265 Main Street | Caleb Johnson Studio | Portland, Maine

265 Main Street

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265 Main Street

Finding purpose again.  

The building at 265 Main St. had been vacant for decades before the owners had the vision to return the space to its original purpose—a mixed-use building with commercial retail space, artist studios and office spaces, and apartments. Historic tax credits, which fund renovations of underutilized buildings, helped enable the remodel when many lenders were skeptical that Biddeford could support the new development.

Back to business.

A local business owner had the vision to combine what was originally two separate storefronts, opening the space to function as a coffee shop, bar, and bookstore. A dividing wall was removed, steel beam support was added, and much of the historic fabric of the 19th century mixed use building was maintained. 

Generations juxtaposed. 

The project integrated the history of the original building with a fully modern renovation. Without faking an antique or vintage feel, contemporary additions were left to be contemporary while hints of the past revealed themselves in preserved details—Grateful Dead graffiti, a 19th-century door panel. Old brick was left exposed with generations of multi-colored paint, now juxtaposed against the clean white plaster. Original windows were kept, and old beams were milled and repurposed as custom cabinets in the apartments—a striking balance of past and present. 

 

A lasting legacy. 

In just two years, what was once a forgotten building became a vibrant, profitable location for the town, receiving statewide attention. 265 defied expectations and now houses businesses, artists, and high-end apartments. 

 

Design Team: Caleb Johnson, Catherine Sumislaski

General Contractor: Woodhull Construction

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