Portland Foreside | 58 Fore Street | Portland

Max

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Large, multi-phased proposed redevelopment of the former Portland Company complex. A master development plan was approved in late 2016. At full build-out, the plan calls for 638 units of housing, 132 hotel rooms, 60,000 square feet of retail space, a new marina and nearly 124,000 square feet of office space.




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Cosakita18

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A couple new renderings of the Sun Life HQ from the Historic Preservation Board packet

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mainejeff

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Sun Life Building.....not great....not bad. May look better in person.
 

PlantArch

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Sun Life Building.....not great....not bad. May look better in person.
Absolutely no creativity put into the design of this building. It has no character at all. Why any architect would want to put their name on such a structure I will never know.
 

Seanflynn78

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Has anyone heard any news of this building getting started? I have not been to Portland this calendar year, and curious if it gets built. It appears this entire project is limping along.
 

Max

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Has anyone heard any news of this building getting started? I have not been to Portland this calendar year, and curious if it gets built. It appears this entire project is limping along.
There was a recent PPH article about the transition to remote working and a Sun Life rep was quoted as saying they're still planning to lease space at this location, but that it may have a different layout or uses than previously imagined.

There hasn't been much going on at the site other than debris being moved around. Most of the activity at the site has revolved around the marina, which has grown to become something of an eyesore in my opinion. They've built up a bunch of infrastructure on the water to cater to boaters, including a long line of contiguous fencing which has really turned a lot of people off. They even put up some razor wire to ostensibly keep people out of the "mega yacht" section and they received some criticism for that. But between the fencing, the boat houses, the overhead poles and wires -- I'm not impressed with what the developers have done so far. I'm hoping that some of this is remedied when (or if) the development proceeds.
 

Cosakita18

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There was a recent PPH article about the transition to remote working and a Sun Life rep was quoted as saying they're still planning to lease space at this location, but that it may have a different layout or uses than previously imagined.

There hasn't been much going on at the site other than debris being moved around. Most of the activity at the site has revolved around the marina, which has grown to become something of an eyesore in my opinion. They've built up a bunch of infrastructure on the water to cater to boaters, including a long line of contiguous fencing which has really turned a lot of people off. They even put up some razor wire to ostensibly keep people out of the "mega yacht" section and they received some criticism for that. But between the fencing, the boat houses, the overhead poles and wires -- I'm not impressed with what the developers have done so far. I'm hoping that some of this is remedied when (or if) the development proceeds.
The developers seem to be almost going out of their way to make enemies within the neighborhood and city government.

As far as I understand, the entire plan for this site has changed pretty dramatically (and honestly the vision they had was fairly questionable to begin with) and they will be revisiting their master plan going forward.
 

TC_zoid

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There was a recent PPH article about the transition to remote working and a Sun Life rep was quoted as saying they're still planning to lease space at this location, but that it may have a different layout or uses than previously imagined.

There hasn't been much going on at the site other than debris being moved around. Most of the activity at the site has revolved around the marina, which has grown to become something of an eyesore in my opinion. They've built up a bunch of infrastructure on the water to cater to boaters, including a long line of contiguous fencing which has really turned a lot of people off. They even put up some razor wire to ostensibly keep people out of the "mega yacht" section and they received some criticism for that. But between the fencing, the boat houses, the overhead poles and wires -- I'm not impressed with what the developers have done so far. I'm hoping that some of this is remedied when (or if) the development proceeds.
You nailed it, Max. Prentiss doesn't have the funding to do what he wants, so why not build a haphazard rigged fence in the interim to keep the provincial types away from his luxury boaters? It's easier money this way. I highly doubt he will get the original proposal funding as he quite obviously, angered Brady enough to leave the project. Brady was the core competence and leverage to getting it done, or at the original scale, that is. It's probably another grand development proposal for Portland of which the legacy will be mere illustrations (albeit, cool ones). Moreover, I'd love to see all of these grand illusionary ideas from "developers" exhibited at the PMA sometime. I think a properly curated exhibit of the designs would be thrilling for Portlanders to see. Only the arch bloggers really know the whole realm of this fascinating world. My personal fave would be the twin 40 story hotel towers for SoPo and the connecting gondola ride to Peaks. And the exhibit name? How about, "Portland: The Magical Mystery Tour".
 

DanielPWM19

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Cosakita18

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An "inside source" tells me that this development has pretty much completely gone off the rails. SunLife has indefinitely delayed its move to the Eastern Waterfront and even though the Marina had a better than expected summer season, the developers are having a hard time securing further financing. The entire master plan is being revised yet again.

As he described it, a lot of what they were planning doesn't make much sense in a post-covid world.
 
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TC_zoid

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An "inside source" tells me that this development has pretty much completely gone off the rails. SunLife has indefinitely delayed its move to the Eastern Waterfront and even though the Marina had a better than expected summer season, the developers are having a hard time securing further financing. The entire master plan is being revised yet again.

As he described it, a lot of what they were planning doesn't make much sense in a post-covid world.
The development team does not have any real experience other than a restaurant (Evo), an inn renovation on an island, and a marina. It's not so easy to get $400 million to play with. After Jim Brady left the vision had to change. I think the only thing that saves it is a notable tech company needing a lot of space. Perhaps renovating existing structures and building something futuristic out of glass (new glass looks great with old brick), a small number of condos, and a boutique hotel. The public market doesn't make much sense now. Nothing for the public really does. (So add the fancy futuristic vision image to the failed Portland development archives.)
 
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Tom Nevers

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The demise of public space due to COVID is exaggerated. You only have to go as far as Exchange or Fore to see that.

With 1/3 of all homes in Maine being purchased by out of staters and prices continuing to rise, it seems clear there’s an appetite for more housing. Scrap the hotel and build condos with limited first floor retail.
 
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Cosakita18

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The demise of public space due to COVID is exaggerated. You only have to go as far as Exchange or Fore to see that.

With 1/3 of all homes in Maine being purchased by out of staters and prices continuing to rise, it seems clear there’s an appetite for more housing. Scrap the hotel and build condos with limited first floor retail.
I tend to agree with that, but honestly the vision this development team had was questionable to begin with. Those old Portland Co. buildings need many millions of dollars in renovations just to be usable, let alone be repurposed. Spending so much to turn 150 year old structures into event spaces and high-end eateries is a very dubious proposition, especially without the income from a major commercial anchor (SunLife)

I will also point out that this development team has ZERO political goodwill left with either the city or the neighborhood. The "Temporary" marina has completely walled-off the eastern prom trail from the waterfront, and a friend in the planning department has assured me that the as-built marina is VERY different from what as described in discussions between the city and the developer.
 
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TC_zoid

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I tend to agree with that, but honestly the vision this development team had was questionable to begin with. Those old Portland Co. buildings need many millions of dollars in renovations just to be usable, let alone be repurposed. Spending so much to turn 150 year old structures into event spaces and high-end eateries is a very dubious proposition, especially without the income from a major commercial anchor (SunLife)

I will also point out that this development team has ZERO political goodwill left with either the city or the neighborhood. The "Temporary" marina has completely walled-off the eastern prom trail from the waterfront, and a friend in the planning department has assured me that the as-built marina is VERY different from what as described in discussions between the city and the developer.
I agree. I chartered a schooner for two hours from this elitist section with two friends last month (and well worth the price), and it's quite pretentious with services and personnel. From within, it's completely walled off from the trail with no public usage. The other side does have a small outdoor bar for the public, but for the most part, this marina is meant only for a very exclusive set. But if you have the money and a boat here, quite nice. I don't think Jim Brady was thinking quite this angle when he was part of it.
 

Max

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The Thames Street to Fore Street connector appears to be almost finished. They appear to be flattening out some kind of service road entry to the Foreside complex. A lot of dirt has been pushed around in the last couple days on what's supposed to be the SunLife HQ site, but it's not clear if it's in preparation for construction or for some other reason.

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Dr. StrangeHat

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I wouldn't be surprised if Sun Life still moves forward with this building. They own the real estate at their Wellesley, MA campus that is still probably worth a healthy sum. Even if a sizable portion of their employees shift to permanently remote, they could still consolidate much of their Scarborough, South Portland (DRMS/FullScope) and Wellesley operations to this building and unload much of the Wellesley property for a significant net gain.
 

cneal

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Building permits have been issued both for the SunLife office building:

And for the rebuilt/relocated "Building 12" pattern building:
 

Max

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Lots of activity at the site now. Looks like they are shoring up the retaining wall up against Fore Street, among other preparatory work.

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