Roux Institute Campus Development | Portland

Cosakita18

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Figured it was time for the Roux Institute to get its own thread...since there will be lots happening over the next few years

From Last night's city Economic Development Committee meeting:

The Roux Institute will be leasing 26,000 sq. ft of space at 100 Fore St. in partnership with WEX. This temporary space will last until their permanent 75,000 sq. ft campus opens in 2023-2024. During the meeting, the team from Northeastern said that they wanted the permanent campus t "immediately on the peninsula, ideally right downtown or near corporate partners in the East End" and that they were in the process of site identification. The plan as of now is to have a site selected and an approved plan in place by Q3 of 2021.

It was made clear that regardless of location, the new campus will be built to be expanded up to 120,000 sq ft. at a later date. The facility will host classroom, administrative, lab and conference space, it will also host R&D space for corporate partners.

 
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Cosakita18

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Big News: The Roux Institute plans to convert the B&M Bean Factory Site into a signature Portland Campus:

A nonprofit representing the Roux Institute at Northeastern University is buying the waterfront site of the iconic factory and plans to build a public-private complex with classrooms, research space, offices, housing, shops, restaurants, a hotel and public parkland.....

Initial construction plans includes up to 350,000 square feet of office, classroom and laboratory space, parking and a possible hotel. The B&M factory would be renovated and converted into incubator space for business startups.
More from the PPH Article:




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markhb

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I'm sure the beans and brown bread (if they even continue to make brown bread) won't be as good coming from Random Midwestern Factory. You know they'll be "brick oven style" just like Cain's mayo has replaced "All Natural" on the label with "Based on our Original Recipe".
 

Portlander

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Though I would have preferred a downtown location, this is impressive and I'm very pleased the Roux Institute chose Portland. Talk about bookends on either end of the 295 corridor though the city with the Maine Med cluster to the south and this to the north! And let's not forget about USM's build up to the west of the interstate.
 

Tom Nevers

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This is great news for Portland and will be fun to watch develop over the next several years. The renderings will likely change a dozen times prior to anything being built. Hopefully we will get some great looking structures. I'm also very curious about the public space, specifically the route of the proposed bike trail.
 

nomc

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Wow, this is great news and very exciting. Fingers crossed the buildings are actually fitting of a tech and innovation campus.
 

PWMFlyer

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It will be interesting what comes from the neighborhood outcry from traffic, height, etc. I am expecting NIMBYism extreme. They were very much against the marina expansion. Sherwood Street and the corner of Veranda will have to get a light installed, The state will now discontinue the rail line and turn it into a trail... It will be interesting when this all plays out...time to stock up on brown bread and beans...
 

markhb

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It is depressing to me that all the potentially rail-served industrial space on Presumpscot St. can't be more effectively used as... rail-served industrial space. For whatever reason, those warehouses had moved away from those uses well before CMQ stopped serving B&M.
 

mainejeff

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I hope that they can pay homage to B&M and the factory. Maybe they can have a small outdoor public space using brick from the smoke stack with a plaque marking the site.
 

TC_zoid

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We don't miss the Jordan Meats factory that the Hampton Inn sits on, so why this? Just because we drive past it so often? It's a disconnect with a visionary new technology centered school.
 

mainejeff

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We don't miss the Jordan Meats factory that the Hampton Inn sits on, so why this? Just because we drive past it so often? It's a disconnect with a visionary new technology centered school.
150 years in the city.....it's an iconic site seen by literally millions of people over the years. Your Star Trek future is all well & good.....but stop trying to deny people their humanity which means a certain attachment to memories, experiences and yes, manmade "things" such as buildings. No biggee or skin off my teeth either way......it's the way of the world to flush history down the toilet.....have at it.
 

DanielPWM19

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We don't miss the Jordan Meats factory that the Hampton Inn sits on, so why this? Just because we drive past it so often? It's a disconnect with a visionary new technology centered school.
Agreed - I used to walk by Jordan's regularly when I worked downtown and walked around toward the old Italian restaurant on Middle Street across from where Benkay is now. I'd love to see more rail service in Maine to Quebec, Lewiston, Bangor, Augusta etc. I'd even love to see a commuter rail, but Rock Row may be the answer to some of that. It would have been nice to have the Roux Institute downtown (Midtown?), but this seems like a great anchor spot. The "Save the Soul of Portland" NIMBY's who balked at the Marina and Foreside were so misguided anyhow. One member (who will remain nameless) didn't want her precious views blocked ... not that she cared about the views they blocked when they built their big house with an elevator. Same with several of the NIMBY's who were against Midtown and a low-income housing project on Munjoy. Most of those people weren't even full time Portland residents. They just didn't want "those people" in their neighborhood. Standing in the way of progress for selfish and misguided reasons (all in the name of "preservation") has been a thorn in Portland's side.
 

Dr. StrangeHat

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Sad to see B&M close, but it was inevitable. I agree that the NIMBYs are going to lose their @#$%ing minds over this.

I do see the potential for a lot of pedestrian access. Based on the renderings, it does appear they'll connect to Back Cove Trail, likely via a new connection under Tukey's Bridge (similar to how it connects on the other side of the bridge). I'd love if this was finally the catalyst to do something with the old rail bridge, like turn it into a foot bridge, further connecting the property to pedestrian and bike traffic.
 

TC_zoid

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I wonder if the "I'll miss the memories" citizens will feel the same way about the SoPo tank farms when those are eventually removed. And, the oil tankers sitting in the harbor (especially the two berths next to Bug Light) spewing their engine fumes 24/7, and leaking oil into the harbor. This building has zero architectural and little historical value. It's not the Abyssinian House or Union Station, of which some of these same citizens had or have been indifferent to. Memories only exist in one's mind. Roux is a REAL thing that will provide advanced education and jobs for the future so that Maine can gain an advantage. But yes, I do agree that a small part of the factory should remain with a tribute museum. It's interesting, making beans, but not important within the bigger picture.
 
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mainejeff

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Wow…from saving a few baked bean bricks and a plaque….to SoPo tank farms and oil spills….it’s like playing 6 degrees of separation!
 

Redfern

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Dying! And was shocked! Didn't realize this site was in play! Dreamt about re-imagining this location for YEARS!! So happy for Roux Institute. ~ C
 

markhb

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I wonder if the "I'll miss the memories" citizens will feel the same way about the SoPo tank farms when those are eventually removed. And, the oil tankers sitting in the harbor (especially the two berths next to Bug Light) spewing their engine fumes 24/7, and leaking oil into the harbor. This building has zero architectural and little historical value. It's not the Abyssinian House or Union Station, of which some of these same citizens had or have been indifferent to. Memories only exist in one's mind. Roux is a REAL thing that will provide advanced education and jobs for the future so that Maine can gain an advantage. But yes, I do agree that a small part of the factory should remain with a tribute museum. It's interesting, making beans, but not important within the bigger picture.
I mourn the loss of all industrial production capacity. I also mourn the loss of a business that has made Portland both its home and a part of its national brand for 150 years. And yes, on a personal level, I just know that those folks in the Midwest are going to screw up the beans themselves. The building itself is far less relevant to me (although the sketches seem to indicate that Roux wants to preserve and reuse it); it lost much of its charm IMHO when the former large neon sign was replaced.

So far as pedestrian access to the site goes, before the 1987 redesign of Tukey's Bridge there was a pedestrian walkway over the bridge connecting the Boulevard trail to the eastern side; I wonder if one could be built now, but I don't know if it could be made wheelchair accessible.
 

TC_zoid

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And so the NIMBY backlash begins...

Pulled from this letter to the editor: The five bulky stories of the old B&M plant are positively swallowed up by the mass and height of those shining glass monoliths, and any sense of the coastal location completely obscured.

This building has negligible architectural and historical value. It should be demolished. I was in the mid-west for work last month, and city after depressing city featured old abandoned factory buildings like this one. Glass is a beautiful architectural material, and placed alongside something old and worthy (e.g., the Hancock Tower next to Trinity Church in Boston, or the Portland Harbor Hotel addition), can be mutually flattering. This opinionator should study architecture before commenting on it. And this proposal will block its coastal location? What, the view from Interstate 295? Maine has 30,862 miles of virtual forest and now we get 3-4 square miles of a dynamic urban area and people have a problem with it? Simply drive 5 minutes northward and you will see your unspoiled trees and coastline. Portland is now a city of the future, and a city for today's young to have opportunities. Do we, if you were around, miss the old Portland with its vacant downtown and dilapidated buildings, it's "toughs" roaming the Old Port looking for fights and muggings, and the place tourists, etc., drove past? A friend of mine toured Roux and sent me pictures. They have done a brilliant job of designing the interior for today's tech opportunities. It's exciting, and nothing like what I've seen in Maine. It has also created a social setting that makes you want to study there. I can only imagine great, great things with the new campus. The hand-held computer, the smart phone, has been around for a mere 15 years. In another 15 years, this new educational center will put Portland--and Maine--at the forefront of technology innovation. This school represents the future, and ignoring that by older Mainers for opportunities of today's youth is nothing but selfishness. Stop living in the past. It doesn't exist.
 
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