Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Cosakita18

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Recent good news is the ex-Governor of Connecticut has been hired to run the entire Univ. of Maine system. These things, expansion delays, etc., are almost always due to poor leadership. Perhaps now we will see something happen. Although, the law school is under the Univ. of Maine moniker, and will be on the University of Southern Maine campus. I think they need to change the Portland campus to the Univ. of Maine at Portland (Gorham can be UMG). Not UMPG! Confusing as all hell. Only 2-3 people outside of the Portland area have heard of Gorham. It should be UMP, and they could up the sports programs by playing in CIA. Many, far less exciting cities across the U.S. do this, centering -- and promoting -- their local university sports teams. Who on these blogs has been to a recent USM hockey or basketball game? Who has bought, outside of current students, new USM Huskies merchandise? (crickets) I know, sad, sad, sad. Also, they need to up the biology program at USM/UMP. With all the new biotech companies thriving and locating in the Portland area, high school graduates should be staying here, not going to Boston area schools. Look at the PPH list of the Portland area's top high school grads which is printed every year. None are attending college in Maine.
USM has been sitting on their campus master plan for a while now, but the need for growth in their graduate and STEM sectors can't be ignored any longer. Meanwhile UNE has done a good job attracting students from across the country, and are on a good growth path. I would argue that UNE also needs to invest in their Portland campus. Having actual dorms there for starters.

Portland has a good local corporate base, and room to grow there, but this area really needs to lure in a large out of state company. Maine faces an uphill battle in trying to attract corporate tenants, but our area is nationally renounced for a high quality of life, a young worker pool, and a growing STEM sector. Surely all those things can be used to make Portland a viable place for a large corporate entity to set up shop. Our universities can play a role in that process as well.
 

TC_zoid

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USM has been sitting on their campus master plan for a while now, but the need for growth in their graduate and STEM sectors can't be ignored any longer. Meanwhile UNE has done a good job attracting students from across the country, and are on a good growth path. I would argue that UNE also needs to invest in their Portland campus. Having actual dorms there for starters.

Portland has a good local corporate base, and room to grow there, but this area really needs to lure in a large out of state company. Maine faces an uphill battle in trying to attract corporate tenants, but our area is nationally renounced for a high quality of life, a young worker pool, and a growing STEM sector. Surely all those things can be used to make Portland a viable place for a large corporate entity to set up shop. Our universities can play a role in that process as well.
Agreed. Maybe Portland can steal a company from the south, e.g., Georgia, with all of the flak they are getting now. Along with, better city and state incentives. That's what's it all about. It might be a better quality of life up here, but money, dinero, is what it's all about. Paddling down a stream in a canoe in your old LL Bean wear might be blissful, but after, painful with the realities of relative pauperdom.
 

Max

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A few minor design modifications have been made to the 46 Free Street design based on feedback from the Historic Preservation Board earlier this month.

I was watching some of the hearing and at one point when the developer was asked whether the back-side balconies (facing Spring Street) would one day be facing the back of another building, he replied that yes, the longterm plan is to develop the whole lot, and that any new development fronting Spring Street would likely take advantage of the zone's maximum 150 ft building height.

Who knows when or if that development will occur, but if it does and if Portland Square is built out similar to what's currently proposed, the block of Spring between Temple and Center Streets could one day be bounded by 10+ story buildings on both sides.



 

Portlander

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Thanks for the update Max. I actually liked the granite trim on the ends better but the roof screen is an improvement over the original design. Future 10+ story buildings on those neighboring sites would add some incredible depth to Portland's skyline when viewed from the harbor and South Portland!
 

Cosakita18

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They have gone back to the Planning Board several times with requests for changes to materials in order to reduce costs. The developers sent out an email recently claiming that construction will begin in June, but time will tell.
I just moved in directly across the street from the future Verdante building , I noticed a lot of activity this morning at the site, looks like they're getting ready to bring in equipment. That June groundbreaking date seems to be happening
 

Max

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I just moved in directly across the street from the future Verdante building , I noticed a lot of activity this morning at the site, looks like they're getting ready to bring in equipment. That June groundbreaking date seems to be happening
They had a somewhat contentious final meeting with the Planning Board recently where they asked for another concession on materials. The developer ultimately conceded it was a cost-saving measure, but when it appeared the Board may not approve the change, he got up and basically said if they didn't approve it the project wouldn't happen. Some of the Board members were quite irked by the threat but ultimately approved it.

In other news I walked past Hobson's Landing over the weekend and was surprised to see beams already 2-3 stories high.
 

Cosakita18

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They had a somewhat contentious final meeting with the Planning Board recently where they asked for another concession on materials. The developer ultimately conceded it was a cost-saving measure, but when it appeared the Board may not approve the change, he got up and basically said if they didn't approve it the project wouldn't happen. Some of the Board members were quite irked by the threat but ultimately approved it.

In other news I walked past Hobson's Landing over the weekend and was surprised to see beams already 2-3 stories high.
i was also very surprised by the rate of progress there. It looks like the condos are going up before the hotel.

Also, the Census released its 2018 population estimates for US cities, and their estimates show a slight population DECREASE in Portland from 2017 to 2018. I don't know what their methodology is, but that seems very wrong to me, at least anecdotally, and given the amount of new housing in the city.
 

HarvardP

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Agreed. Maybe Portland can steal a company from the south, e.g., Georgia, with all of the flak they are getting now. Along with, better city and state incentives. That's what's it all about. It might be a better quality of life up here, but money, dinero, is what it's all about. Paddling down a stream in a canoe in your old LL Bean wear might be blissful, but after, painful with the realities of relative pauperdom.
FWIW, you haven't seen 'pauperdom' until you've been to the Deep South, including that moldy peach, Georgia. Many Mainers living check to check would thank their lucky stars after two minutes experiencing Southern poverty.
 

Cosakita18

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at the Build Maine conference today I noticed a small rendering of the 20 story tower proposed along Union St in the Old Port on the cover of a MEREDA brochure. Has anyone seen a larger version of this rendering?
 

portlandneedsnewarena

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at the Build Maine conference today I noticed a small rendering of the 20 story tower proposed along Union St in the Old Port on the cover of a MEREDA brochure. Has anyone seen a larger version of this rendering?
You can see the image at www.mereda.org Click on MEREDA INDEX "Learn More". The brochure that comes up view the 2nd photo on the bottom row from left to right (the one with the ocean view) and you will see the rendering of the 20 story building. Appears to be too tall for that area of the City. I suspect if it is ever approved by the City TS will have to settle for somewhere between 14 and 16 stories.
 

Max

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Interesting, first time I've seen the rendering. I can't find a more hi-res version.

 

markhb

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Interesting, first time I've seen the rendering. I can't find a more hi-res version.
Wait, it's in the Novare Res courtyard? I thought it was going to be over on the other side, the CMP lot on Union next to the Hyatt. I always liked that hidden spot!
 

DZH22

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If that new tallest building was built to spec it would be a huge aesthetic boost to the overall city. That's what Portland has been missing. 3-4 buildings that size would be really amazing.
 

Corey

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Just a few recent updates from the Hobson's Landing project:



 

Portcity75

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Yeah I mentioned last month that I knew someone connected to canal plaza and that they hired Boston architect to design for 20. Expand and connect fore st garage right into the new building. Heard he wants hotel in there, surprise surprise. He owns all the buildings around it so not sure what could oppose it but I'm sure "friends of the old port" will be forming shortly
 

Cosakita18

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fencing is up for Verdante, looks like demolition of the old co-op building will begin soon.

heard a rumor from my landlord (who owns a few properties in the east end) that there may be a plan in the works to redevelop the food co-op / Rite Aid strip mall. Anyone heard about this??
 

markhb

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I don't know how many of my fellow Portlanders pay attention to the rest of aB, but I'd suggest taking a look at the "ArchBOSTON - A New Dawn" thread in Board Issues. Essentially, Briv sold the site to the proprietor of urbantoronto.com and there's a vigorous debate going on about it. The upside is that I think we now stand a better chance of getting a specific Portland forum. :D
 

PortlandLifeGuy

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Anyone have any updates on the midtown project? I know it's essentially dead but wondering if there had been any movement. Also, any idea what's going on down neat Whole Foods in the old Oakherst Dairy parking lot?
 

Cosakita18

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Anyone have any updates on the midtown project? I know it's essentially dead but wondering if there had been any movement. Also, any idea what's going on down neat Whole Foods in the old Oakherst Dairy parking lot?
It's totally dead. Still an empty trash-strewn lot. I think the city is trying to get the land back from the developer somehow.

the Oakhurst lot is being used as staging for road construction on Prebble / Marginal way. I was confused too when I saw construction equipment there. Another lot that has great potential for redevelopment.
 

Max

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heard a rumor from my landlord (who owns a few properties in the east end) that there may be a plan in the works to redevelop the food co-op / Rite Aid strip mall. Anyone heard about this??
Seems unlikely that it would be redeveloped in a major way, since the facade improvements happened just 4 or 5 years ago, right? I've heard that the Food Co-op would be interested in expanding into the laundromat space next door if it were ever vacated.
 

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