Portland Foreside | 58 Fore Street | Portland

TC_zoid

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Will have to watch. I'm disappointed Jim Brady isn't part of the project anymore, but still, the location and what else is happening in this area is enough to expect a transformative result. I think if they do the public market right, it will become the primary destination for food, drink, and waterfront viewing for not only Portland, but perhaps Maine (especially in the colder months). It could be similar in popularity to the original Quincy Market in Boston, in the 80s and 90s. That was the go-to place in Boston back then for food and family fun (but not nightlife). A successful result will bring many new condos, a hotel, and even more office space will be added without question. Rowes Wharf in Boston was once an exciting proposal too, but they forgot to include the public in its plans and it has become nothing of note. It's a de facto failure. Moreover, if Foreside does become the go-to place, I would expect another high-tech company to locate an office here, and it could be a big player. I think having Roux next door is the tipping point for this to happen (and still, with the Roux move, a short fun boat ride away). I do wish someone would build an exciting building across the harbor to replace the abandoned oil tanks (next to Saltwater Grille). Another 18 story building would be nice! (Redfern?)
 
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Portcity75

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I hope the food hall has The local vibe of the new food hall in Boston , Hub hall..... but has the seating like Time Out marker
 

DV74

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Sun Life Building.....not great....not bad. May look better in person.
It doesn’t look better in person. Big monolith. I am curious what is going behind it on the Fore Street Side tho. I recall there being housing there, but I am not finding a plan anywhere. Does anyone have the approved plan?
 

nomc

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6 years huh? Might want to start digging some holes soon then. Nice prominent views in those (old) renderings of how Sun Life won't look.
 

Max

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Yeah, I found this report to be oddly (and unjustly) optimistic about what's going on at this site. They have already deviated significantly from the MDP. In my opinion the marina side of the Eastern Prom Trail is a total disaster. It's a quarter-mile wall of ugly fences, sheds, dumpsters, unmowed grass, power lines and other junk. It turns out much of it was not approved as part of the MDP or other applications, and they've been before the Planning Board recently seeking forgiveness and basically asking to keep it "as is" for 3 years. Almost all of the staff, board and public comment at the last hearing was opposed to this request.

The developers were also before the Economic Development Cmte a couple months ago inquiring about the possibility of a TIF district over there. It sounded like they were having trouble putting together financing. As I recall committee members were not particularly receptive to the idea of granting a TIF without significantly more market-rate or affordable housing as part of the mix.

Further, I can't imagine them getting to the stage of putting up 8-10 story residential buildings without a significant legal challenge from their wealthy neighbors on the hill.

I think there absolutely is the potential for this site to be great, to be an extension of the waterfront with lots of public access and amenities. But based on what's happened so far and potential pitfalls ahead I think it's going to be very, very challenging for the developers to accomplish it.
 

Cosakita18

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I do feel like this project deserves a lot of criticism and pushback for how they've treated the Eastern Prom Trail. They're under (and have violated) a consent decree regarding their "temporary" buildings and food services. I find it difficult to get excited when they talk about wanting to create "exciting new public spaces" when they've so far done a very poor job respecting the public spaces that are already there.
 

mainejeff

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This piece of real estate should be treated as a crown jewel....unfortunately that hasn't been the case so far.
 

DanielPWM19

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Seems to be the ongoing theme of Portland: Grand Ideas Never Materialized.

One can only hope the Roux Institute will do a great job with pitching their plans. Midtown needs to finally get re-started by SOMEONE. Thompson's Point needs to decide what they're doing. Franklin Street needs to be overhauled for an appropriate boulevard with development on either side and returning Lincoln Park to its original footprint. Top of the Old Port - Can we please get something significant here?? Portland Square Development finally fills in the stupid and oddly-coveted empty lots.
Start picking away at all the other superfluous empty lots in Bayside, Eastern Waterfront, Old Port. Start building taller - enough with the stout buildings ... like c'mon. It's just starting to get annoying. Portland has so much potential.

Meanwhile Scarborough Downs is being developed into a whole new neighborhood. Rock Row is moving right along.
 

DanielPWM19

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If they were smart (personal opinion) they'd be better off:
  1. building housing next to the Sun Life building
  2. building whatever it is in front of the Marina
  3. selling the rest of the land to a developer that can actually see it through

58 Fore Mockup.JPG
 

TC_zoid

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They need to be careful how they plan the condos, apartments, and hotel at the other end. Public use attractions need to be interspersed or it will become like Rowes Wharf in Boston--a place for the rich. Max is right about the marina. But give it and what's coming across a chance to develop--it appears temporary. And yes, the financing has been an issue. Jim Brady being pushed out created some doubt with the current developer, who has no real experience.
 

markhb

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Public use attractions need to be interspersed or it will become like Rowes Wharf in Boston--a place for the rich.
Given the experience with the marina, I'm blindly guessing that that is the precise intent for everything east of Waterville St. (i.e., the green box above). Which doesn't surprise me; IMHO the reason the reason the Hill avoided gentrification for as long as it did was that the environment made it an undesirable place for the gentry (meaning in this instance, people with a broad selection of housing available to them) to choose to live. It was always beautiful, but until the early 1980's the Grand Trunk railroad was an active freight line (in fact Commercial St. was the major junction between the GT and Maine Central), what is now Thames St. was an active rail yard and later the BIW ship repair facility, the Portland Company and later Crosby-Laughlin were iron and steel foundries that went CLANG-CLANG-CLANG 24/7, and until the very late 70's or early 80's there was no sewage treatment plant, so ALL of the city's human biological waste went straight into the harbor, not just when there was a heavy rainstorm. You can imagine what low tide was like in the summer, especially around Back Cove or Stroudwater where the water's pretty shallow and the mud flats are exposed.
 

TC_zoid

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Given the experience with the marina, I'm blindly guessing that that is the precise intent for everything east of Waterville St. (i.e., the green box above). Which doesn't surprise me; IMHO the reason the reason the Hill avoided gentrification for as long as it did was that the environment made it an undesirable place for the gentry (meaning in this instance, people with a broad selection of housing available to them) to choose to live. It was always beautiful, but until the early 1980's the Grand Trunk railroad was an active freight line (in fact Commercial St. was the major junction between the GT and Maine Central), what is now Thames St. was an active rail yard and later the BIW ship repair facility, the Portland Company and later Crosby-Laughlin were iron and steel foundries that went CLANG-CLANG-CLANG 24/7, and until the very late 70's or early 80's there was no sewage treatment plant, so ALL of the city's human biological waste went straight into the harbor, not just when there was a heavy rainstorm. You can imagine what low tide was like in the summer, especially around Back Cove or Stroudwater where the water's pretty shallow and the mud flats are exposed.
I think we only notice the gargantuan and showy yachts. The marina has small and far less expensive boats too, and those aren't owned by rich folks. What might make this development work is a thriving tech company (with many young workers) located smack in the middle. Sun Life will help, but face it--how exciting can insurance be? That way, many types of workers are hanging out in the area at lunch and happy hour. Before the pandemic, CIEE created some excitement near it's building. Young workers from all over the world hung out in the neighborhood. It's easy to design a thriving neighborhood or public space by what's planned. Visit the IG page for Portland's Youth Hostel. That brings fun and excitement to the area, though on a small scale. I'd put a bigger version of this in the Foreside development instead of another $500 a night hotel (or $1,000 during busy times). Or, perhaps the upper floor has "heightened" room experiences which can charge $500 a night. Now you got some rich too--or cool rich. Community is what the aforementioned brings. Most rich people don't bring community. They bring arrogance. But they like to hang out with all classes if the place is done right. If Portland can't figure out how to plan (somewhat) a community, it won't be a fun place anymore. Roux is cool. Entrepreneurs and grad students from all over the world are taking courses here. That's fun for the area. Interspersal of variety is my theory of approach here. Don't let the marketplace decide or it won't really work, or as well.
 

nomc

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If it's going to work as a true Old Port extension (more of an outpost really) it needs a night time draw, not just some shops during the day. It could be a 600-800 seat replacement for Port City Music Hall - or something like The Appel Room with the harbor in the background. Or maybe both housed in a unique piece of architecture. I think Portland can take a signature experience, something that generates a buzz - and what a space to do something big, bold, and so cool it becomes a destination.

But it will probably just be a bunch of depressing condos - in buildings that overuse color and texture.
 

DanielPWM19

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It'd be cool to see a Pod Hotel in Portland - those have a mix of affordable bunks or full rooms.
 

nomc

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