144 Fore Street | Portland

nomc

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https://www.mainebiz.biz/article/po...ng-group-acquires-eastern-waterfront-property

Seems like this is old news at this point, but MB just 'updated' it. Exploring their options - but SMRT is gone and VA is going. I walk by regularly and they've had a sign on the end facing the water advertising 'move in ready' space. LIHC posted the news article on their site on Dec 2, 2020, and the sign was definitely there after that - and might still be there. I can't imagine they have big plans for the building/lot if they are also trying to find lessees?
 

TC_zoid

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https://www.mainebiz.biz/article/po...ng-group-acquires-eastern-waterfront-property

Seems like this is old news at this point, but MB just 'updated' it. Exploring their options - but SMRT is gone and VA is going. I walk by regularly and they've had a sign on the end facing the water advertising 'move in ready' space. LIHC posted the news article on their site on Dec 2, 2020, and the sign was definitely there after that - and might still be there. I can't imagine they have big plans for the building/lot if they are also trying to find lessees?
How great would that be to demo this and build a 12-15 story apartment building with a combination of market rate and affordable housing. This is such a cool place to live, and the views from the upper floors would be epic. This area needs middle income residents or it will become like the Rowes Wharf area of Boston--only for the rich, and at 6pm, everyone leaves (the office workers). The city needs to start planning things better for optimizing lifestyles. I'm concerned that too many condos purchased as second homes or investments will create dead areas after hours.
 

Max

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In the materials for the upcoming Housing & Economic Development Cmte meeting they report that only one bid was received for the recent RFP regarding the last piece of city owned property on Thames Street. I guess unsurprisingly it came from the developers of the WEX buildings, and they are looking to further build out the "campus" with another 2-3 story building very similar in design to the WEX HQ and the 100 Fore Street buildings. They're proposing to connect this new building with the HQ via a skybridge.

They're also offering to transfer ownership of the recently created Connector Road to the city, I guess to make it a public way. It also appears they're planning to demolish a portion of 144 Fore Street to create a public space on the triangular plot between 100 Fore and this new building. There's also some reference to Mountfort Street being extended but there's still at least one other building in the way of that happening.

The MaineBiz article from earlier this year said that 144 Fore Street was purchased by an affordable housing developer called LIHC who might be interested in taking advantage of federal tax credits (as it's part of a federally designated "opportunity zone") to develop housing, but the PPH listed the sale as being to 144 Fore Street LLC, which is the name of the developer on this proposal. Did LIHC sell it to 144 Fore Street LLC? Are they the same organization? I'm a bit puzzled.

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Cosakita18

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Interesting proposal! I wouldn't be surprised if this has something to do with why they pulled out of their planned support building at "The Downs"

Admittedly I'm also a bit confused. I was under the impression that there were two distinct parcels involved. One bordered by Hancock and Fore St (The current VA, SMRT Building) and then the parcel on Thames St, which was put out for RFP. My understanding was that the affordable housing developer had purchased the Hancock/ Fore St. parcel with the intent to redevelop once the VA moved to their new home on West Commercial St. But I could easily be mistaken.

Also worth noting that LIHC is the same firm that owns the Munjoy South complex directly across Fore St, and entering"144 Fore St" into google maps directs you to the Hancock / Fore parcel.

Here's an over-simplified map of how I understood this block to be subdivided.

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Also, based on the renderings above, it would seem like the Moutfort St. extension isn't in the works anymore.
 
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Portlander

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Though I wish the new building was a few floors taller, I like it and am pleased to see another vacant lot developed. What I find amazing is that almost every structure in the top photo in Max's post is recent construction which is why I started referring to the area as the New Port many years ago!
 

Cosakita18

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Looking at the full site plan and landscaping plan...I can appreciate the effort to create a "campus" like environment with green common space between the buildings, but to me this does seem like fairly poor usage of space without too much consideration given to potential future development on the block, particularly with the new access drives.

When you account for new access points, easements and the preserved Mountfort St. RoW....the effective buildable area of the 144 Fore St parcel (the Affordable housing parcel) is limited to this:


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Portlander

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I agree, but I am happy the streetscape on Thames Street has remained flush. I wonder how many floors the housing portion of the parcel will end up being, I'm guessing five.
 

Cosakita18

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Even acknowledging the extreme need for affordable housing downtown...there is a small part of me that would like to see WEX occupy the 144 Fore parcel as well with an additional, slightly taller office building. It would really create a "flagship campus" feel having a unified architectural style and tenant on that block.
 

markhb

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Do we know, has what I'm going to call 120 Fore - the remaining piece of the original Hamilton Marine building - changed hands or been combined with the 144 Fore parcel? Because so far as I knew, that remained in the hands of the developer of 100 Fore and so the 144 piece would literally be just the footprint of the western piece of the VA building.
 

nomc

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Do we know, has what I'm going to call 120 Fore - the remaining piece of the original Hamilton Marine building - changed hands or been combined with the 144 Fore parcel? Because so far as I knew, that remained in the hands of the developer of 100 Fore and so the 144 piece would literally be just the footprint of the western piece of the VA building.
Most of that structure (2/3?) has been turned into a gym for Wex. I've never gone down and looked in the windows, but from Fore St it doesn't look that extravagant - made me wonder if it is a temporary location.
 

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