Rock Row (née The Ridge, née Dirigo Plaza) | Westbrook, ME

Cosakita18

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An update on the project from the PPH a few days ago. This flew under the radar a bit because of the election.

The project is now set to include a medical campus with a cancer center, speciality care and diagnostic facilities. The goal is to have a complete medical campus buildout by 2023. More details will be coming about that in a few months.

A total of about 700 residential units are planned before 2023, with 180 of those set to begin construction in spring or summer of next year.

Full PPH article:
 

markhb

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The CIty Council packet for that meeting is available here. (Big PDF warning). It includes the latest Rock Row sizzle presentation; here's what I noted as differences from the current website:

  • 450,000 sq. ft. of retail is now 300,000 sq. ft. restaurant and retail
  • 300,000 sq. ft. loft & Class A office space, and 100,000 sq. ft. Medical office & wellness space. is now 500,000 sq. ft. Medical office and lab space (they specifically mention New England Cancer Specialists and show a Dana Farber logo in one image)
  • The newer presentation calls out 2 hotels on-site as well as 2 daycare centers
  • The concert venue is now specifically folded into the conference center (which aligns with what I was told on a tour last year); the visuals also suggest that they may be able to use the quarry for concerts as well.
  • 750 residential units & 12-screen theater are unchanged
  • Starbucks will be in the end unit of the small building near Main St. (close to where Denny's was); the drive-thru will wrap around the block similarly to their store by the Maine Mall Doubletree. Looking closely at the site map, they've slated Big Fin Poke into that block as well.
  • The presentation lists Market Basket and Paper Store as both opening in Spring 2020, and Starbucks in Fall 2020, followed by Chick-Fil-A and a not-quite-labeled-but-the-backpack-in-the-photo-says-REI tenant both in Spring 2021 (I assume that's the large spot immediately next to Market Basket), and the Cinemark in Spring 2022.
From the presentation:
Rock Row Merch Plan Oct 2020.pngRockRow Aerial Oct 2020.png
 
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Cosakita18

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Fantastic update! Thank you.

Based on the aerial render, it looks like some of the buildings behind Market Basked labeled as retail will also have top-floor residential?
 

markhb

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Fantastic update! Thank you.

Based on the aerial render, it looks like some of the buildings behind Market Basked labeled as retail will also have top-floor residential?
I believe that's the case, yes.
 

TC_zoid

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Although a promised "Chick-Fil-A" means nothing, really, I'm beginning to like this development. The turnpike is currently being expanded to 3/6 lanes headed south, and south is Boston--100 miles away. (Proximity to Boston is key.) And, 5 minutes to the Jetport which keeps growing, and 5 minutes to the train station (Boston). As far as transportation ease by car, plane, train, even boat, not many areas around the U.S. can top this. And, perhaps most important of all now, it's not actually in Portland and subject to it's newly passed rent control laws. For once, with all the grand visions I've seen for the Portland area over the years, this one could come close to the original idea, and maybe a bit beyond.
 

Portlander

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Actually the eastern third of the property is in the city of Portland and Rock Row markets the project as Westbrook-Portland. I do realize that the majority of proposed structures will be built on the Westbrook side of the line but if you're floating around the quarry in a leisure craft you may be in Portland territorial waters.
 

cneal

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For once, with all the grand visions I've seen for the Portland area over the years, this one could come close to the original idea, and maybe a bit beyond.
I'm a bit more skeptical, though I'd love to see them pull it off. It's been over 2 years since their original planning board approval, and so far they've only built a temporary concert venue and a big strip mall with an oversized parking lot.

I think they've got a solid idea by trying to create a new walkable neighborhood that's like downtown Portland but not in downtown Portland. But getting the critical mass is going to be (and apparently has been) a challenge, especially when their vision is so heavy on retail space, which is generally seeing declining demand.
 

Cosakita18

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I'm also pretty doubtful that some aspects of this project will move forward... particularly the massive 12-screen movie theater. Cinemas were a dying business even before COVID, and now it seems downright stupid to build something like that.
 
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mainejeff

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Food, services (gym, medical, hair salon, etc) and select retail (Apple, Tesla, Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, etc) are the way to go for a development like this.
 

markhb

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Although a promised "Chick-Fil-A" means nothing, really
To me it means tasty chicken!

Yesterday they confirmed Big Fin Poke, Firehouse Subs, and that the bank in the corner near Midas will apparently be Chase. (Chase retail banking in Maine?)
 

Portlander

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A Chase Bank branch is currently under construction at 480 Congress Street (@ Center) and should open prior to the new year.
 
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Seanflynn78

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I wish it was a jersey mike's instead of firehouse. Mike's is so much better if we are talking chain sandwiches.
 

Dr. StrangeHat

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I'm a bit more skeptical, though I'd love to see them pull it off. It's been over 2 years since their original planning board approval, and so far they've only built a temporary concert venue and a big strip mall with an oversized parking lot.

I think they've got a solid idea by trying to create a new walkable neighborhood that's like downtown Portland but not in downtown Portland. But getting the critical mass is going to be (and apparently has been) a challenge, especially when their vision is so heavy on retail space, which is generally seeing declining demand.
If you look through Waterstone's portfolio, the overwhelming majority is retail or suburban-style medical office development. This is a big stretch project for them, and if the going gets tough, then they're probably going to go with what they know and what they're comfortable with. I really hope they can pull it off, though. It will be a damn shame if this ends up as an assortment of strip mall buildings.
 

cneal

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^ Absolutely. The flip side of that is that there's very little demand anymore for the suburban strip malls and office parks in Waterstone's portfolio, and they see the writing on the wall.

If I were in their shoes I'd focus on front-loading the project with a lot of new apartments, which are definitely in demand, or hotels, which will likely be in demand again soon – things that could provide some foot traffic for some of the retail they're hoping to build.

Unfortunately, strip malls seem to be their core expertise, not residential development. It looks like they've outsourced the residential buildings to other companies where it's been included in some of their other developments, like their Portsmouth NH project. Based on that site plan sketch above, it looks like that's what they're planning that here, too (the residential building is labelled "Dolben Residential" - which looks like it's a third-party developer/property manager).
 

markhb

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I wish it was a jersey mike's instead of firehouse. Mike's is so much better if we are talking chain sandwiches.
In case you aren't aware, there's now a Jersey Mike's near the Scarborough Wal-Mart (in the outbuilding near Petsmart, Marshall's and Bob's Furniture). Lines out the door at times.
 

Dr. StrangeHat

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In case you aren't aware, there's now a Jersey Mike's near the Scarborough Wal-Mart (in the outbuilding near Petsmart, Marshall's and Bob's Furniture). Lines out the door at times.
Which is also a Waterstone Properties development
 

markhb

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The Starbucks / Big Fin Poke / Firehouse Subs building under construction...
IMAG0640.jpg
 

markhb

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I noticed today that the RockRow website now says "New website coming soon!" Hopefully it's not a material change in the overall plan....
 

PWMFlyer

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With Cinemagic going bankrupt, will AMC or another national company take over the cinemas especially the IMAX. Is Cinemark still coming to Rock Row? or is the cinema going to way of the phonebook? Cinemas in Florida are going strong.
 

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