Roux Institute Campus Development | Portland

NR2Portland

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Really unfortunate how a few grumpy neighbors can limit the growth of something so important for Portland and the entire state. A building being 40 feet shorter will not change anyones life in any way lol.
 

Portlander

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It wouldn't surprise me if this downsized proposal is what the Roux Institute was really aiming for from the beginning. A little initial sticker shock for the surrounding neighborhood and now a reduced price which gives the locals a sense of victory. It will still be an impressive development as depicted and 170' is still around the same height as the Time & Temperature Building's flashing sign.
 

Dr. StrangeHat

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I have to wonder if they intentionally shot high knowing there would be NIMBY backlash, and this "compromise" is actually closer to what they originally envisioned...
 

Dr. StrangeHat

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It wouldn't surprise me if this downsized proposal is what the Roux Institute was really aiming for from the beginning. A little initial sticker shock for the surrounding neighborhood and now a reduced price which gives the locals the sense of a victory. It will still be an impressive development as depicted and 170' is still around the same height as the Time & Temperature Building's flashing sign.
Jinx :D
 

Portlander

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Dr. Strangehat, we are normally always on the same page when it comes to this Portland development stuff!
 

TC_zoid

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I think it's more about the final price for them. The original plan with the financial aid to students would certainly total more than the initial gift of $100 million. And they can still keep a presence on the peninsula if more space is needed. Why would they want to leave the dynamic East End waterfront if they didn't have to? It's the happening place in Portland now. It's good for recruiting. That's why WEX moved to this area. It's basically the same view and location as the mega yachts nearby. You can almost see the whites of the eyes of the champagne drinking billionaires.
 

cneal

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Massing diagram screenshots from their most recent neighborhood meeting.

The "near-term" concept would include a first phase of the academic building, renovation of the B&M brick building, a 170'-tall residential building for graduate student housing, and a hotel overlooking the exhaust hazes of Interstate 295:
Screen Shot 2022-06-07 at 8.58.44 AM.png


Screen Shot 2022-06-07 at 8.58.51 AM.png
 

nomc

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Is this the same amount of square footage but just spread out over more, smaller buildings? That won't solve the traffic issue and it will get rid of green space. The only thing it "solves" for the neighborhood is the height.
 

TC_zoid

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Is this the same amount of square footage but just spread out over more, smaller buildings? That won't solve the traffic issue and it will get rid of green space. The only thing it "solves" for the neighborhood is the height.
As a compromise, they should allow taller buildings and open up more space for the public to use. Maybe something fun with the marina as a trade-off. This project should be taller with room to grow. Tech is the future, and that means growth, not a baked beans factory. One day when this school is thriving, both sides will realize a mistake was made.
 

GIL

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Comparing the two illustrations, it looks like there’s a parking deck over the back of the lot, behind the residential and hotel buildings in the first phase, then the second-phase residential and lab buildings are built atop the deck — so the added buildings aren’t reducing green space (especially if they would have roof gardens/green roofs).
 

PWMFlyer

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I would build up at the fore street site, housing, lab space, office, etc, then use the B&M site for an alternate site . I would fix the bridge and that would allow the students to utilize the trail between spots.
 

markhb

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The thing I wonder about with the Fore St. building is whether they have their own lease, or are they subletting from WEX? If it's the latter, how long does it run for?
 

TC_zoid

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The thing I wonder about with the Fore St. building is whether they have their own lease, or are they subletting from WEX? If it's the latter, how long does it run for?
I'm guessing as long as WEX gets some extra special treatment (which they are), the lease will be indeterminable. With all that tech education going on across from their headquarters, why would they not? Have you seen what's going up in the buildings (several new high-rises) across from or near M.I.T.? The highest levels of tech positions for Google, Boeing, and other companies. The commute is less than 5 minutes. A no brainer for the brainers.
 

nomc

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Comparing the two illustrations, it looks like there’s a parking deck over the back of the lot, behind the residential and hotel buildings in the first phase, then the second-phase residential and lab buildings are built atop the deck — so the added buildings aren’t reducing green space (especially if they would have roof gardens/green roofs).
Press Herald article says the development is scaled back by 468,000 square feet - 27% of the original proposition. Was the play - knowing there would be neighborhood opposition - to go in high and then scale back to make the neighborhood feel like they won something?
 

TC_zoid

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You could be right NOMC, and the disturbing part of this compromise, or change, is the limiting of the footprint potential on its land. Did you see this article in yesterday's Mainebiz? https://www.mainebiz.biz/article/maines-economy-ranks-among-10-worst-in-the-us-new-study-says Maine's economy ranks among the bottom ten in America! This center will attract business. Look at what businesses have moved in across from or near M.I.T. Maine is only 16 miles from the Massachusetts border, a state that is near the top of this list with N.H. and CT. It's sad that we have to allow these old provincial types to affect the future well-being of Maine. The old baked bean factory should be torn down for more space (because the future's tech theme should not be renovated old factory buildings), and the compromise should simply be the delay of the second phase. Maybe that's the P.R. strategy, to reduce the first phase size and make up for it in the second? By the time this project has a significant pulse, the neighborhood voices in opposition will all be dead or in a nursing home. The next generation will ask, "Why did you scale it down? I want a better job to continue living in Maine." This crusty old group of NIMBY's should not be speaking up for what is good for Maine's future. Politicians need to have more backbone to do what is right. Perhaps Roux has made a serious mistake coming to Maine. The state is, de facto, hostile to education! I would have located the school near a station on the Downeaster line in N.H. No state taxes too.
 
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GIL

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Press Herald article says the development is scaled back by 468,000 square feet - 27% of the original proposition. Was the play - knowing there would be neighborhood opposition - to go in high and then scale back to make the neighborhood feel like they won something?
I would think anyone going into a negotiation for any thing should have a first offer / preferred solution, but also a solid second offer to demonstrate commitment to the process — at some point there is a minimum-viable solution and ideally by then both sides have conceded enough to earn the trust of the other.
Considering that the public has had no access to that section of waterfront for over one hundred years, hopefully the neighbors will see that there has been public benefit built into this project from square one to help offset the perceived disadvantages.
 

TC_zoid

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The neighborhood should have virtually no say in this. It's a center for education sorely needed for Maine's future. It replaces a somewhat worthless old factory that made baked beans, contributing to global warming--farts. It's an apropos metaphor.
 

TC_zoid

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Moreover, the primary frustration I have with this new criticism of the project is the Portland Press Herald. It will interview anyone, with any opinion, no matter how uninformed it might be. Residents question the plan for a hotel, as they say (paraphrased), "Roux is trying to make money on the side too." This is from neighbors who don't know what they are talking about. The Roux Institute is exactly that, an institute, not a university. An Institute is about a more applied continuation of learning with many types of participants, and some or many are from other places (international) studying temporarily. It makes no sense for this wider age range to live in dormitories, or outside housing, other than a nearby hotel. Roux should not call it a hotel, but temporary housing because residents can't or aren't willing to understand this idea. The Roux participants are not tourists. The PPH chooses to stir up the debate to gain more readership to look at ads. Apparently, it has no interest in publishing an editorial (so far) explaining the importance of the center to help educate the ignorant local populace. The PPH might have a few journalistic accolades, but it is now doing a disservice to the community with behaviors like this.
 

matt.greeson

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Moreover, the primary frustration I have with this new criticism of the project is the Portland Press Herald. It will interview anyone, with any opinion, no matter how uninformed it might be. Residents question the plan for a hotel, as they say (paraphrased), "Roux is trying to make money on the side too." This is from neighbors who don't know what they are talking about. The Roux Institute is exactly that, an institute, not a university. An Institute is about a more applied continuation of learning with many types of participants, and some or many are from other places (international) studying temporarily. It makes no sense for this wider age range to live in dormitories, or outside housing, other than a nearby hotel. Roux should not call it a hotel, but temporary housing because residents can't or aren't willing to understand this idea. The Roux participants are not tourists. The PPH chooses to stir up the debate to gain more readership to look at ads. Apparently, it has no interest in publishing an editorial (so far) explaining the importance of the center to help educate the ignorant local populace. The PPH might have a few journalistic accolades, but it is now doing a disservice to the community with behaviors like this.

Point proved.
 

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