WATERVILLE — Downtown revitalization efforts continue to attract investors, with the latest being a brother and a sister who are Waterville natives, Colby College graduates and partners in a local law firm.

Tom Nale Jr. and his sister, Tracy, owners of Nale & Nale Law Offices, on Monday bought the downtown Arnold Block, which includes 103-109 Main St. and 34 Temple St., the site of the Lebanese Bakery.

They purchased the block from the Arnold family estate, which many years ago owned and operated the W.B. Arnold Co.’s hardware store, which was in the space that now is Jorgensen’s Cafe. The Nale purchase includes 39 parking spaces behind the Arnold Block that are accessible from Temple Street. The Loyal Biscuit Co.; Modern Underground, a furnishings and home goods store; and the Escape Room, a game business, are included in the block.

The Nale siblings say they are excited about downtown revitalization efforts that include a $25 million residential complex under construction at 150 Main St. downtown that will house 200 Colby students and staff and faculty members come August. Colby also plans to build a boutique hotel on the south end of Main Street and is raising money to transform The Center into a destination for art and film.

The college renovated the former Waterville Savings Bank at 173 Main St., which now houses CGI Group and some Colby offices. Portland Pie Co. is renovating a space on the first floor with plans to open soon.

Tom and Tracy Nale, who are 35 and 32, respectively, say they are thrilled to be part of downtown’s renaissance and will renovate the Arnold Block according to demand. Uses could include residential and office space, they said.


“I think what we want to do is take our time and make a decision so when we do something, it’s a comprehensive plan instead of attacking it piecemeal,” Tracy Nale said. “We want to have a comprehensive plan for the building.”

Leading a tour Monday afternoon of the 22,000-square-foot space, Tom Nale said they bought the block after their father, Tom Nale Sr., found it online and pointed it out to him and his sister.

Tom Nale Sr., a District Court judge, also is a former Waterville attorney and mayor of the city.

“Tracy saw it and she had kind of an unwavering confidence in its being a good project for us,” Tom Nale Jr. said of the Arnold Block.

Tracy Nale said she saw a lot of potential in the buildings, whose upper story windows overlook the Colby dormitory. Their sister Jennifer, 25, a 2014 Colby graduate who works for Porta & Co., a commercial real estate firm from Portland, was the broker for the sale.

The Nales are graduates of Waterville Senior High School. Tom Nale Jr. graduated from Colby in 2005; Tracy graduated in 2007. He is a 2008 graduate of the University of Maine School of Law; she graduated in 2010.


The siblings, who also manage 10 properties, say they work well together and have similar views about how things should be done and managed.

“We always see eye-to-eye with those types of things,” Tom Nale Jr. said.

They also don’t hesitate to call on their father, who grew up in Waterville and has lived here many years, for advice.

“Tracy and I work very closely together every day, but not too many days go by that we don’t reach out to Dad,” Tom Nale Jr. said. “I think it’s important to note that he’s someone whose judgment and advice we put a great deal of stock in. His being there for us gives us confidence.”


The Arnold Block includes two buildings. According to a framed notice on the outside of the building, it is an “unusual and rare example of Queen Anne style commercial architecture characterized by the design of the distinctive second and third floor brick work with its arched and triangular roof pediments.”


Dunn Elden & Co. had a hardware store at 109 Main St. in the 1800s. In 1852, Willard B. Arnold went to work as a clerk at the store, according to the notice. He became a partner in the business in 1864, and the name was changed to Arnold & Meader. In 1876, the business became W.B. Arnold Co.

The business 10 years later acquired the connecting building at 107 Main St. Fred J. Arnold and his son, Willard B. Arnold II, joined the business in 1888 and 1921, respectively.

The business bought the connecting building at 103 Main St. in 1946 and Willard B. Arnold III joined the business in 1954 as the fourth generation of the family to do so. The store closed in 1962 and the Arnold family has leased the property to various businesses since then.

Willard B. Arnold III died in 2017 at 89. He was president of the Waterville Historical Society from 1988 to 2004 and was a treasure trove of information about Waterville history, often being able to cite events and dates off the top of his head. He knew people and places in Waterville’s past and was a go-to person for any inquiries involving the city’s history. He also indexed Morning Sentinel stories going back many years, making it easier for researchers to find stories on microfiche at Colby.

During the tour Monday of the Arnold block’s upper floors — each building has three floors — the Nales pointed to the exposed brick walls above the former hardware store space and shelves used for storing hardware items. A room on the third floor features old wallpaper, suspended lights and crown molding.

“It’s a really cool space,” Tom Nale Jr. said of the floor, whose large windows overlook the Jewel of India restaurant and, farther into The Concourse, the Goodwill store.


“This is clearly a finished space at this point, and it’s very interesting, and I don’t think people know what’s up here,” he said. “The view is really, really great. I love the natural light that comes in.”

The businesses in the buildings will continue their leases under the Nales.

They said Willard B. Arnold III’s daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, gave them three historical photos of the Arnold Block on Monday at the closing.

“It’s just wonderful to see how it has evolved, but in many ways, how the structure has remained,” Tracy Nale said. “It was really thoughtful of them to have given them to us.”

Her brother said he is optimistic about their newest venture, particularly as Colby ramps up construction downtown and so much activity is occurring.

“I think it’s going to be something to see,” he said. “The dorm — not only is it going to be a beautiful building, but having 200 people living downtown, creating a demand for things not necessarily there — I just think that it’s central to what’s going on and what can be going on downtown. There’s a lot of reasons to be excited about it, and I know we’re not the only ones.”


Others who have joined downtown revitalization efforts include Bill Mitchell, owner of GHM Insurance Agency, who bought and renovated two historic buildings on Common Street; and Colby alumni Tom and Justin DePre and their father, Thomas DePre, who bought two buildings adjacent to 173 Main St.

Stavros Kosmidis recently renovated 145 Main St., across the street from the new Colby dorm, and moved his House of Pizza restaurant there. He formerly had rented space at 139 Main St. for the business.

Amy Calder — 861-9247


Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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