Fire-damaged Portland market expected to reopen under new owner
PORTLAND — Colucci's Hilltop Market, a family-run fixture on Munjoy Hill for decades, may soon have a new owner and could reopen this fall.
The neighborhood grocery store at 135 Congress St. has been closed since it was severely damaged in a March 9 fire. The blaze also destroyed much of the three-story building that houses the store.
No one was injured in the fire, but nine people were displaced, including store co-owner Dickie Colucci. A Morning Street man was arrested and charged with arson in connection with the incident.
On Monday afternoon, real estate manager and St. Lawrence Street resident Bill Simpson said he has agreed to purchase the building for an undisclosed amount, but that the deal is still pending. He said he expects the sale to be completed by the end of the month.
Attempts to reach Colucci were not successful.
In March, he said he hoped to repair damage to the store and reopen in "a couple months." But after little apparent renovation, rumors began to spread that the building was up for sale.
Simpson said that if his purchase is successful, "it would be my plan to continue (Colucci's) as a store."
In a display of optimisim, a window sign on the building that had simply read "closed" has now been replaced with one that says "opening this fall."
Simpson's real estate company, A Class Act, manages 200 apartments, but has never owned or managed a retail property, he said. The Colucci's building includes three apartments on the second and third floors.
The building was constructed in 1910, and has an assessed value of $463,500, according to city records.