465 Congress Street | Portland

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Noticed yellow tubing on the NW corner (street level to the roof) of 465 Congress Street today from I 295 which hopefully means the renovations are getting ready to begin. Has anyone noticed anything on the street as far as signage, fencing or jersey barriers?
 

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New exterior paint on the northwest wall. Matches well and a nice improvement over the previous look.
 

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Looks like they're proposing to renovate floors 2-10 into residential units. I think it's a great idea and will contribute to the increasing vitality of downtown, but it represents a major change for what has been one of the city's premier commercial buildings for over a century!
 

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Transition would be similar to the recent conversion of the former Amoskeag Bank Building in Manchester. Now known as Red Oak at 875 Elm Street, it has 91 one and two bedroom apartments, ground level retail, a restaurant and an attached parking garage. The 10 story structure was built in 1913 as New Hampshire's first skyscraper which is 3 years after Portland's Fidelity Building was completed.
 
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markhb

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This is the one with the magnificent banking hall on the first floor, isn't it? I hope that a retail bank retains that spot.

Was this originally the Commerce Building, or the Fidelity Building? Perhaps we could get the thread name updated?
 

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It was originally the Fidelity Building then became the Commerce Building due to the National Bank of Commerce becoming the main tenant around 1933. And you are correct Mark when it comes to the banking atrium, hopefully M&T Bank will remain on the ground floor and mezzanine level.
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M&T Bank (HQ in Buffalo) will complete the merger with People's United this weekend and are having discussions with the city to take advantage of the rooftop signage.
 
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Monument Square in the process of being turned into a pedestrian "triangle" as part of the Maineway Project around 1974. The Fidelity Building has blue window accents, the Portland Public Library was 5 years from being completed and there is a Citgo station where the Elm Street Garage is now located.
 
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When built, the Monument Square plaza had brass N-E-S-W plates marking the corners of the original City Hall that had stood on the site. I wonder when and why those were removed.
 

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I do remember the granite pedestal with a plaque on the front and a brass marker on top and I think it got damaged when the plexiglass cover disappeared a long time ago. After years of winter weather, vandalism and neglect I think the city finally removed the entire pedestal a few years ago. I've had discussions with a few city counselors over the years about putting money aside to renovate the entire square with no success. After 47 years the plaza is really showing serious aging with cracked granite inlays and damaged brickwork being repaired with asphalt filler. Maybe after the Congress Square makeover is complete the city will put some effort into the centerpiece of downtown.
 
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Max

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Maybe after the Congress Square makeover is complete the city will put some effort into the centerpiece of downtown.
So in 2027 or so? :ROFLMAO:

Ughh, what a debacle going on in Congress Square... I've also noticed that progress at the Schwartz Building seems to have slowed considerably. They had hired a reputable project manager back in the early spring and their website said it would be ready for occupancy by summer 2022. That hasn't happened and the ground floor doesn't appear all that much different than it did a few months ago...
 

markhb

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I do remember the granite pedestal with a plaque on the front and a brass marker on top and I think it got damaged when the plexiglass cover disappeared a long time ago. After years of winter weather, vandalism and neglect I think the city finally removed the entire pedestal a few years ago. I've had discussions with a few city counselors over the years about putting money aside to renovate the entire square with no success. After 47 years the plaza is really showing serious aging with cracked granite inlays and damaged brickwork being repaired with asphalt filler. Maybe after the Congress Square makeover is complete the city will put some effort into the centerpiece of downtown.
I do remember the pedestal; it had a model of the plaza with a description of the project (and the Old City Hall corner markers) in raised letters and in Braille, all sealed under that Plexiglas cover.
Anyone who wasn't around to see it, read that last sentence again 😉. I'm guessing it might have been removed at the same time as the payphone mushroom, if not sooner.
 

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Was told today from an M&T Bank representative that the city has disapproved the bank's request to utilize the signage on the roof. So it appears the massive signs that have been in place since the nineties will be coming down and I am personally happy with the decision and it will declutter the unique gothic looking roofline on the Congress Street side.
 

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@markhb - I found the mushroom you're speaking of!
View attachment 28360
That's it all right! The bus shelter matched it, with a high-curved roof and the smoked glass. I believe the pedestal Portlander and I spoke of was behind this, between the phone shelter and 50 Monument Square.

I'm guessing this photo dates to 2004 or so, shortly after FedEx bought Kinko's, since there's a FedEx sign in the window but the building signage hasn't changed yet. It has to be later than 1996, when Loring, Short & Harmon was purchased by Boise Cascade, and earlier than 2008 when FedEx dropped the Kinko's branding completely.
 
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That's it all right! The bus shelter matched it, with a high-curved roof and the smoked glass. I believe the pedestal Portlander and I spoke of was behind this, between the phone shelter and 50 Monument Square.

I'm guessing this photo dates to 2004 or so, shortly after FedEx bought Kinko's, since there's a FedEx sign in the window but the building signage hasn't changed yet. It has to be later than 1996, when Loring, Short & Harmon was purchased by Boise Cascade, and earlier than 2008 when FedEx dropped the Kinko's branding completely.
I miss the mushroom. They could reinstall it with vertical flatscreen ads and phone charging connections like they have in Manhattan (NYC).
 

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Photo I actually took around 1981 showing the bus kiosk in the the distance, portion of the Karate sign, new library, Bernies's Fashions and just prior to the top two floors of the Time & Temperature Building receiving their exterior makeover in 1983. Would have asked the blonde gal out but I was married at the time!
 
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