Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

PWMFlyer

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Posted on: October 28, 2020New Development Review Project - 144 State Street
To residents and property owners: NewHeight Redfern, LLC has submitted a Level III Site Plan and Subdivision application to facilitate a 195,942 square foot mixed use redevelopment project at 120 and 148 State Street. The proposed development would renovate the existing Mercy Hospital and Morrison House buildings to include a total of 175 dwelling units, along with medical clinic, self-storage, and commercial uses. The subject property is 2.34 acres in size and is zoned R-6 Residential. A related zoning map and text amendment application has been submitted for this project under application ZN-001163-2020.
In accordance with the Portland Land Use Ordinance, notices of receipt of a Level III Site Plan application must be sent to property owners within 500 ft. of the subject property (or 1,000 ft. if the project is a subdivision or map amendment for a site located within an Industrial Zone). You will be notified of future Planning Board meetings by receiving notices from the Planning Division prior to any workshops or public hearings. A project and plan summary is available for viewing on the Citizen Self Service Portal (https://css.portlandmaine.gov/), by referencing Plan Number PL-001259-2020. Written comments should be submitted to planningboard@portlandmaine.gov. If you have any questions regarding the proposal, please contact Caitlin Cameron, Urban Designer, by phone at 207-874-8901 or e-mail at ccameron@portlandmaine.gov.
 

Cosakita18

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Our skyline will change a bit today. The International Marine Terminal is receiving a third harbor crane imported from Germany. It's identical to the crane they bought about 2 years ago and stands at about 160 ft tall.
 

George_Apley

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Our skyline will change a bit today. The International Marine Terminal is receiving a third harbor crane imported from Germany. It's identical to the crane they bought about 2 years ago and stands at about 160 ft tall.
Cool! Consequence of this news from October?

 

Corey

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Our skyline will change a bit today. The International Marine Terminal is receiving a third harbor crane imported from Germany. It's identical to the crane they bought about 2 years ago and stands at about 160 ft tall.
Nice! I can see the Eimskip ship from my kitchen and thought I saw a shiny new crane on board as it docked this morning. Seems like their business has remained busy this past year.
 

Max

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Walking up Spring Street yesterday I noticed a crew from Summit Geoengineering was set up in the dirt lot next to Brian Boru, between Center and Cotton Streets. Looked like they were doing some exploratory boring. I wonder if the owners of this parcel are considering their options for development.

In the meantime I'm guessing plans for the continued development of Portland Square are on hold due to the pandemic. Their most recent proposal included a lot of office space and I imagine they're reconsidering.
 

Cosakita18

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A recent BDN article covering the rising COVID-related commercial vacancy rates in Portland.


From the article:
Downtown Portland saw the largest office vacancy rate increase, more than doubling to 11.77 percent over the last 12 months. The pandemic also dampened new construction, and a couple new construction projects that were in lease negotiations were stalled in 2020, Nate Stevens, a Boulos broker and partner, said. Most of the suburban areas saw fewer vacancies.

“It could be 12-24 months before any new leases are signed to spur significant ground-up development, depending on how the market rebounds from the sharp increase in vacancy rates,” Stevens said.
I assume that the Portland Square project is one of the commercial projects affected. Hopefully the delay doesn't become a cancelation.
 

Portlander

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It's a safe bet that every city in the country is experiencing COVID related commercial vacancy issues and I feel that Portland will bounce back just fine once the dust settles. The current renovation of 465 Congress Street and the exodus of tenants in the Time & Temperature Building due to it's future makeover are factors (24 total floors of Class B) in downtown Portland's vacancy rate. The necessity for social interaction will hopefully overtake the current work from home concept even though the demand for traditional office space as we've known it will be transformed. As far as Portland Square, I think it will eventually move forward because of it's prime location, potential tenants for three floors and it's the only major office project on the horizon. The smaller Fore Street proposal next to the AC Hotel would probably not break ground until the India Street building is completed and I'm not sure how much space has been leased.
 
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Max

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It looks like the Washington Ave condo project near the 295-on ramp is being revived. I've noticed some clearing going on over there and wondered what they were up to. Now I see units being marketed, I assume to gauge if there's enough interest to actually build. I don't know what the permit status of this project is, I thought it had been abandoned awhile ago.


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Tom Nevers

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Another Portland project that would look better if it were rotated 90 degrees.
 

TC_zoid

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Another Portland project that would look better if it were rotated 90 degrees.
Great views from the back units. I wouldn't pay diddly squat for the other side, which is looking at a hill. And please, someone walk over to that leaning green garage "structure" next door and give it a gentle push, so that it can collapse itself down the hill and spare us having to look at it anymore (but make sure all is clear down below).
 

Tom Nevers

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Great views from the back units. I wouldn't pay diddly squat for the other side, which is looking at a hill. And please, someone walk over to that leaning green garage "structure" next door and give it a gentle push, so that it can collapse itself down the hill and spare us having to look at it anymore (but make sure all is clear down below).
Yep, those will be some great views. I could have been more clear. This project would be better if it were rotated 90 degrees so that it is taller than it is long. Obviously, this is not possible with the current limitations placed on height.
Anyway, great to see new housing.
 

TC_zoid

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Yep, those will be some great views. I could have been more clear. This project would be better if it were rotated 90 degrees so that it is taller than it is long. Obviously, this is not possible with the current limitations placed on height.
Anyway, great to see new housing.
I've been in an adjoining structure, up on the 3rd floor, and I think this view is one of the best in Portland. The entire skyline, Bayside, 295 (the lights from the cars at night), USM, and Back Cove is ideally in view. Not to mention, the sunsets are beyond fantastic. These units will all be scooped up. The location also has easy access to 295, and is a short walk to the vibes on Washington Street and Anderson Street. As long as the interior construction and offerings aren't too bad, $445K is a bargain (with the view, of course).
 
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nomc

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Glad to see they are planning on 1 parking spot per unit because there aren't many close street spots. Hard to tell from the available renderings, but I assume they would be under the building since they mention them being covered. Pretty steep grade - I wonder how many spots they have to try to fit in.
 

markhb

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I've been in an adjoining structure, up on the 3rd floor, and I think this view is one of the best in Portland. The entire skyline, Bayside, 295 (the lights from the cars at night), USM, and Back Cove is ideally in view. Not to mention, the sunsets are beyond fantastic.
There's a reason Channel 13 reporters do so many stand-ups from CB Circle (or the lawn by East End School).
 

Max

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Looks like another bill is being floated in support of a convention center in Portland. My sense is there's not a well-organized enough stakeholder group supporting this for it to go anywhere. It's also hard to imagine many folks north of Brunswick supporting a bond measure to fund a convention center in southern Maine.

 

Cosakita18

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Looks like another bill is being floated in support of a convention center in Portland. My sense is there's not a well-organized enough stakeholder group supporting this for it to go anywhere. It's also hard to imagine many folks north of Brunswick supporting a bond measure to fund a convention center in southern Maine.

I get a feeling that this is going nowhere fast. Really the only parcel on the peninsula that would be halfway suitable for a convention center would be the Top of the Old Port parking lot, and that would still make a fairly small footprint as far as convention centers go. I personally much prefer Rock Row as a convention site.
 

markhb

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... and Rock Row is already planning a convention center that will also comprise the relocated concert venue (with a roof to make it more like Meadowbrook), on their own dime. The downside is that the convention promotions will inevitably picture the joys of downtown, only for the attendees to find themselves at a reclaimed gravel pit.

One of the issues the Civic Center has is a lack of concert tours that want to play 8000 seats indoors. It seems like they either want NBA/NHL-sized seating, or they'll take less if it's an outdoor space. Long gone are the days when J. Geils would play Portland every New Years Eve, or the likes of Queen or Aerosmith would come here.
 

Portlander

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Cosakita, though I respect your preference the most suitable location for a convention center would be in the downtown area. Visitors to Portland flock to the peninsula to enjoy the urban fabric which includes retail, restaurants, architecture, history, museums, galleries and brew pubs. The Old Port and waterfront are major tourist draws and downtown has the lodging assets to handle convention needs with 14 hotels totaling over 2000 rooms. Rock Row will never be able to replicate what downtown has to offer and travel agents across the country will not be touting the complex as the reason to visit the Portland area. In my opinion, Rock Row will compliment the region in a positive way similar to LL Bean, Maine Mall, Thompson's Point, Portland Headlight and Old Orchard Beach. Now I could see a convention center potentially working across the harbor in South Portland (Liberty ship property) similar to what Savannah, GA has successfully pulled off. It would offer amazing views of the Portland skyline and require regular ferry service to the downtown waterfront. Limited infrastructure on the South Portland side and Maine winters could impact it's chances of becoming a reality.
 
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Cosakita18

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I agree downtown is a far more preferable location. The issue is simply a lack of available square footage on the peninsula. It would be difficult to practically develop anything larger than a 4-6k person venue on any of the lots downtown. It's not impossible though. The convention centers in places like Syracuse, NY, Green Bay WI and Kennewick, WA seem like good precedent for would could be built on the peninsula. But we'll never have a Boston-style megavenue.

The bug light area may technically have the space, but accessibility would absolutely be a problem on that site, even with a frequent cross-harbor shuttle.
 
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cneal

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The premise that Portland "needs" a convention center is pretty similar to the premise that Portland "needs" a hockey arena. The city can obviously thrive without one - so why should a poor state government spend millions of dollars to force it to happen?
 

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