Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

cneal

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Crazy how 15 years ago there were 4 gas stations between Longfellow and Bramhall Square and 3 in these two blocks between Walker and Neal. Walker Terrace replaced one of them back in 2005, now this one's going away; it's only a matter of time before the 7-11 across from Hot Suppa folds.
 

Cosakita18

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I really like the design of this building. It's a great infill development and it's a good balance of fitting in and standing out with the surrounding built environment

However, the number of hotel rooms in this city is definitely NOT sustainable, and whenever the economy slows down again, there are going to be a lot of empty hotel rooms in this city. tourism is an incredibly fickle industry, and it is usually the first and hardest hit when the economy slows.

I understand the complexities involved in the economics of development , but in a city with a housing shortage as acute as Portland, I find it unfortunate that the number of hotel rooms being built far outstrips the number of housing units being built. I know that "that's just how the development business works" and that may be true, but it's not good planning practice, and it doesn't make for a good City. A City built for locals will always attract visitors, but a city built for visitors will never attract locals.
 

TC_zoid

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I really like the design of this building. It's a great infill development and it's a good balance of fitting in and standing out with the surrounding built environment

However, the number of hotel rooms in this city is definitely NOT sustainable, and whenever the economy slows down again, there are going to be a lot of empty hotel rooms in this city. tourism is an incredibly fickle industry, and it is usually the first and hardest hit when the economy slows.

I understand the complexities involved in the economics of development , but in a city with a housing shortage as acute as Portland, I find it unfortunate that the number of hotel rooms being built far outstrips the number of housing units being built. I know that "that's just how the development business works" and that may be true, but it's not good planning practice, and it doesn't make for a good City. A City built for locals will always attract visitors, but a city built for visitors will never attract locals.
Homeowners in Portland don't want more housing because property values will continue to rise with scarce stock (along with their Airbnb rentals). And without more hotels, more housing would convert to Airbnb.
 

Dr. StrangeHat

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The economics of development make it challenging and somewhat cost-prohibitive to build below-market-rate housing without subsidies to maintain desired ROI, especially given rising construction costs. The good thing about hotels is that they can be converted to housing, but that won’t happen as long as occupancy rates continue to hold despite the influx of hotel rooms. If the occupancy rate ever drops below a certain level, then building owners will likely begin to convert to housing. I just don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Unless the city sets a cap on hotel rooms in the city, increases the fee in lieu of housing and/or ties the fee to the number of rooms across the city in aggregate (e.g. fee continues to go up as more hotel rooms are added), then I’m not sure there are workable solutions other than the city getting more involved in housing development financing.
 
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TC_zoid

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The economics of development make it challenging and somewhat cost-prohibitive to build below-market-rate housing without subsidies to maintain desired ROI, especially given rising construction costs. The good thing about hotels is that they can be converted to housing, but that won’t happen as long as occupancy rates continue to hold despite the influx of hotel rooms. If the occupancy rate ever drops below a certain level, then building owners will likely begin to convert to housing. I just don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Unless the city sets a cap on hotel rooms in the city, increases the fee in lieu of housing and/or ties the fee to the number of rooms across the city in aggregate (e.g. fee continues to go up as more hotel rooms are added), then I’m not sure there are workable solutions other than the city getting more involved in housing development financing.
A few years ago we had a large market rate development ready to go but the city and a few selfish residents killed it (with around 1,800 units for the empty lots in Bayside). This would of lowered the average cost of housing in Portland, thus helping on the affordable housing problem. The solution is a larger scale development to create quantity but those in power in Portland do not want it (or on the peninsula, anyway). And hotels can not be converted to housing because of design limitations unless it becomes a boarding house, which results in transients. Who wants that? And the city can't set a cap on more hotel rooms, unless you want a de facto Marxist economic policy. The solution is apparent -- more housing needs to be built outside the peninsula with better mass transit solutions. Westbrook is a realistic idea, they are amenable to it, with a train connector to the peninsula. Amtrak is already proposing the idea (see PPH article from a few days ago). Portland needs to think in the bigger picture as it continues to grow due to its proximity to the thriving Boston area. And you won't stop the tourists from coming to clog the city, but then, who wants to? That's easy money.
 

portlandneedsnewarena

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A few years ago we had a large market rate development ready to go but the city and a few selfish residents killed it (with around 1,800 units for the empty lots in Bayside). This would of lowered the average cost of housing in Portland, thus helping on the affordable housing problem. The solution is a larger scale development to create quantity but those in power in Portland do not want it (or on the peninsula, anyway). And hotels can not be converted to housing because of design limitations unless it becomes a boarding house, which results in transients. Who wants that? And the city can't set a cap on more hotel rooms, unless you want a de facto Marxist economic policy. The solution is apparent -- more housing needs to be built outside the peninsula with better mass transit solutions. Westbrook is a realistic idea, they are amenable to it, with a train connector to the peninsula. Amtrak is already proposing the idea (see PPH article from a few days ago). Portland needs to think in the bigger picture as it continues to grow due to its proximity to the thriving Boston area. And you won't stop the tourists from coming to clog the city, but then, who wants to? That's easy money.
Four 6-story Apartment buildings are currently under construction at 450 Clarks Pond Parkway near the Maine Mall. Just around the corner from Home Depot. 256 (212 two bedroom and 44 one bedroom) market rate apartments.
 

TC_zoid

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That helps, but not sure I would want to live within walking distance of the Olive Garden and The Tilted Kilt. (One reason why WEX left the area.)
 

JohnAKeith

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Uh ... what?

Who has a link or the document? I mean, c'mon.

Did the original archBoston commenter delete the renderings or did a moderator delete the post(s)?

The developer came to the thread and asked that it be taken down, since the conceptual renderings that were leaked were supposed to be confidential. They are very early in the process for the development and want to better control release of information to the public given the nature of the proposal and typical public reaction to such projects in Portland.
 

Corey

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Lots of interesting stuff happening around the peninsula. I'm also curious how the hotel boom will play out but for what it's worth the rendering of the new one on Congress, next to Tandem, looks great.

The talk about expanding rail service and relocating the Portland Amtrak station is good to hear as well. It seems like a more regional approach would be useful when it comes to things like housing (as well as homelessness) and transportation.

Verdante at Lincoln Park


58 Boyd Street
 

PortlandLifeGuy

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Looks the tower downtown isn't happening based on what I've heard. Also can someone send me that rendering that got taken down?
 

markhb

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Is there a site plan for Covetrus? Are the hotel, etc. going to front on Hancock, which would leave the offices facing Mountfort?
 

Portlander

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Great project but I have always felt that the three residential buildings on Newbury Street look out of place and should have been built as one continuous structure. I do understand the developers efforts to make them blend in more with the north side of the street.
 

Dr. StrangeHat

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Great project but I have always felt that the three residential buildings on Newbury Street look out of place and should have been built as one continuous structure. I do understand the developers efforts to make them blend in more with the north side of the street.
Agreed. The first two buildings look fine contextually with the old Shipyard building behind them, but this third building looks out of place with the larger office building behind it. One continuous structure would have fit better.

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Max

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Not shown in that rendering are the poles and wires that will be strung directly in front of those residential buildings on Newbury Street. The developers asked for a variance to not have to bury the powerlines for this project, and the Planning Board granted it, unfortunately.
 

mainejeff

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Not shown in that rendering are the poles and wires that will be strung directly in front of those residential buildings on Newbury Street. The developers asked for a variance to not have to bury the powerlines for this project, and the Planning Board granted it, unfortunately.
Hard to believe that in this day and age and with the direction that the City of Portland is headed.....that they are still not burying power lines with new developments like this. It screams small time penny pinching provincial Maine!
 

Cosakita18

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Hard to believe that in this day and age and with the direction that the City of Portland is headed.....that they are still not burying power lines with new developments like this. It screams small time penny pinching provincial Maine!
Not only on Newbury st, but Portland Foreside too. New utility poles scaring the harbor view. I'm similarly baffled by the lack of concern for urban design and streetscape visuals in new developments.
 

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