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Reviving the Marble Block


Engine is currently in the pre-construction phase of the Marble Block. We’ve started a Marble Block website dedicated to updates for this project of Engine’s.

Rooftop concept rendering: Courtesy of Richardson & Associates, a concept for a 3-season urban farm/garden, rainwater harvesting, gathering space, chicken run, hops bines, solar panels, and sculpture garden.

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.

What will the Marble Block be to you?

Engine is dedicated to making the Marble Block a hub of creativity for the community.

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.


The Marble Block Revival from Engine on Vimeo.

In December 2011, the R.H. Reny company—owners of the Renys department stores located throughout Maine—generously donated the Marble Block to Engine. The founder of Renys, Robert H. Reny, was born and raised in Biddeford.


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


  • An architectural attraction
  • Exhibition areas
  • S.T.E.A.M. education center
  • Urban rooftop farm and gathering space
  • Community cafe
  • Performance and event space
  • Artist studios, residencies, live/work housing
  • Retail shop


  • Green and vegetative roof
  • Rooftop garden plots and chicken coop
  • Rainwater-catch systems
  • Solar energy
  • Alternative/shared transportation


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


  • Educational opportunities for all ages
  • Attraction for arts and cultural tourism
  • Incubator for creative entrepreneurialism