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

markhb

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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.
I don't believe Zyacorp (the NH corporate parent of Cinemagic) is going bankrupt; they just closed down the movie business. I'd love to see Regal or someone come in and take their theaters over; the buildings are mostly in good shape AFAIK.
 

Dr. StrangeHat

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There's a new business item on the Planning Board agenda for next Tuesday for a proposed amendment to the Gateway Commercial District zone. The proposal is to clarify the definition of Medical Office, create and define a new use ‘Medical/Diagnostic Center’ and add the uses Hospital and Medical/Diagnostic Center as permitted uses in the zone. If they present any renderings, I'll grab some screen shots.
 

nomc

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In the MaineBiz article they refer to the medical portion as "the six-acre medical and research campus" so I would think 'research' would also have to be folded into the new definition?
 

markhb

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Assuming all goes as planned, I'm sure it'll be quite an upgrade for staff and patients over being in the former Scarborough K-Mart. (Disclaimer: my mom was one of their patients, and while her outcome was... not survival, Dr. Battelli was awesome.)
 

markhb

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So, there may be a site plan update! There is a bill (LD 969) before the Legislature to fund, among other things, a convention center in Portland. This page has the testimony from Tuesday's public hearing, and in particular this, submitted by the Economic Development Director of Westbrook in support of his testimony (in a separate document), has what appears to be the latest concept for Rock Row Phase 2! Other than the food hall, though, it looks like some of the offering has been scaled back a bit.

1619645638338.png
 

mainejeff

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Pretty interesting stuff. Not sure I agree with the placement of Dana Farber on the loud end of the concert facility though.....hmmm.
 

TC_zoid

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A convention center here is a mistake. There are no walkable hotels or dining options. The Fireside Inn & Suites and Chick-fil-A do not qualify. It would be a contrasting joke with Boston's convention center, with it's anchor hotels The Westin and the new Omni. Laughable. But not with an extension facility of the present CIA, because the hotel and dining options in and around the Old Port are worthy of any participant's needs. CIA is already a convention center facility core, and what is needed is more exhibition space which can be built over Spring Street. And a better lighting configuration at CIA (more intimate and warmer) would make for a much better feel and experience. There is nothing wrong with this facility. It simply needs a little creativity to improve a few things. The location is fantastic.
 

mainejeff

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The concert/convention facility is the weak link in this development. A concert space like that belongs at Beech Ridge Speedway.....not in the middle of a planned dense retail/office/residential development like this.
 

TC_zoid

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Here's another important reason why downtown is best for a convention center (and sports arena), and one few think about. Pre-Covid, of course, sometimes I would look at the Twitter and IG pages of some of the entertainers. Cirque, Ice Capades, etc., any company of performers that would come in for a few days LOVED the CIA location. The reason is that, between shows they can go back to their hotel or down the street for some of Portland's foodie options. Entertainers and conventioneers LOVE Portland. It's like a mini vacation for them during down time. The Old Port and surrounding area (waterfront) is probably in the top 5 places in the country to hang for lodging, food, and drink.
 

Portlander

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Flight crews from the many airlines that serve PWM also utilize downtown hotels for their layovers. Portland is one of the favorite domestic cities when it comes to bidding trips and airline employees are very savvy when it comes to choosing a vibrant city over a marginal one to spend their free time.
 

markhb

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There are still 1 or 2 hotels planned onsite at Rock Row; they weren't called out in that plan but I believe the building with the rooftop pool might be one.

If you look at the PDF itself, there's a timeline for the development. I'm concerned that the Cinemark doesn't appear on it as that's an element I'll use most heavily.
 

Cosakita18

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There are still 1 or 2 hotels planned onsite at Rock Row; they weren't called out in that plan but I believe the building with the rooftop pool might be one.

If you look at the PDF itself, there's a timeline for the development. I'm concerned that the Cinemark doesn't appear on it as that's an element I'll use most heavily.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Cinemark has been scrapped. Movie theaters were on the way out even before Covid.

It seems like overall there pivoting more towards an “innovation district” concept. maybe they're trying to capture some overflow from Boston's tech and bioscience economy.

I’m seeing a couple different coworking spaces and the UNE Student housing is a new development as well
 

TC_zoid

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This development company can dream all they want with their massive mining pit eyesore (de facto), but the real action, or innovation, for Portland is the East End waterfront. Roux Institute, WEX, Covetrus, Tilson, Sun Life, the new food plaza (begun), upscale condos (planned), a hotel (planned), and a large high tech designed marina for your boat (or yacht). It's also steps away from the ferry to Peaks. I was there last weekend, and biked around the island with friends (electric bikes--love these things). Somehow, over the winter, more than a dozen sustainable/high tech design-pleasing homes were built at various points around the island. Peaks is going to be a huge focus in the coming years with new replacement housing to situate at some of the most gorgeous scenery in Maine.
 

mainejeff

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There's room for both.....in fact, if the Greater Portland area is to grow and continue to be vibrant.....it can't all be on the peninsula. I think that Rock Row has been a bit all over the place.....but have adjusted as new companies and organizations come forward with interest in building their businesses and facilities there. They need to move away from the concerts and movie theaters.....and more toward the tech/medical/residential and food/services that support all of those.
 

Dr. StrangeHat

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I don't see any reason why a convention center at Rock Row and one downtown couldn't co-exist. One at Rock Row would likely cater to a more niche type of convention (e.g. comic-con type conventions, NACA (National Association of Campus Activities) type conventions, dance competitions, gaming conventions, etc.). The proposed addition of hotels on site (as well as a few rumored off-site on nearby properties) and the on-site amenities they are proposing at Rock Row (i.e. food/beer hall, pedestrian malls, etc.) would make it an attractive option for regional and national events where most of the people are coming to the convention or competition for the convention or competition itself, not for the supplemental available entertainment and recreational options outside of the convention or competition.

A downtown convention center would cater to more professional and industry trade conventions.
 

markhb

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RockRow.com has been updated along with the official announcement that REI is coming (presumably, as planned, in the spot alongside Market Basket). The latest version of the site plan (same as from earlier except with slightly different labels):
Updated-Overlay-Slide.jpg

They also are coming before the June 1 meeting of the Planning Board to delete Building 1-H from the plan and replace it with a pedestrian walkway; I am guessing that's the one that was slotted between the Paper Store and the pit (the "weird skinny retain building" in my post on Page 1 of this thread). When they built those spots on the east side of Market Basket it didn't seem to me that there was much room for that extra building.
 

markhb

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There is space for rent next to market basket
Do you mean the small spots next to The Paper Store, or the big space on the Larrabee Road side? The latter is where REI is probably going (they were leaked as part of Phase 1 some time ago).
 

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