Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

PWMFlyer

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Portland Foreside will have underground utilities, because the site has been neglected for years and originally designed for above ground utilities since the 1800's they had to circumvent the utilities to the outside of the property while renovating the site. The buildings and the site will be an attraction after all is done.
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Dr. StrangeHat

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But what are they going to do with the existing above-ground utilities along Fore Street? Are those going underground too, or just everything on site?

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TC_zoid

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Jeez... those power lines are smack dab in the middle of the view line to the harbor. But I don't think most Mainers care about aesthetics, being the fashion trend is focused only on the pragmatic end, still wearing decades old LL Bean wear and boots. And wow, that Sun Life building will top the WEX rooftop entertainment space (higher). An insurance company will have the best bar space in Portland. Who likes buying insurance? It's like going to the dentist. You have to do it. But if they can serve you a drink up there after the paperwork, then maybe not so bad.
 
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Max

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Further, the Portland Foreside developers have actually added about 10 telephone poles and strung wires overhead to bring power from Fore Street down to the new marina. As best I can tell the poles and wires are not included on any rendering of the proposed development of this site. It could be that they're planning to bury the lines eventually, but in the short term between the poles, lines and new opaque fencing, they have significantly diminished the public viewshed down along the trail.
 

PWMFlyer

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TD Bank is going to close its 481 Congress street branch Jan 2020. Tenants have also been asked to vacate the property as well. We should start to see plans to gut 477 Congress st and turn it into ??Condos? High end apartments? Hotel? The parking garage is beyond fixable..this project will be a multi million dollar amount...
 

Cosakita18

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TD Bank is going to close its 481 Congress street branch Jan 2020. Tenants have also been asked to vacate the property as well. We should start to see plans to gut 477 Congress st and turn it into ??Condos? High end apartments? Hotel? The parking garage is beyond fixable..this project will be a multi million dollar amount...
last I heard it was a mix of condo and hotel with potentially a small amount of office or retail

Basically next door, 465 Congress (The People's United Bank building) is set to be renovated into boutique / flexible office space, with potential for residential and retail mixed in.
 
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Portlander

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Maine's first two "skyscrapers" gave Portland a cosmopolitan look and feel and are in need of some TLC and will hopefully gain another 50 years of life after the renovations. Numerous buildings from the early 1900's are being transformed around the country into mixed use hospitality, condos and apartments with upscale amenities. Who would have thought that Boston's landmark Custom House tower would eventually become a Marriott years ago? These classic buildings tend to be very expensive to turn into class A office space due to the traditionally small footprints and low ceiling heights that are counter to the going trend for large open floor plans, ample glass and enclosed parking. I just hope the developer of 477 Congress puts money and effort into the exterior which needs extensive work, 465 is in much better shape even though it's 14 years older.

With TD Bank's departure from 481, that will leave People's United Bank as the only bank on the downtown stretch of Congress Street and they may be closing after their lease runs out. During it's last period of commercial prominence every bank was represented on Congress Street with some utilizing multiple branches in addition to also having two McDonald's, a Wendy's and a Burger King!
 
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Cosakita18

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Maine's first two "skyscrapers" gave Portland a cosmopolitan look and feel and are in need of some TLC and will hopefully gain another 50 years of life after the renovations. Numerous buildings from the early 1900's are being transformed around the country into mixed use hospitality, condos and apartments with upscale amenities. Who would have thought that Boston's landmark Custom House tower would eventually become a Marriott years ago? These classic buildings tend to be very expensive to turn into class A office space due to the traditionally small footprints and low ceiling heights that are counter to the going trend for large open floor plans, ample glass and enclosed parking. I just hope the developer of 477 Congress puts money and effort into the exterior which needs extensive work, 465 is in much better shape even though it's 14 years older.

With TD Bank's departure from 481, that will leave People's United Bank as the only bank on the downtown stretch of Congress Street and they may be closing after their lease runs out. During it's last period of commercial prominence every bank was represented on Congress Street with some utilizing multiple branches in addition to also having two McDonald's, a Wendy's and a Burger King!
If I'm not mistaken, the plan for 465 Congress is to basically make it "boutique" historic offices

From a PPH article about the building:

The owners envision offices that mix clean modern design and the building’s historic character, said Nate Stevens, a broker with The Boulos Co. in Portland. Stevens and Jon Rizzo from Boulos are leasing agents for the property.
High-end offices in Portland are at a premium, with almost no vacancy for any Class A office space, Stevens said. The idea is to create something that is still high-end, but unique and at a little lower price than nearby offices.
Full article: https://www.pressherald.com/2019/06/20/new-owners-have-high-end-plans-for-landmark-building-in-downtown-portland/
 
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Portlander

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That is the early plan for 465 Congress and I hope it does remain office use. I was just commenting on the cost and difficulty involved when it comes to transforming these classic buildings into class A space. The sentence stating "unique and at a little lower price than nearby offices" makes me curious as to what their renovation budget may end up being. I had contact with the new ownership group a few months ago and was told that the renovations would not include anything new or over the top which is fine as long as they improve the building's overall condition and appearance.
 

Max

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The general plan for 477 Congress, as I've heard from one of the departing tenants, is that the developers are looking to return the ground floor area to its original open arcade-style layout for retail, with hotel and condos above.
 

TC_zoid

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The general plan for 477 Congress, as I've heard from one of the departing tenants, is that the developers are looking to return the ground floor area to its original open arcade-style layout for retail, with hotel and condos above.
That is a very cool proposal. I love historic buildings that have been renovated to hotels. I remember the old arcade and its cheap outdoor/indoor made green carpeting -- please no more of that though. And the rooftop of 477 would fit for a rooftop bar, with the access floor already ready under the sign. I stayed at the Statler Hotel in Dallas last month, and their rooftop bar has their giant sign (lit at night) at the same height as the rooftop, so seeing that gives a cool feel and effect when sipping drinks looking out at the city. The temperature sign would do the same, but probably would have to be defused with a partition because of the constant flashing.
 

Portlander

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The time and temperature sign is on it's last leg and I would imagine a first class renovation to the structure would include a new state of the art LED display with allowance for more digits/letters. A rooftop bar would be a great feature though competing with the Westin and the new Canopy Hotel may make it a tough sell. As I mentioned earlier, I'd add a full 15th floor to the roof and turn it into Portland's most expensive and prestigious penthouse!
 

markhb

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The time and temperature sign is on it's last leg and I would imagine a first class renovation to the structure would include a new state of the art LED display with allowance for more digits/letters. A rooftop bar would be a great feature though competing with the Westin and the new Canopy Hotel may make it a tough sell. As I mentioned earlier, I'd add a full 15th floor to the roof and turn it into Portland's most expensive and prestigious penthouse!
I wonder if more characters, etc. would run afoul of the provision in Maine law that allowed the current T&T sign to be upgraded in the 90's from the old, hardcoded THE/BANK.

We can talk about housing, etc., but I regret that downtown Portland, and Monument Square in particular, seems to have shifted so far from the financial/legal/"people who wear ties to work" sectors when it was formerly Maine's hub for those.
 

Portlander

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^ Agree. The commercial center has definitely shifted towards the Lobsterman Plaza and beyond, However, the Westin, Portland Museum of Art, Longfellow House, 511, One and Two Monument Square, Portland Public Library and City Hall will help keep Congress Street afloat until renovations are completed on 477, 465 and 50 Monument Square. The influx of new residents and hotel guests will help add some new vitality in the future which will hopefully bring new retail, dining and financial ventures. There is an amazing amount of viable business options from Longfellow Square all the way down to the end of Thames Street. Portland is blessed with a plethora of "main" streets for a city of nearly 70,000 when you consider Congress, Exchange, Middle, Fore, Commercial, Temple/Union and even Free and Federal to a lesser extent. Many cities larger than Portland across the country struggle to maintain activity on just one or two primary downtown streets.
 

Cosakita18

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I noticed that the Covetrus HQ site has been relatively dormant for a couple of weeks now. I hope that the corporate drama plaguing the company isn't going to derail construction.
 

PortlandLifeGuy

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I noticed that the Covetrus HQ site has been relatively dormant for a couple of weeks now. I hope that the corporate drama plaguing the company isn't going to derail construction.

Me too. Think about how fast 100 Fore is going up in comparison. I live near the site and trust me they've been moving at an ants pace for months. I am also hoping it doesn't get derailed by the financial issues.
 

Portlander

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I was at the site last week and the Cambria Hotel portion was very active. It might be dormant on the Covetrus side because it was several weeks ahead of the hotel construction and it looks like both buildings are partially connected from the renderings. We'll know more in the near future once the structural steel starts going up. If Covetrus was leasing the new headquarters my guess is that the developer would still move forward with the office project regardless of their new tenant's legal issues. Due to the magnitude of the building, if there were negative news I think the local media would have already been notified.
 
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Cosakita18

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Me too. Think about how fast 100 Fore is going up in comparison. I live near the site and trust me they've been moving at an ants pace for months. I am also hoping it doesn't get derailed by the financial issues.

I live in the India St. neighborhood as well. It's amazing how fast 100 Fore has gone up. They've started installing the glass facade and so far it looks very nice. The building is also more prominent on the neighborhood skyline than I thought it would be, which is a good thing.
 

Cosakita18

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Maine Narrowgage Railroad is proposing a new station building right next to the ocean gateway terminal. Quite tacky and out of place looking if you ask me, but I suppose it's better than a temporary trailer that's there now

 

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