Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

TC_zoid

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During last night's Planning Board hearing, developers of 385 Congress Street appeared as part of a request for a zoning amendment to the B3 zone to include certain kinds of congregate care facilities. There were no renderings or any real description of the potential development, but it was described as "A large mixed-use development consisting of 3 separate development 'pads,' one of which would be an assisted / senior living congregate care facility."
This building was once the tallest in all of New England--yes, taller than any building in Boston. It's a beautiful example of the art deco style, and historical for Portland. Not sure an old age home with diseased patients is a proper conversion. It was bad enough seeing McAuley high school's beautiful gold leaf rotunda building switched over to senior citizens, but this is perhaps worse. The companies that build and manage these facilities only care about what's cheap, to make more profit. Sure, it's a nice view out the windows to remind of days past, but not an efficient use of space in Portland's office building core.
 

Max

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You may be thinking of 465 or 477 Congress. This would be a new development on the lot that includes the former Portland Press Herald printing building and some surface parking.
 

markhb

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It was bad enough seeing McAuley high school's beautiful gold leaf rotunda building switched over to senior citizens
The building with the gold leaf dome wasn't strictly part of the high school, it was the convent. It was already housing senior citizens :).
 

Portlander

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The Fidelity Building (465 Congress) was the second tallest building in New England when it was completed. The Ames Building (1893) in Boston was the tallest with 13 floors and a height of 188 feet compared to 11 floors and a height of 135 feet for the Fidelity. During the 1911 the expansion of the State Capital in Augusta, the dome was added which rose to 185 feet which technically made it the tallest building in Maine not counting church spires. Franklin Towers is still advertised as Maine's tallest (actual occupied space) with a height of 175 feet and Coles Tower Dormitories in Brunswick comes in at a very close second.
 
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PWMFlyer

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During this covid 19 pandemic, I think to myself that we are lucky that we are still building compared to other states. There is a lot of continued activity among Portland developments. I am seeing a lot of people look to Maine as a safe haven compared to Boston and New York. More will work at home vs in the office. NYC and Boston will suffer office space issues where people want to work from home. Maine is in a good position to position itself to receive these individuals. A lot of construction people are coming from Boston because they cannot find work or their work site is shut down. There is a lot of building activity in the Portland area still going on.
 

Selkie

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Does anyone know why they ripped off all the siding at the 25 Monument condo project in the last two weeks, and are preparing to replace it. Temporally, it coincided with a strong SEaster rain event. Wondering if they had massive leaks necessitating a redo?
 

Max

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The developers of the Mercy Hospital site have started reaching out to neighbors with their preliminary plans for redevelopment. I sat in on the presentation they gave to the West End Neighborhood Association the other night, and I was a bit surprised at just how extensive of a development they're imagining.

They're partnering with a senior housing agency to develop one portion of the site and with CHOM to develop affordable housing on another. They're really looking to maximize use of the property, and I suspect they're going to get some pushback on the density from neighbors. For example they're proposing row housing on Winter Street that would line up with the sidewalk (no set backs) at the maximum height of 45 feet, and there was quite a bit of grumbling on this call about that.

Anyway they emphasized it's all very preliminary at this point but they want to be ready to begin construction in April 2022 when the hospital vacates the premises, and finish construction by the end of 2023.

I tried to grab a couple screenshots from their presentation:

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 6.48.14 PM.png


Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 6.57.59 PM.png
 

Cosakita18

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oh wow! good find.

That is a lot more extensive than I was imagining. I was envisioning a refurbishment of the existing hospital building and maybe a few smaller townhomes, but this looks very ambitious and a good fit for the area. It looks like they plan to remove the entire back half of the existing hospital complex.

Can't wait to see how this evolves.

Capture.PNG
 

Max

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I sat in on a MEREDA webinar this morning on Covid's impacts on developers. Nothing too exciting came out of it but a rep from Reger Dasco mentioned that they're working on a master plan for 385 Congress along with two other developers, so that's sounding like it will be a significant proposal. He also said that they had intended to break ground on Phase II of their Hobson's Landing condos this fall but that's been pushed back until at least next spring or summer.
 

Cosakita18

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Anyone know what's going on with the Temple St garage? It looks like it's undergoing some pretty robust (and much needed) exterior renovations.

IMG_20200721_114120876.jpg
 

Portlander

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Due to issues with mortar and brick erosion similar to the Gateway Garage which is adjacent to the Westin, the facade is getting a complete facelift. After reviewing some of the design options several months ago, I think the city selected the best one and the garage will have a pleasant contemporary look and will blend in well with the surrounding buildings. The pandemic hit before I could acquire any renderings. The city owned garage on Spring Street will also be getting some modest exterior improvements with new signage in the future also.
 

cneal

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With repeated exposure to the elements and salt from cars, these garages have required major, expensive maintenance work nearly every year for the past decade.

The fundamental rule of building maintenance – keeping out the water – isn't allowed in a parking garage, because if you did, your customers would asphyxiate from carbon monoxide poisoning.

I've gotta wonder whether the city wouldn't be better off selling them off for redevelopment and collecting property taxes instead of parking fees from structures that are clearly near the ends of their useful lives.
 

Portlander

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As far as selling them off it has been discussed in the past. Interior renovations at the Spring Street garage were completed recently and both properties should be structurally sound for a few more decades. The city did turn over the management responsibilities of the Temple Street garage to a private company several years ago but still maintains the Spring and Elm Street facilities with city employees. With limited parking on the peninsula, they are revenue producers and usually have long waiting lists for monthly parking which is probably why the city is holding on to them. I'm guessing that profits have exceeded maintenance costs over the past 40 plus years for the two older garages and Elm Street isn't too far behind.
 
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PWMFlyer

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Does anyone have an update to the following projects: New Sunlife office building waterfront-waiting till covid is over? I thought the lease in South Portland was up in the next year or two.
Portland Square, I thought construction was going to start in the 3rd quarter.
 

cneal

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Good questions! I just checked the city's building permit site:

... and didn't see any applications for those two projects.

I did, however, find a surprise: someone's pulled a permit application for 75 Chestnut Street, now being developed by Procopio Co., a Massachusetts developer. New rendering here:
 

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