Third floor former hall turned Vaudville space turned boxing ring.

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 on Biddeford’s Main Street. The Marble Block was owned by the nonprofit Marble Block Redevelopment Corp. which has the charitable mission to redevelop this property for Engine. In 2021, the property was sold to support Engine’s mission. You can learn more about Engine’s efforts to revitalize the building on Vimeo.

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.


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


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


  • 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


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

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