Nasons Corner, on outer Brighton Avenue in Portland, is not the most scenic intersection in town, but it does have a fair mix of amenities, including a few health clinics, a redemption center, and a humble little Subway. Breakwater School lends some institutional heft to the area, and La Familia, a family-owned Latin restaurant, adds a dash of international flavor.
One big thing Nasons Corner doesn’t have is a Rite Aid — only the abandoned shell of one.
Rite Aid spokesperson Ashley Flower said the store was closed in 2007 due to underperformance. That was the same year Rite Aid acquired the Brooks and Eckerd pharmacy chains, adding over 1,800 drugstores to its nationwide empire. The mergers didn’t go so well, massive losses ensued and the company’s stock tanked. Rite Aid shuttered hundreds of stores during this period.
This building has less of a history than most dumps profiled here. Records on file at City Hall include construction permits submitted in late 1998, including a permit to demolish two structures on the site. According to longtime resident Matt Leo, they were previously occupied by an H&R Block office and Full Belly Deli.
After six years of vacancy, the building looks like it could use some TLC, though not as much as one might expect. The old sign in the parking lot is rusty and empty; grass is slowly overtaking the pavement. The windows are blacked out and dusty. Paint is peeling off the ceiling above the entryway.
But a dump is a dump, and Leo, for one, is losing patience with this eyesore. Though someone took the time in the past to at least mow the lawn, he said that’s slacked off lately.
“The place is really looking bad again,” he said. “Graffiti vandals had sprayed the side facing Brighton last year, but it was cleaned up, and I have seen a couple of homeless people around the back of the building in the past.” Leo also reports that this dump is a popular spot for dumping garbage, including old furniture.
The property is owned by David Gendron, president of the Lewiston-based real estate and construction company Gendron & Gendron. Company property manager Todd Spencer said G&G isn’t in a position to do anything with the building because Rite Aid still holds the lease and there are five years left on its term.
“Our hands are tied,” Spencer said. “We’ve tried making deals with Rite Aid so we could do something else with the property.” No deal. Spencer said he doesn’t know why the corporation is holding on to the building, and spokesperson Flower shed no light, either.
Drugs, even the legal kind, can be a shady trade.
— Patrick Banks