WATERVILLE — For Tracy and Tom Nale Jr., loving Waterville is easy.

After all, it is the place where they were born, grew up, attended school, graduated from Colby College — and chose to stay rather than move away.

The siblings own a law firm here, Nale & Nale Law Offices, they manage many properties, and last year they bought the Arnold Block downtown which includes 103-109 Main St. and 34 Temple St.

Now, the duo have taken their investment in the city a step further: They recently purchased the former Al Corey music building at 99 Main St. from Two Cities LLC. The building is sandwiched between the Arnold Block and 93 Main St., which is slated to be transformed into the Paul J. Schupf Art Center, a destination for art and film.

The decision to purchase 99 Main came easily during a time when millions of dollars are being invested downtown as part of revitalization efforts by the city, Colby and others.

You might say the Nales could see the writing on the wall: Waterville is fast becoming a place where people want to live, work, shop, eat, recreate and patronize the arts.

“Tracy and I are very, very bullish about what this is going to do, not just for Main Street but for the whole community — the whole city,” Tom Nale Jr., 36, said Tuesday of revitalization efforts.

Tom Nale Jr. and sister Tracy Nale bought the Arnold Block property behind them on Main Street in Waterville on May 1, 2018. They have now added the property at 99 Main St. to their holdings. Morning Sentinel file photo

The 9,500-square foot building at 99 Main houses the Play Factory, an indoor playground for children, on the first floor, and a dance studio, Studio X, on the second floor. The third and fourth floors are unoccupied.

Tracy Nale, 34, said Tuesday that she and her brother were excited to buy the building.

“We were definitely motivated by all of the kind of confluence of wonderful things happening downtown,” she said, “and I think most notably what Colby is doing right now downtown.”

The Nales, who now have four storefronts on Main Street, said they like the building’s proximity, not only to the block next door that they purchased last year, but also to the future art and film center on the south side of their newest acquisition.

“We’re not planning on going in and changing the dynamic of where things are,” Tracy Nale said. “We like the current tenants in the building.”

The 26,000-square-foot Arnold Block, which includes 103-109 Main St. and 34 Temple St., houses Jorgensen’s Cafe and Loyal Biscuit on the ground floors off Main Street and the Modern Underground, a home goods business, which has an entrance on the back side of the block off Temple Street, where the Lebanese Bakery also is located.

The Nales are putting the finishing touches on renovations to the front part of the second floor of 103-109 Main, which is about 2,200 square feet, and then will renovate the back part of that floor, which is about 3,000 square feet, according to Tom Nale Jr.. The siblings also repaved and striped the 39-space parking lot behind the block.

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The second floor could be one or two offices and the space is suitable for a law firm, IT office or similar use.

“We’re looking for a good fit,” Tom Nale Jr. said.

The Nales are open-minded about prospective tenants for other spaces in the buildings and are anxious to see what the market will demand as downtown revitalization progresses. They have seen the ebbs and flows of the Waterville economy and with ongoing progress downtown, those needs will emerge.

“We’re so excited and optimistic and I think that that optimism has only grown over the last 18 months,” Nale Jr. said.

Jorgensen’s Cafe is part of the Arnold Block property on Main Street in Waterville that was purchased by Tom Nale Jr. and sister Tracy Nale on May 1, 2018. The siblings have added the parcel at 99 Main St. to their holdings. Morning Sentinel file photo

Garvan Donegan, director of planning and economic development for the Central Maine Growth Council, with whom the Nales have worked, said Tuesday that the downtown is growing its economy around new businesses, young talent, strong arts and culture, attractive architecture, historical events and burgeoning entrepreneurship.

“The investment and purchase of 99 Main St. via Tracy and Tom Nale reflects the continued upward economic trend of the downtown and presents future opportunities for businesses, residents and young innovators to locate in one of Maine’s hottest downtown markets,” Donegan said. “In addition, the purchase of 99 Main St. is particularly exciting because it not only continues the momentum of the revitalization, but also extends and connects the Arnold Block to the transformative $18 million Paul J. Schupf Art Center project. The impact of this core downtown section can’t be overstated.”

The Nales are the children of Thomas Nale Sr., a District Court judge, former Waterville attorney and mayor of the city.

Colby last year opened a $25.5 million mixed-use residential complex at 150 Main Street, the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, which houses some 200 students, staff and faculty, as well as Camden National Bank and community space on the ground floor. The college also renovated to the tune of $5 million 173 Main St., which houses Portland Pie Co. on the ground floor and Colby offices and the firm CGI Group on the upper floors; and now is building a $26 million, 53-room hotel and restaurant at the south end of Main Street downtown to be called The Lockwood Hotel.

Other investors followed Colby’s lead  in purchasing and renovating buildings downtown. They include Bill Mitchell, Matt Hancock and Tom and Justin DePre and their father, Thomas DePre.

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