Seventeen months after completing the purchase, a New York-based real estate group led by developer Dash Davidson has completed nearly all of the renovation work on the historic building at 2 Hammond Street in downtown Bangor, built in 1911.
But even before the new owners are nearing completion of the process of converting the two upper floors of the building into condominiums, nearly all the apartments have been rented, and the first tenants will start moving in next week — just before the paint has dried.
“The market is really strong right now, and we were lucky enough to get a lot of interest early on,” Davidson said on Monday. “There is still a huge demand for high-end apartments in Bangor.”
Davidson and his partners at High Tide Capital also purchased the building above the street at 33 State St. In April 2021, a few months after the purchase of 2 Hammond St. Hydro Electric Company and the building that houses retailer City Drawers. Renovation work on this property is in full swing, although the project will not be completed until the end of this year. When completed, they will add 15 more apartments to their downtown housing stock, for a total of 23 units including 2 Hammonds.
The process of bringing these ancient buildings back to life was rewarding and fun, Davidson said, as his team discovered unique design elements and helped realize the buildings’ potential.
“It was wonderful to see all of this come together, breathe life into these buildings that have been dormant for so long,” he said. “Some of the views from some of these windows no one’s really seen in years.”
Clockwise from left: The bathroom in one of the apartments in the completely renovated historic building at 2 Hammond St. In downtown Bangor. Living room area View from the living room area. Credit: Linda Kwan Okricic/BDN
2 Hammond Street was the last major building built in downtown Bangor before the Great Fire of 1911, and it miraculously survived the fire despite being right in its path. Over the years, it has housed many businesses and institutions, including Merrill Merchants Bank, Hammond Street Senior Center and, most recently, the Bangor District Chamber of Commerce, which still occupies the first floor.
Contractors destroyed the place, but saved a number of historic touches, such as the original windows, and the concrete and steel core of the building, which had a vault on the bank. Apartments start at $1,900 per month for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,200 for a two-bedroom apartment. Two of the apartments have rooftop access, all with a lift and on-site parking.
An old cellar door left from the historic building at 2 Hammond St. In its place is in front of the apartment door of the completely renovated building, which now offers eight high-end apartments in downtown Bangor. Credit: Linda Kwan Okricic/BDN
The only space still to be repaired is the basement, which Davidson hopes to turn into a modern-style cocktail bar, with an entrance located in the basement of the building where Merrill Merchants once had a cashier’s window. Near Charlie Howard Memorial Park. He is looking for potential operators for such work, although the space will not be ready until summer.
“The city was incredibly convenient and helpful in getting a permit for that space, because it’s in the stream floodplains,” Davidson said. “We hope this helps connect the space between West Market Square, Exchange and State, and expand the footprint of downtown nightlife.”
33 State St. is a more extensive renovation job, given the building’s Warren-like network of interconnecting hallways and staircases, and the fact that it has been mostly empty for nearly 20 years.
The big challenge will be figuring out what to do with the main floor of the building, which housed the First National Bank between 1911 and the early 1930s, and the Bangor Hydro Electric Company until 2004. The space, with its soaring ceiling, and accents of granite, could accommodate the original tiled floor and intricate design. Art Deco has a lot of different businesses, although Davidson thinks of a market-style restaurant or food court.
Clockwise from left: Old signs will be left in place on the basement door of the building at 33 State Street, which is being completely renovated to accommodate 15 apartments; A bag of old checks and papers from the 1920s and 1930s, including this one, was found in a ceiling. Renovations are underway at 33 State St. Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik / BDN
Davidson and his father, a former Obama administration official, Peter Davidson, fell in love with Bangor in 2020, after their mother suffered a serious medical emergency at their summer home in Vinalhaven, and spent a month in the intensive care unit at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. Dash Davidson told the Bangor Daily News in November 2020 that the care and support they received from the downtown community while his mother was in hospital made him want to invest in Bangor.
The Davidson family has now purchased over $1.5 million worth of real estate in Bangor, and they have their eyes on the purchase and renovation of a third building downtown, too.
For information on the availability of apartments for rent in the future, visit the websites of The Hammond and 33 State.