200 Federal Street | Residential Tower | Portland

Urban World

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Personally I'd disagree because the planning board usually defers to staff, which writes the 1,000 page memos the planning board "skims" before voting. From time to time they will form their own opinions, but usually not. Nothing wrong with issuing comments to both though!
 

Portlander

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Anyone know if the new referendum that passed in Portland concerning an increase in affordable units will impact 200 Federal Street? Would the proposed project be exempt because it's already in the pipeline and/or because the developer is not requesting any tax breaks or grant money? Would union construction workers be required or is that not relevant due to it not being a city funded endeavor?
 

Urban World

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Good questions but not sure. I heard the city council is enacting a municipal law that makes everything free from now on. While store owners were initially against the idea, when they learned their rent would also be free, they were quick to get on board. In addition, landlords learned that their buildings were also free, meaning it will now be unnecessary to collect commercial rents (as long as their lenders are all located in Portland, too). The City was quick to take credit for what it projects will be a return of Portland as the banking capital of Northern New England, with financial institutions already rushing to do the opposite of business on the peninsula. There were also some rumblings of a tradename dispute between Portland, which wants to change its name to "Freeport", and the less populous shopping mecca to the north, home to a certain "Boot" sculpture, which is anything but "free" some in the crowd of supporters banging drums outside of City Hall stated. At any rate, as long as one lives in Portland, and eats and shops in Portland, they will have no need to pay for anything - because it will all be free. "The problem, the City acknowledged, is with regard to those who live outside of Portland, or ever travel outside of Portland, or ever shop online from sources located outside of Portland--who councilors and residents alike admitted would need to find other ways to pay what the City described as unconscionable fees associated with services rendered by such anti-progress and overtly capitalistic, greedy groups like grocers, clothing shops, coffee houses, and non-organic beer brewers", one source familiar with Portland's pioneering approach to utipia confirmed.
 
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TC_zoid

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Good questions but not sure. I heard the city council is enacting a municipal law that makes everything free from now on. While store owners were initially against the idea, when they learned their rent would also be free, they were quick to get on board. In addition, landlords learned that their buildings were also free, meaning it will now be unnecessary to collect commercial rents (as long as their lenders are all located in Portland, too). The City was quick to take credit for what it projects will be a return of Portland as the banking capital of Northern New England, with financial institutions already rushing to do the opposite of business on the peninsula. There were also some rumblings of a tradename dispute between Portland, which wants to change its name to "Freeport", and the less populous shopping mecca to the north, home to a certain "Boot" sculpture, which is anything but "free" some in the crowd of supporters banging drums outside of City Hall stated. At any rate, as long as one lives in Portland, and eats and shops in Portland, they will have no need to pay for anything - because it will all be free. "The problem, the City acknowledged, is with regard to those who live outside of Portland, or ever travel outside of Portland, or ever shop online from sources located outside of Portland--who councilors and residents alike admitted would need to find other ways to pay what the City described as unconscionable fees associated with services rendered by such anti-progress and overtly capitalistic, greedy groups like grocers, clothing shops, coffee houses, and non-organic beer brewers", one source familiar with Portland's pioneering approach to utipia confirmed.
I heard that too. But parking at meters is still a thing. Only difference is now its 400 quarters an hour, not 4.
 

Max

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Anyone know if the new referendum that passed in Portland concerning an increase in affordable units will impact 200 Federal Street? Would the proposed project be exempt because it's already in the pipeline and/or because the developer is not requesting any tax breaks or grant money? Would union construction workers be required or is that not relevant due to it not being a city funded endeavor?
I watched the Planning Board workshop on 200 Federal Street earlier this week, and the referendum was briefly mentioned, and the sense I got is that because this is "in the pipeline" before the referendum takes effect that it's not going to be affected by it. But, I could be wrong about that.

I believe that because there would be no public funding involved, the only portion of the referendum that this project would be subject to is that 25%, rather than 10%, of the units would have to be "workforce" rate. But I could be wrong about that too. I voted against all the referendums because I don't think they're a good way to create policy.

Anyway -- I will say that the Planning Board's reception to the project was entirely positive. No one had any issue with the height, there was some limited concern expressed about the minimal amount of on-site parking proposed (I think they're proposing around 25 spaces). There was also no public comment at either their neighborhood meeting or this workshop, but they expect that to change as the the project moves forward.

They did say that the Historic Preservation Board will be weighing in on the design, and that the design will inevitably change as things progress. I was interested to see some sketches of the proposed pocket park that will exist between the building and the USPS entrance. The developers also want the ground floor retail space to be some kind of neighborhood grocery market like Rosemont, which makes sense.

It sounds like if all goes well they'd like to get shovels in the ground by Q3 of 2021 and they're looking at a 24-26 month buildout.
 

Portlander

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Thanks for the update Max and I've also heard that the new referendum will not effect this project but there's been nothing official mentioned. Were there any renderings at the workshop showing how the building will fit into the skyline from 295 and the waterfront? A small grocery store similar to Joe's Super Variety in the Hiawatha would be perfect.
 
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Max

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I didn't see any new renderings other than that sketch of the pocket park, and it was a very basic sketch. The other renderings were ones we've seen before. I would love to see some skyline renderings, I've got to believe it will become the most prominent building on the skyline. Not sure if it will appear as the tallest from I-295, I guess it depends on the elevation vs. Franklin Towers, 477 Congress St., etc.
 

Portlander

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Good point regarding the interstate. I can always make out the mechanical top of Canal Plaza and the upper floors of One City Center when heading south. With 200 Federal Street being around 40 feet taller than OCC and it's footprint having little more elevation, I think it will stand out visually. It will be more impressive at night due to the interior lighting compared to the row of dark office buildings along the Congress Street spine. As someone previously mentioned, it would be nice if the developer added some type of lighting effects along the roofline. In my opinion, Back Bay Tower is the most interesting building from the I-295 vantage point and always appears taller than it's actual height.
 

Dr. StrangeHat

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I would love to see some skyline renderings, I've got to believe it will become the most prominent building on the skyline. Not sure if it will appear as the tallest from I-295, I guess it depends on the elevation vs. Franklin Towers, 477 Congress St., etc.
I slapped this together when this project was first leaked on this forum earlier this year, but I never posted it.

210 Federal Street.png
 

Portlander

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You held out on us but I knew you'd come through eventually! Looks pretty accurate in relation to One City Center, good job.
 

Max

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Another thing the developer mentioned at the workshop was that they plan to have a common area on the 18th floor available to all residents. Should be some terrific views from up there!
 

Portlander

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I'm happy that there hasn't been any negative articles from the local press or complaints from the same contingent that opposed the Midtown project. Wonder if it's because the tower is planned for the center of downtown, not a cluster of high rise structures and no city tax breaks or grants being involved?
 

Redfern

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Hi Folks. We have been pushing forward, including a positive Planning Board Workshop on Nov 10th. Our design has progressed based on feedback we received, including some thoughtful critiques on this forum. We have moved away from pre-cast concrete and are working with Red Brick with metal panels. The design goal has been to create a building that is modern but respects and acknowledges its location in the Old Port. Thus, the red brick. As you can imagine, there are also major budgetary constraints. We would love to build a contemporary glass & steel tower, but that is simply not in the cards. So we have a design that is modern with a fairly traditional materials palette. While the last design was symmetrical, this is a little more playful with the metal cap dipping down the facade. Also, one of you mentioned that the last design seemed too reminiscent of One Portland Square. We tend to agree. Not that we don't like that building, but it says 1990's and we want 200 Federal to be a building of the 2020's.

So hot of the presses - as in literally today at 5:00 and renderings aren't fully baked - you guys are the first look at our most recent design!

We welcome your feedback!
200 Fed 11-20-20 - image 2.jpg
200 Fed 11-20-20 - image 1.jpg
 

GIL

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Hi Folks. We have been pushing forward, including a positive Planning Board Workshop on Nov 10th. Our design has progressed based on feedback we received, including some thoughtful critiques on this forum. We have moved away from pre-cast concrete and are working with Red Brick with metal panels. The design goal has been to create a building that is modern but respects and acknowledges its location in the Old Port. Thus, the red brick. As you can imagine, there are also major budgetary constraints. We would love to build a contemporary glass & steel tower, but that is simply not in the cards. So we have a design that is modern with a fairly traditional materials palette. While the last design was symmetrical, this is a little more playful with the metal cap dipping down the facade. Also, one of you mentioned that the last design seemed too reminiscent of One Portland Square. We tend to agree. Not that we don't like that building, but it says 1990's and we want 200 Federal to be a building of the 2020's.

So hot of the presses - as in literally today at 5:00 and renderings aren't fully baked - you guys are the first look at our most recent design!

We welcome your feedback!View attachment 8434View attachment 8435
It is appreciated that you’re sharing here so early, and that the materials feel so much more authentic in this iteration. The proportions overall feel more balanced and considered; in addition, I especially like the awnings. The podium looks much improved and pedestrian-friendly with the more-articulated glazing, and the refined tower design helps the mass look more dynamic without “trying too hard” to capture attention. Well-done to the design team for the progress on such a prominent project!
 
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Redfern

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It is so appreciated that you’re sharing here so early! It is also appreciated by this commenter that the materials feel so much more authentic; the proportions overall feel more well-balanced and considered; and I especially like the awnings. The “podium” section looks much improved and pedestrian-friendly; amd the more articulated tower really helps the mass look more dynamic without “trying too hard” to garner attention. I say well-done to the design team for this progress on such a prominent project!
It's been a challenging, lengthy process between both design and budget - we feel like we finally had a bit of a breakthrough today so wanted to share!
 

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