Third floor former hall turned Vaudville space turned boxing ring.
Massing diagram showing split storefront facing Main Street (orange & red), second floor IGNITE incubator (blue) and third floor event hall (brown) with interior courtyard (green) and new construction artist live/work housing (gray).

Across the centuries, the idea of “arts” and “community” have long been linked. In our travels through life, we seek out culturally stimulating destinations. But a culturally and economically vibrant community rarely, if ever, materializes by accident—it is the end-product of hard work, optimism, and the willingness to embrace the new.

The Marble Block is a historic 20,000 square foot building occupying an strategic site right on Biddeford’s Main Street. The Marble Block is owned by the nonprofit Marble Block Redevelopment Corp. which has the charitable mission to redevelop this property for Engine. The property is currently in the pre-construction phase and we are exploring various development models. Visit the Marble Block website for updates. Programming ideas include:

Engine is dedicated to making the Marble Block a hub of creativity for the community…the Marble Block Center for Art, Design, and Innovation.

You can visit and see exhibitions by community members or other Maine artists. You can take a class or attend a performance. You can buy locally made art and crafts. You can sample a simple dish from ingredients grown in our urban rooftop farm. You can glimpse into the world of artists and designers working in the building’s open studios. Students from our local university and public schools will collaborate with community members and businesses on design projects. Kids from the local community will have an opportunity to learn about art and design.

The Marble Block will foster the creative exchange of ideas between all members of our community.

WATCH THE 3-MINUTE VIDEO

The Marble Block Revival from Engine on Vimeo.

THE GIFT
In December 2011, the R.H. Reny company—owners of the Renys department stores located throughout Maine—generously sold the Marble Block to Engine for $1. The founder of Renys, Robert H. Reny, was born and raised in Biddeford, and the family has a strong interest in the success of downtowns and the arts.

THE BUILDING

  • 18,000 square-feet
  • Rare Italianate architecture circa 1880s
  • Prominent Main Street location

THE VISION

  • An architectural attraction
  • Exhibition areas
  • IGNITE Design Incubator
  • The Olympia movie theater
  • S.T.E.A.M. education center
  • Urban rooftop green space
  • Community cafe
  • Performance and event space
  • Artist studios, residencies, live/work housing
  • Retail shop

GREEN FEATURES

  • Green and vegetative roof
  • Rainwater-catch systems
  • Solar energy
  • Alternative/shared transportation

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Co-location for other cultural nonprofits
  • Revenue generating model of multiple income streams
  • Artist housing potential
  • Affordable housing potential
  • Studio space rentals
  • Education and/or specialized school model

BENEFITS TO THE COMMUNITY

  • Educational opportunities for all ages
  • Accessible community gathering space
  • Cultural tourism destination
  • Fostering entrepreneurialism

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