'Simple economics' forces Falmouth dry cleaner to find new space

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FALMOUTH — A well-known Route 1 business is moving, but not far.

Pratt Abbott Cleaners will be moving from 231 U.S. Route to 240 U.S. Route 1, the site of the former Portland Dry Cleaners. Becky Zolton, production manager of Pratt Abbott, said the Falmouth store has been at the corner of Route 1 and Depot Road for 25 years.

“We are tentatively trying to push for July 25” as the opening date of the new store, Zolton said last week. “We have just taken over the space and we’ve got to do some housekeeping.”

Pratt Abbott President David Machesney said the dry cleaning business is moving because the landlord, P&K Realty, wants to redevelop the property.

Rent had increased “out of our price range,” Machesney said. “It’s simple economics.”  

He said the Portland-based company has been looking for a new Falmouth location for about a year, and settled on the Shops at Falmouth Village in May or June.

“I think it will be a decent alternative for us,” he said.

Jeff Gove, who owns the Shops at Falmouth Village, said his previous tenant, Portland Dry Cleaners, moved out in June.

Pratt Abbott’s 231 U.S. Route 1 property has been listed for lease by CBRE/The Boulos Co. for approximately six months. He said the owners want to improve the property with new construction.

The move by Pratt Abbott creates another prominent vacancy on what is probably one of the busiest intersections in town. Across the street, a former Wendy’s restaurant has been vacant since it closed last winter. The property is listed for lease by Portland-based Compass Commercial Brokers.

Broker Kevin McQuinn on Monday said he doesn’t “anticipate a firm deal being signed in next two or three weeks” for the former restaurant. “It’s still just a work in progress.”

In early June, McQuinn said the space had attracted interest from Portland restaurants, as well as from national retailers and service companies, including a wireless service provider.

Boulos said he does not expect the property at 231 U.S. Route 1 to remain vacant for an extended period of time, although he said the landlords are willing to”wait for the right tenant and economic deal before committing to somebody.”

Boulos said he has already spoken to several local and national companies about the spot, which is zoned for retail and restaurant businesses. A drive-through cannot be built on the property, which has precluded some companies from coming in.

“It truly is the best commercial corner in Falmouth,” Boulos said.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Pratt Abbott Cleaners at 231 U.S. Route 1 in Falmouth is move north, to 240 Route 1.

Flagship Premium Cinemas opened next to Wal-Mart on July 13. The building had been vacant since Regal Cinemas left the plaza on U.S. Route 1 in 2012.

A marquee for Flagship Premium Cinemas that is being built across the street from a “for lease” sign outside Pratt Abbott Cleaners on U.S. Route 1 in Falmouth.

The brokers for 231 U.S. Route 1 said a new tenant has not been lined up yet, but are not worried about filling the spot.

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.