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Contact: Kate Carlisle, 207-859-4369
Paul Ureneck, a longtime project manager and developer known for his community-building and place-making achievements, will become Colby College’s first director of commercial real estate, as it partners with Waterville to revitalize Main Street.
Ureneck most recently served as partner and senior vice president at CBRE/Boulos Asset Management and has more than 30 years of experience working in Maine on projects ranging from downtown Portland’s redevelopment and the expansion of Allagash Brewery to Pineland Farms in New Gloucester and the restoration of the Winslow Homer Studio in Cape Elizabeth. He is a proven expert in collaborative problem solving and consensus building, and is credited with transforming Portland’s Congress Street over the last decade.
“Upon meeting Paul I was immediately drawn to his ability to engage a diverse set of partners to create vibrant places,” said Brian Clark, assistant to the president and director of planning. “He will be a terrific partner with the Waterville community as we work together to reinvigorate Main Street and, ultimately, create an ecosystem for sustained economic growth.”
In addition to leading the development of Colby’s properties, Ureneck will work closely with the city, the business community, arts and cultural organizations, community groups, and others to ensure broad participation in the downtown revitalization. A series of meet-and-greets with Ureneck are being scheduled downtown over the coming weeks.
“I’m very excited to be a participant in the revival of downtown Waterville,” Ureneck said. “Waterville and Colby have a great shared history and it is quite exciting to see Colby restore its roots downtown prior to its move to Mayflower Hill. To be able to work collaboratively with the city on this venture is an honor.“
Momentum downtown has been building rapidly. Beginning with the acquisition of five properties, Colby is now in the planning stages for a boutique hotel and a residential project for about 150 students committed to civic engagement. Significant private investment has also occurred, including the restoration of two buildings by a Colby alumnus, the purchase of two buildings by a local businessman, and the opening of exciting new shops.
Last year, Collaborative Consulting, an innovative IT solutions firm, announced it would open a delivery center in downtown Waterville that will create 200 jobs over the next 4-5 years. The first 20 Collaborative workers have already been hired. Meanwhile, a comprehensive transportation study jointly funded by the city, the State of Maine, and Colby is underway to ensure determine opportunities for better vehicle and pedestrian access.
“Not too many years ago people said Congress Street in Portland was dead and the futures of retail and other business-related growth were the suburban areas around the Maine Mall,” said Ureneck. “That proved to be a false prediction. Similar to what is now planned for downtown Waterville, initial investments in Congress Street properties spurred other investment and now, just a few years later, Congress Street is flourishing with restaurant, business, arts, and entertainment ventures. It is where people want to be.”