Portland Bayside

Max

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A few slightly updated renderings of 58 Boyd Street from their latest Planning Board documents:





 

Cosakita18

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A few slightly updated renderings of 58 Boyd Street from their latest Planning Board documents:

I really like the change of color palate. This will be a great addition to an otherwise ugly area. Personally I think the recently completed Bayside Anchor looks kind of garish.

Heard from a friend who works at with CRBE that Midtown is essentially doomed, and that Federated is looking at selling the land, which would include all of their financial obligations to the city.
 
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cneal

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^ I believe the Midtown project's planning board approvals will expire in March after 3 years of inactivity. You used to be able to find commercial real estate listings for the retail spaces, but those haven't been up in years.

At this point, the land is probably more valuable to some other developer, who wouldn't be subject to the court settlement that Federated made with Peter Monro, and would therefore be free and clear to build the 165' buildings that the new zoning laws allow there (IIRC, there's also a 3-year statute of limitations for challenges to new zoning, which passed in April 2013, so it's going to be even harder for Monro & his cronies to challenge a tall project on the site at this point). As narcissistic as he is, it seems like Peter Monro might be aware of all this, which could be why he'd been so eager to see the bland 6-story version of the project built.

Unfortunately, since Federated first pitched this project to address the city's housing shortage, about 1,000 other apartments have already gone under construction, and a few hundred more are in the pipeline in much more attractive locations than this one. It looked like a smart project back in 2013 when other developers and their banks were still sitting on their hands, but now, with so many other projects competing for tenants, I'm skeptical about whether anyone's going to take the risk on building hundreds of new apartments in a flood-prone area of Bayside. From where I sit, the most likely outcome is that the lots will be land-banked and remain empty for several more years at least – probably through the next recession, whenever that is, and the recovery.

In the meantime, the trash-strewn empty lots in Bayside will be the most tangible legacy of Peter Monro's pointless career in architecture.
 

Dr. StrangeHat

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I really like the change of color palate. This will be a great addition to an otherwise ugly area. Personally I think the recently completed Bayside Anchor looks kind of garish.
Agreed on both accounts. The updated design is a little more appealing than the original and light years better than Bayside Anchor.

In the meantime, the trash-strewn empty lots in Bayside will be the most tangible legacy of Peter Monro's pointless career in architecture.
AMEN!
 

Cosakita18

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Unfortunately, since Federated first pitched this project to address the city's housing shortage, about 1,000 other apartments have already gone under construction, and a few hundred more are in the pipeline in much more attractive locations than this one. It looked like a smart project back in 2013 when other developers and their banks were still sitting on their hands, but now, with so many other projects competing for tenants, I'm skeptical about whether anyone's going to take the risk on building hundreds of new apartments in a flood-prone area of Bayside.
Federated isn't in a great position with the land, because it isn't in a good location to be anything other than market rate or efficiency apartment units. I can't imagine it being easy to market that location as Condo's or Class A office space. Even for retail, the location along a side street is less than ideal.

I remember some chatter this time last year about possible changes to the site including an event center, hotel, and office space, among other things. But the question is: Would Federated want to go through the hassle of the planning process again? I doubt that. Maybe Federated will sit on the land for a few years and see what happens with the market. Heck, they got construction permits for the garage back in July, which might show some kind of long term commitment to Bayside if they ever break ground on it.
 
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cneal

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I'm not sure they actually did pull any permits for the garage –IIRC, they *said* they were going to, but it looks like that never actually happened:

http://www.portlandmaine.gov/1786/Check-your-Permit-Status

I actually think it could be a good spot for offices, in addition to residential. Recall that one of the very first proposals for the land was an 8-story office building for MaineHealth, way back in 2008. The site's got better access to I-295 and bus lines than the Old Port, and investment in commerical buildings may be more financially feasible if interest rates keep rising.
 

Cosakita18

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I'm not sure they actually did pull any permits for the garage –IIRC, they *said* they were going to, but it looks like that never actually happened:

http://www.portlandmaine.gov/1786/Check-your-Permit-Status
That explains why they never broke ground in October as initially promised. Guess I was wasting my time keeping an eye on the site whenever I stopped by Planet Fitness :lol:

I was under the assumption that Federated was obligated to build the garage and at least 180 units of housing under their agreement with the city, so I don't know how that would factor in to any land sale.
 

TC_zoid

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Sorely needed, more Avesta housing. Was at the new 4 story Passive House unveiling across the street from the project proposal and the housing authority rep lamented the fact they should be building more units. He said they have over 7,000 people on the waiting list! What is the BFD about building something taller? In 1960's PHA built 16 story Franklin "Towers." Why not double this 6 story height to 12 or 14 stories? So many more people could get an affordable apt. It's the Maine way, that's why, and that way is to do things half-ass, half way. Hate that mindset. It's weak, lame, looser. Like the new civic center. They can't have some shows because ceiling too low and capacity too small. Come on, will somebody grow some b-a-l-l-s here. The city is growing, not shrinking.
 

Cosakita18

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Sorely needed, more Avesta housing. Was at the new 4 story Passive House unveiling across the street from the project proposal and the housing authority rep lamented the fact they should be building more units. He said they have over 7,000 people on the waiting list! What is the BFD about building something taller? In 1960's PHA built 16 story Franklin "Towers." Why not double this 6 story height to 12 or 14 stories? So many more people could get an affordable apt. It's the Maine way, that's why, and that way is to do things half-ass, half way. Hate that mindset. It's weak, lame, looser. Like the new civic center. They can't have some shows because ceiling too low and capacity too small. Come on, will somebody grow some b-a-l-l-s here. The city is growing, not shrinking.
I don't think I could ever see Avesta or Portland Housing Authority building taller than 6-8 stories. In the past 20 years most low income housing developers have moved away from highrise "projects" style housing for a number of reasons. The future of affordable housing is something similar to PHA's redevelopment plan for Front Street. Smaller townhouse style buildings that are safer, easier to manage, and better for the residents, who often rely on neighbors and community services.


That being said, the Midtown site is probably one of the best sites in the city for 10-15 story buildings, but the question is whether there is a market to justify that kind of investment. Midtown is dead because 440 new Market Rate apartments would be risky in Portland right now. 150-200? Sure. but definitely not 400 plus...at least not right now.

That site would be best used now as a mixed-use development, which Federated hinted at over a year ago, but we haven't heard a single peep from the developer since October 2016, so its safe to assume that Federated is cutting their losses and moving on. There's still plenty of demand for housing, office space (particularly medical office space) and event space, but Federated is just the wrong developer for Portland's new market.
 
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cneal

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^ A six-story building is the tallest you can build while still using wood-frame construction (for now, anyhow), which is far cheaper per square foot than steel-framed construction. In Bayside, there are also lousy soils that require expensive pile-driving for anything taller than ~4 stories, in most cases, so that's an additional factor. Steel-framed Franklin Towers went up when federal subsidies were still generous.

For now, it's still easier to find empty lots than it is to finance a steel-framed building, so affordable housing developers (and most market-rate builders, too) are generally building in the 4-6 story range.
 

TC_zoid

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^ A six-story building is the tallest you can build while still using wood-frame construction (for now, anyhow), which is far cheaper per square foot than steel-framed construction. In Bayside, there are also lousy soils that require expensive pile-driving for anything taller than ~4 stories, in most cases, so that's an additional factor. Steel-framed Franklin Towers went up when federal subsidies were still generous.

For now, it's still easier to find empty lots than it is to finance a steel-framed building, so affordable housing developers (and most market-rate builders, too) are generally building in the 4-6 story range.
Know all about it. I'm a partner in a high tech 5 story planned to go up soon. Yes, generally speaking, 6 story the cap on wood (though Scandinavians have a fix for that) but higher offsets the steel costs with more units, so more profit on the project. It's a bigger outlay, but very doable if you put in the effort. And for soil, no problem building the 10 story Intermed bldg. or planning the four 15 story "towers" on the Federated project. The real reason is Avesta doesn't want the hassle of the neighborhood opposition, because for some reason Mainers think that anything tall means they will then multiply like rabbits, which is a dumb mindset to have (therefore, becoming like Boston). The end result of this wimping out is still a lot more people without housing, and many Portlanders with property don't seem to mind because their property values will remain higher, rather than go down with increased competition. Every city in the world builds higher to fix this problem, except Portland, Maine.
 
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SHAZBAT73

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Sorely needed, more Avesta housing. Was at the new 4 story Passive House unveiling across the street from the project proposal and the housing authority rep lamented the fact they should be building more units. He said they have over 7,000 people on the waiting list! What is the BFD about building something taller? In 1960's PHA built 16 story Franklin "Towers." Why not double this 6 story height to 12 or 14 stories? So many more people could get an affordable apt. It's the Maine way, that's why, and that way is to do things half-ass, half way. Hate that mindset. It's weak, lame, looser. Like the new civic center. They can't have some shows because ceiling too low and capacity too small. Come on, will somebody grow some b-a-l-l-s here. The city is growing, not shrinking.
Speaking of the Maine or planning/historical board way, I did some research on the proposed housing project at 61 Deering street, and noticed a drop in one floor to three:

Historic Preservation Board, November 1, 2017, page 20:
http://portlandmaine.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/5536?fileID=27754

To this - Planning Board, December 13, 2017, page 27:
http://portlandmaine.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/5693?fileID=29177
 

Cosakita18

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Munjoy Hill News is reporting that Shinberg Consulting has filed a site plan application for a 23 unit condominium development at 60 Parris St. Looks like the first of the former public works redevelopment.

 
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Dr. StrangeHat

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Browsing around online today, I noticed that Midtown properties are listed on Apartments.com. Not a lot of info, but it's a new listing.

no new renderings (in fact they're using very old renderings) but this stuck out to me

reasons for optimism, perhaps??

https://www.apartments.com/midtown-portland-me/l970cbf/
My guess is that it is probably nothing. This is a blurb from apartments.com's About Us page:

"Apartments.com is supported by the industry’s largest professional research team, which has visited and photographed over 400,000 properties nationwide. The team makes over one million calls each month to apartment owners and property managers, collecting and verifying current availabilities, rental rates, pet policies, fees, leasing incentives, concessions, and more. "

https://www.apartments.com/advertise/about/company

I'm thinking that a sales person from apartments.com added it in the hopes of landing Midtown as a client, totally unaware that the whole thing is in limbo and probably won't happen.
 

Cosakita18

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https://www.pressherald.com/2018/02/07/midtown-project-progresses-as-developer-files-permit/


Looks like Federated has AGAIN filed for a permit to build the parking garage on Somerset St.

The developer of a long-delayed apartment complex has asked the city for a permit to build an eight story parking garage in Portland’s West Bayside.

It’s the first formal step by the Florida-based Federated Cos. toward actual construction of the so-called Midtown project, an estimated $85 million housing and retail development on Somerset Street that was approved three years ago. But the project’s fate is still not clear, in part because the city’s site plan approvals are set to expire next month if the project is not underway by then

....

Venne said in an email to city planners that Federated Cos. had previously submitted the application last year, but did not move forward. No reasons were given and Venne declined to be interviewed when reached by phone, saying, “We’re not discussing the project.”
The saga continues...
 
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Cosakita18

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you beat me by a minute :p

t is a single-phase approval, but we will be sequencing the construction (in a continuous build out) beginning with the parking facility presently being applied for,” Patrick Venne wrote in the email.
It sounds like they're trying to get some kind of expedited permit review so that they can break ground before their planning approval expires.

Doesn't seem like they're going after any major changes in the plan, so we might be stuck with those lumpy 6 story buildings, but at this point... that's better than a trash-strewn empty lot.
 

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