaineGeneral Health’s former Seton Unit in Waterville, 415 Congress Street in Portland, and MaineGeneral Health’s hospital campus in Augusta’s East Chestnut Street neighborhood, which is currently being redeveloped.

Rick Bennett

Rick Bennett

Bennett is the current chairman of the Maine Republican Party, a former Republican state senator, and is currently vice chairman of GMI Ratings, a company that maintains broad coverage of the environmental, social, governance (ESG) and accounting-related risks affecting the performance of public companies. When he served in the Maine Senate, he served as its president under a unique power sharing agreement.

Severin Beliveau

Severin Beliveau

Beliveau is a founding partner in Preti Flaherty, one of Maine’s most well-known law firms. He is a former state senator and state representative, and former chairman of the Maine Democratic Party.

Phil Harriman

Phil Harriman

Harriman is a co-founder of Lebel & Harriman, LLP, which has worked with businesses throughout New England for over 35 years in business succession planning, incentive compensation and estate planning. He is a former Republican state senator. He is also a well-known political commentator for WCSH-TV, WLBZ-TV, 560 WGAN News Radio, and a political columnist for the Bangor Daily News.

Jim Clair

Jim Clair

Clair spent more than 17 years on the non-partisan staff of the Maine Legislature, including stints as the Director of the Office of Fiscal and Program Review, then as Executive Director of the Legislative Council.He presently heads up Goold Health Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Emdeon that provides pharmacy and related services mostly to State Medicaid Agencies.He also serves on a number of Maine boards and commissions, including: the Maine Consensus Economic Forecasting Commission, the Loring Development Authority and the Maine Health and Higher Educational Facilities Authority.

Kevin Mattson

Kevin Mattson

Mattson is the president of Dirigo Capital Advisors, and was the founder of Harper’s Development, which later became Mattson Development. He was appointed to the Maine Uniform Building Code Task Force by Governor Angus King, and appointed to the Finance Authority of Maine by Governor John Baldacci.

Lengthier biographies of all DCA principals and officers are available at THIS LINK

Project web sites, Dirigo Capital Advisors

For more information about Dirigo Capital Advisors, visit www.DirigoCapitalAdvisors.com.

SOCIAL CHANNELS

Lower energy costs position Kennebec Valley for growth

I expressed my opinion about natural gas recently ---- and it was very positive!

I expressed my opinion about natural gas recently ---- and it was very positive!

Recently I wrote a Letter To The Editor, which was published in the Kennebec Journal. As one of the largest commercial property owners in the Augusta area, I wanted to explain that, in my opinion, the recent decision by the Augusta City Council to choose Summit Natural Gas was a pretty significant economic development decision to which all Augusta residents should close pay attention. My reasoning for writing the letter was simple. Cheaper energy costs greatly enhance the economic prospects for the Kennebec Valley.

I'll give you a concrete example. I recently signed a deal with Summit, to have all DCA properties in the area use natural gas. Now, without question, our projects offer the most affordable commercial space in the area --- by far. That's because our energy costs will be much lower. As DCA continues to build out the Central Maine Commerce Center, and as we begin the redevelopment of the old MaineGeneral building on East Chestnut Street, I can offer large tenants who need lots of space very, VERY attractive terms. My competitors simply can't match the price per foot I can offer on redeveloped, Class A space.

This never would have happened had we stayed hooked on oil, and my competitors will probably catch on some day. So a word to the wise --- I urge all residents and my fellow business owners to look into making the switch to natural gas. It pays. And that's good for the Kennebec Valley.

 

Did Ben Franklin really say this about Biddeford-Saco?

Economic development doesn't happen if you sit on your hands and wait for it to happen. Kevin Mattson talks about what's happening in Biddeford-Saco.

Economic development doesn't happen if you sit on your hands and wait for it to happen. Kevin Mattson talks about what's happening in Biddeford-Saco.

We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

OK....that's a stretch, but it applies! As a real estate development company that concentrates on complex projects in Maine’s downtown districts, we’ve taken particular note of a unifying role that the Biddeford-Saco Chamber of Commerce and Industry is taking in that southern coastal area of Maine. It’s very refreshing. DCA president Kevin Mattson comments in this video.

For instance, the Chamber is a full participant and cheerleader for a fresh branding campaign (new article out today) in which both cities are involved. A recent newsletter from the organization champions a working breakfast that is taking place on April 30th, entitled, “Working Together to create One Dynamic Community.” The breakfast will concentrate on joint economic initiatives and planning for a vibrant economic rebound.

In ancient times, many Maine towns and cities, especially those separated by major rivers, were skilled at limiting their economic potential by inventing and fertilizing needless rivalries, feuds and grudges. They were far more interested in keeping score that they were in keeping up. In the Information Age, that mindset is particularly counter-productive. Notice that the Chamber plays a unifying role even in its corporate identity (see logo, below.) Dirigo Capital Advisors endorses that type of positive thinking 100%, and we hope all communities in Maine adopt this approach. It’s how all of us will succeed, and make things better in Maine.

The Biddeford-Saco Chamber is an activist chamber. That's extremely important if the two communities want to see robust economic development.

The Biddeford-Saco Chamber is an activist chamber. That's extremely important if the two communities want to see robust economic development.

Downtown revitalization is no mirage in Maine

Revitalization is coming to Maine's downtowns faster and more vigorously than ever before.

Revitalization is coming to Maine's downtowns faster and more vigorously than ever before.

It was only yesterday that we posted about the “Red-hot Maine real estate trend." Today comes a story in the Bangor Daily News that the Maine Legislature is taking notice. Mike Hurley, city councilor, Belfast, Maine:

“One of the great standards of success we have is that young people are coming back to Belfast. They’re coming back — or they’re not leaving. And the downtown is now full.”

Read the full story here.

Red-hot Maine real estate trend

It was only the other day that I produced a blog post entitled "What's up with Maine's downtowns." This morning the Portland Press Herald published a lengthy article explaining how towns and cities all across Maine are trying to draw young people to city and town centers. Key paragraph:

"From Fort Kent to Wells, town officials and planning groups are attempting to reinvigorate, preserve, and in some cases create downtown centers like the one Eastman describes. After 60 years of witnessing the spread of ubiquitous large-lot home developments, commercial strips and stores flanked by acres of parking lots, and the traffic-choked byways that connect them, towns are now looking inward for ways to distinguish their identities."

Read the full story here.

What’s up with Maine’s downtowns?

Kevin Mattson, president of Dirigo Capital Advisors, discusses what's driving people back to Maine's downtown districts.

Kevin Mattson, president of Dirigo Capital Advisors, discusses what's driving people back to Maine's downtown districts.

All across Maine, downtown districts are making a comeback. Renewed energy and vitality are everywhere to be found, and not just in isolated pockets here and there. Several towns and cities have already won “Main Street, USA” designations, and several more are pursuing.

Is this a totally random and coincidental phenomenon? Nope. There are very tangible reasons for this, and here Kevin Mattson discusses what's driving the trend.

Profiled in Maine’s best-known magazine

Severin M. Beliveau, a key resource at Dirigo Capital Advisors. Photographed by Benjamin Magro, published at DownEast.com.

Severin M. Beliveau, a key resource at Dirigo Capital Advisors. Photographed by Benjamin Magro, published at DownEast.com.

Severin M. Beliveau is a key resource upon whom we rely here at Dirigo Capital Advisors. Recently DownEast Magazine published a lengthy profile of Severin. Former Maine attorney general James E. Tierney was quoted as saying, “Maine is a much better place because of Severin’s work.”

 “If he were just a lobbyist, he wouldn’t be as good as he is,” according to Christian Potholm, a professor at Bowdoing College. “He’s a good fundraiser and he has no permanent adversaries. He is loyal to his friends and he is loyal to his principles. Severin plays the game with joy and zest. He is not an ideologue and he doesn’t sulk when he loses. He just loves the game. He loves the action.”

CLICK HERE to read the full article at DownEast.com.

DCA project urges close scrutiny of TIF documents

Our decision to release a video about a proposed TIF district in Augusta, Maine generated a lot of YouTube traffic, and a story in the Kennebec Journal.

Our decision to release a video about a proposed TIF district in Augusta, Maine generated a lot of YouTube traffic, and a story in the Kennebec Journal.

(Augusta, Maine) Augusta East Redevelopment Corporation, LLC has published a video urging residents of Augusta to study all documents pertaining to the proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district that would make it possible to redevelop the MaineGeneral Health properties in downtown Augusta.

The video is available online, and a recent newspaper story in the Kennebec Journal about the video is also available online.

The developer said he posted the video online because TIFs are “complicated instruments,” and residents are unlikely to understand what a TIF is all about if they only read about the proposal in a newspaper story. He invited residents to watch his video, but to also do their own online research or visit Augusta City Hall for more information.

“I’m only one source of information, but I do want Augusta residents to have the ability to hear directly from me, in detail and in context,” said Kevin Mattson, chief executive officer of Dirigo Capital Advisors. “It’s a lengthy video, but I think it complements the information that has been published so far in the Kennebec Journal.”

Augusta East Redevelopment Corporation, LLC is a subsidiary of Dirigo Capital Advisors, Mattson’s commercial real estate development company.

Mattson’s video is more than ten minutes long, and is a wide ranging discussion about the proposed TIF and a variety of related issues, including the built-in “restraints” that are written into TIF documents. He said he doesn’t take criticism of the proposed TIF district personally, “but I do take it personally that people get the information that they need to make a good decision as to whether or not the deal makes sense for their town.”

He said that as redevelopment of the sprawling complex continues, details will be posted at the development’s web site, www.AugustaEast.com, and on associated social media sites.

Augusta East is a DCA project. Dirigo Capital Advisors (www.DirigoCapitalAdvisors.com) is one of Maine’s leading real estate development firms. It controls or manages more than $200 million in commercial properties. The company’s mission is to bring exceptional professional service to imaginative and historically significant projects.
 
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