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Patrick
10-21-2006, 10:31 AM
Architect has plan for civic center

The architect who oversaw renovations at Fenway Park has given a once-over to another aging sports and entertainment venue: the Cumberland County Civic Center.
In preliminary designs presented to civic center trustees this week, Janet Marie Smith proposed more space for concert crowds and hockey fans by reducing the maintenance area and adding new concourses and standing-room viewing areas.
The plans, commissioned by the Portland Pirates, do not add traditional seats or address whether the 28-year-old building's structure is sound enough to undergo the renovations -- that is work that would have to be done at a later time, in greater depth and at a price, say people close to the project.
It's not clear, though, how much farther Smith's work will go.
For several years, civic center officials have considered improving the center or building a new one, and say they welcomed the input of a nationally acclaimed architect credited with building the first retro ballpark, Camden Yards in Baltimore. But the potential cost of Smith's proposed renovations made them question whether they were worth it.
Smith, in her hourlong presentation to civic center trustees Wednesday, did not have a firm estimate, but acknowledged that it would cost $35 million to $40 million --about half the amount it would take to build a new facility, said Dale Olmstead, chair of the board of trustees and town manager of Freeport.
A cost assessment and structural engineering tests would require up to $100,000, Olmstead said. It's money he would rather see invested in a new facility that would accommodate more than the 6,800-seat civic center and have extra space for dressing rooms and set-up demanded by big-name acts.
Neal Pratt, an attorney and chairman of the trustees' long-range planning committee, invited Smith to meet with the trustees. But he said afterward that more in-depth renovation proposals have already been floated and turned down, with the mindset that building a new building would be more cost-effective.
"We've spent a lot of money already evaluating this, and we have very good information from very qualified people that was the basis of our decision to pursue a new facility," Pratt said. "I don't know if we want to take the chance on whether (Smith) might come up with something different."
Brian Petrovek, managing owner and chief executive officer of the Portland Pirates, said he would like to see Smith pursue more detailed designs. Petrovek acknowledged that the Pirates do not have the same concerns about seating capacity as the trustees. But he said Smith's ideas address everybody's concerns about maximizing floor space and improving people flow.
Petrovek said his ideal situation is for the hockey team, and possibly an arena football team that he is trying to bring to Portland, to stay on the peninsula. He said the location adds to the "fan experience."
Smith, who is vice president of planning and development at Baltimore-based Streuver Bros. Eccles & Rouse, did not return phone calls Friday.
While Olmstead said the trustees do not have the money to hire Smith, he said: "It'll be interesting to see if the city of Portland will be willing to step up to the plate and take her work to the next level."
Smith's designs are expected to be discussed Monday at a meeting of the Portland City Council, the Cumberland County Commission and the civic center's trustees.
Mayor James Cohen, who has been a vocal supporter of renovations at the center, said he was impressed by Smith when they toured the building earlier this year. He said it would be a good idea for the city and county to consider retaining her services, or look into the design issues she has raised.
"I think it would be wise for the city to look carefully at the issues," Cohen said. "The city was actively involved in the civic center when it was first constructed and it remains an important component of the Portland landscape."
Staff Writer Josie Huang can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:
jhuang@pressherald.com


Reader comments

patrick venne of portland, me
Oct 21, 2006 11:33 AM
For almost any other city of Portland's size, a 6,800 seat arena would usually be able to "do the job" quite well. A little improvement here, some touch up there....and a hypothetical town/city of between 62,000 and 78,000 (Portland's range of in-city population between 1950 and the 21st century) would be "in business" so to speak. However, we all know Portland is not the typical town of 70,000 people. It is much more. Serving as the population and commerce core to the entire southern portion of the state, which continues to grow by thousands each year, it is a metropolis which swells to over 100,000 people each business day, and which has an extensive "draw" into other surrounding municipalities. My point is this: The CCCC, though located in Portland, serves (as the name would suggest) the entire county, and beyond. It is, therefore, the only arena of the sort for over half a million people in the state of Maine. In other words, NO, 6,800 seats will not do. And neither will rennovations. Located diagonally across from the CC is an essentially cacant lot or two on which a 10,000 seat complex could be built, for the benefit of all southern Maine, and which would still allow for the CC to remain in the state's largest and most prominent city. The solution to the CCCC's woes is simple. Construct a new one and sit back and watch as the economic "spin-off" effects roll in to the local economy. That is, after all, why civic centers are built in the first place. Wasting time debating rennovations only worsens the situation. Come on, Portland and CUmberland county, git 'er done!

Corey
10-21-2006, 01:38 PM
Well put, sir.

It's ridiculous to even consider renovating a 28 year old building when you can build a brand new one, that will be much bigger and better, for only twice as much!

Smuttynose
10-23-2006, 11:31 AM
Who would pay for the civic center? the city? state?

And why did the Lincoln Center fall through? Wasn't that a civic center leveraged with a private office tower or something? That sounds good to me. If the city can attach private development to a new civic center it would reduce their risk a bit.

Patrick
10-23-2006, 11:55 AM
the civic center would be financed through public means by the entirety of cumberland county. the latest proposal called for a `% increase in sales and lodging taxes to pay for lincoln center, but it was not allowed to go up for a peoples vote because the governor was facing political opposition from republicans who hate increasing taxes. lincoln center was to be combined with a privately owned office tower and hotel. it really is a shame because it would have given us a new tallest building (might have even surpassed that church everyone gets so up in arms about).

Patrick
10-24-2006, 09:53 AM
Who would pay for the civic center? the city? state?

And why did the Lincoln Center fall through? Wasn't that a civic center leveraged with a private office tower or something? That sounds good to me. If the city can attach private development to a new civic center it would reduce their risk a bit.

Consensus still eluding parties on civic center

For the first time ever, the trustees of the Cumberland County Civic Center, members of the Portland City Council and Cumberland County commissioners met on Monday evening to discuss the future of the 28-year-old arena.
The outcome was less historic, as the parties basically agreed that they will need to reach a consensus before anything can be done about the 6,800-seat arena, which either needs minor repairs or replacement, depending on who's talking.
The center's trustees are on record as favoring a new arena with more seating, betteramenities, improved backstage spaces for artists and easier setup for equipment.
City officials said a review of the center by the architect who designed changes for Fenway Park in Boston offers new hope for those who think that a less-costly renovation would solve the arena's problems. And some elected officials say that cutting property taxes needs to take priority over putting any more money into the civic center.
It's an issue that has been percolating for nearly a decade, and Monday's meeting suggested that finding a solution will take time.
The meeting was pushed by Portland Mayor James Cohen, who toured the center earlier this year with Janet Marie Smith, the architect who came up with renovations for Fenway and helped design Camden Yards in Baltimore.
Cohen said Smith didn't do a complete study of the building but she saw several ways to add concession space, restrooms and a bar, and provide more standing room for concerts.
A more complete analysis, including a structural assessment that would determine what changes can be made, would cost about $100,000, civic center trustees said, and only provide concepts for renovating the building.
Dale Olmstead, chairman of the trustees, said the center needs a minimum of $5 million "to basically keep the doors open." He said a renovation that would provide more seating would cost as much as $20 million, though Smith has pegged the cost for her approach at about twice that amount.
A new arena would cost as much as $50 million, Olmstead said, adding that his estimates are a couple of years old and "pre-Katrina," meaning they don't factor in the huge increase in the cost of building materials due to the rebuilding being done on the Gulf Coast.
The trustees have already endorsed building a new civic center, but two previous attempts by other groups to put up a new arena have stalled because of the price.
John Menario said he and fellow trustees have looked at the problems the civic center faces despite "a bias of wanting to renovate the building."
"All we're going to do is buy five to seven years," he said, because top acts want to be able to sell more tickets and demand better amenities than a renovation would provide.
But Cohen said the civic center is in an enviable location near the Old Port and downtown Portland. He said other cities have built arenas near highway exits and found that people go to events and leave without visiting restaurants and bars.
Part of the economic benefit of an arena, he said, is the spin-off spending generated by those who attend the events.
Cohen said Fenway presented many of the same issues that the civic center faces. While Smith had orders not to change the park's basic configuration, he said, she found a way for more seats and an improved fan experience.
Most at the meeting agreed that whatever is decided, the cost can't be borne by increasing property taxes on county residents. But, they noted, not even state lawmakers from Cumberland County can agree on other options, such as a local add-on to the meals and lodging tax -- which was rejected by Gov. John Baldacci and the Legislature last year.
Cohen said he will keep pushing for the group to find an option that everyone can live with. "The doing-nothing option ultimately is going to condemn this facility to obsolescence," he said.
Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:
emurphy@pressherald.com


Reader comments

Jill of Portland, ME
Oct 24, 2006 11:00 AM
Whoever is going to pay for it, there is no question that Portland needs a new arena. Build it across Free Street on the Brian Boru/parking lot area. Build it where Lincoln Center was proposed. Just build it.

Dan of B ar Harbor, me
Oct 24, 2006 8:50 AM
Well, actually it IS the taxpayer's money, those of Cumberland County. Maybe it's time to explore just how much a private company would be willing to put up to have their name on the arena. I, for one, think the time has come. Get Portland and Cumberland County out of the arena business. We saw what happened to the Public Market.

Dan of Saco, ME
Oct 24, 2006 8:10 AM
Well it's easy to say build a new one cause it isn't my money. However after attending a few event at the new arena in Manchester it is clear to me that Portland has fallen way behind their friendly N.H. rival. What a difference in the overall experience when comparing the two venues. I suggest taking a look at the events that were held when the civic center was new and modern for its time as compared to now. I was amazed at the frequency of concerts and other shows back in the early years. Better acts want no part of this facility and Portland needs to decide if they are first class or something less when it comes to entertainment for the community.

portlandneedsnewarena
10-24-2006, 10:29 AM
Who would pay for the civic center? the city? state?

And why did the Lincoln Center fall through? Wasn't that a civic center leveraged with a private office tower or something? That sounds good to me. If the city can attach private development to a new civic center it would reduce their risk a bit.

Consensus still eluding parties on civic center

For the first time ever, the trustees of the Cumberland County Civic Center, members of the Portland City Council and Cumberland County commissioners met on Monday evening to discuss the future of the 28-year-old arena.
The outcome was less historic, as the parties basically agreed that they will need to reach a consensus before anything can be done about the 6,800-seat arena, which either needs minor repairs or replacement, depending on who's talking.
The center's trustees are on record as favoring a new arena with more seating, betteramenities, improved backstage spaces for artists and easier setup for equipment.
City officials said a review of the center by the architect who designed changes for Fenway Park in Boston offers new hope for those who think that a less-costly renovation would solve the arena's problems. And some elected officials say that cutting property taxes needs to take priority over putting any more money into the civic center.
It's an issue that has been percolating for nearly a decade, and Monday's meeting suggested that finding a solution will take time.
The meeting was pushed by Portland Mayor James Cohen, who toured the center earlier this year with Janet Marie Smith, the architect who came up with renovations for Fenway and helped design Camden Yards in Baltimore.
Cohen said Smith didn't do a complete study of the building but she saw several ways to add concession space, restrooms and a bar, and provide more standing room for concerts.
A more complete analysis, including a structural assessment that would determine what changes can be made, would cost about $100,000, civic center trustees said, and only provide concepts for renovating the building.
Dale Olmstead, chairman of the trustees, said the center needs a minimum of $5 million "to basically keep the doors open." He said a renovation that would provide more seating would cost as much as $20 million, though Smith has pegged the cost for her approach at about twice that amount.
A new arena would cost as much as $50 million, Olmstead said, adding that his estimates are a couple of years old and "pre-Katrina," meaning they don't factor in the huge increase in the cost of building materials due to the rebuilding being done on the Gulf Coast.
The trustees have already endorsed building a new civic center, but two previous attempts by other groups to put up a new arena have stalled because of the price.
John Menario said he and fellow trustees have looked at the problems the civic center faces despite "a bias of wanting to renovate the building."
"All we're going to do is buy five to seven years," he said, because top acts want to be able to sell more tickets and demand better amenities than a renovation would provide.
But Cohen said the civic center is in an enviable location near the Old Port and downtown Portland. He said other cities have built arenas near highway exits and found that people go to events and leave without visiting restaurants and bars.
Part of the economic benefit of an arena, he said, is the spin-off spending generated by those who attend the events.
Cohen said Fenway presented many of the same issues that the civic center faces. While Smith had orders not to change the park's basic configuration, he said, she found a way for more seats and an improved fan experience.
Most at the meeting agreed that whatever is decided, the cost can't be borne by increasing property taxes on county residents. But, they noted, not even state lawmakers from Cumberland County can agree on other options, such as a local add-on to the meals and lodging tax -- which was rejected by Gov. John Baldacci and the Legislature last year.
Cohen said he will keep pushing for the group to find an option that everyone can live with. "The doing-nothing option ultimately is going to condemn this facility to obsolescence," he said.
Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:
emurphy@pressherald.com


Reader comments

Jill of Portland, ME
Oct 24, 2006 11:00 AM
Whoever is going to pay for it, there is no question that Portland needs a new arena. Build it across Free Street on the Brian Boru/parking lot area. Build it where Lincoln Center was proposed. Just build it.

Dan of B ar Harbor, me
Oct 24, 2006 8:50 AM
Well, actually it IS the taxpayer's money, those of Cumberland County. Maybe it's time to explore just how much a private company would be willing to put up to have their name on the arena. I, for one, think the time has come. Get Portland and Cumberland County out of the arena business. We saw what happened to the Public Market.

Dan of Saco, ME
Oct 24, 2006 8:10 AM
Well it's easy to say build a new one cause it isn't my money. However after attending a few event at the new arena in Manchester it is clear to me that Portland has fallen way behind their friendly N.H. rival. What a difference in the overall experience when comparing the two venues. I suggest taking a look at the events that were held when the civic center was new and modern for its time as compared to now. I was amazed at the frequency of concerts and other shows back in the early years. Better acts want no part of this facility and Portland needs to decide if they are first class or something less when it comes to entertainment for the community.
I agree w/ Dan in Saco completely. Why can't these fools see/agree that the only option is a new arena! Retrofitting the existing Civic Center to the tune of $30 to $45 million dollars would be absolutely foolish. it would just be a cobbled together piece of shit without luxury boxes and it sounds like no more seating. It would be a short term fix and would hardly address all of the problems of the existing Civic Center. These people should focus 100% of there attention on a new arena!!!!!!!!

grittys457
10-24-2006, 11:55 AM
I added my thoughts on the press herald site, go check it out.

Smuttynose
10-24-2006, 12:26 PM
Portland should just look at the Manchester model. Portland and Manchester are very similar sized markets, Portland might be a bit smaller but all the tourists make up for it. Both Portland and Manch are hockey towns. Both are in the same general location, though Portland is further away from Boston, which discourages people from going down there for shows. I'm sure the demographics are similar too, i.e. lots of fairly wealthy people around to support it.

A TV Station in Youngstown, Ohio has spent the week in Manchester reporting on how the city has improved (hoping Youngstown, which is having big problems can follow the same path).

Part 4 of their series focuses on the success of the Verizon.

Manchester, NH, Part 4
http://www.wytv.com/news/government/4202591.html

According to industry sources, the Verizon Wireless Arena is one of the 10 busiest arenas of its size in the world.

And more good news for the city.
The 15 year bonds it took out to build the Verizon Arena will be paid off 7 years early.

Patrick
10-24-2006, 01:31 PM
Manchesters biggest succes has been the verizon and the airport. for thsoe two i will always envy manchester, but only of the arena will i be jealous (because there is no way being this far away from beantown our airport could grow like that in the local market).

sadly, no, portland does not have a lot of rich folks surrounding it. im sure there are way more around manchester (which is odd, given that it began as a mill town). We have cape E. and Falmouth which total about 20,000 people combined. the rest is all working class, for the most part. no mass commuters like in NH, and no other sizeable city either. so nobody wants their taxes to increase. because they cant make enough money in the first place to pay for such an nicrease. things in maine and NH are comparable but also can be different in some respects.

thats impressive about the arena being so busy.

also, for portland, we wouldnt have to rely on people comming up from massachusetts, because unlike NH most of our population lies above the city.

in manchester, there are about almost one million people in the southern part of the state and then mass south of the border. in maine, though, it is different. we have our 600,000 southern part of the state and then we have no significant arena north of us for the other 700,000 people in the state. that would be our market to tap into..

Patrick
10-24-2006, 01:38 PM
I added my thoughts on the press herald site, go check it out.

this has to be you. you didnt tell us you were in the Fast and the Furious, Dom.

Dominic of Portland, Me
Oct 24, 2006 12:05 PM
For the amount of money they have spent "researching" what to do with the civic center, we probably could have paid for two news ones by now. I know, let's hold a workshop meeting. I know, let's send it back to the planning board. I know, let's have the woman who redesigned Fenway Park look at it, because the history of the two buildings are the same. Got ZZ Top and the Portland Sting Rays on this side, they had Babe Ruth and Fisk's homerun. Sounds equally historic to me.

Okay, so we turned down free land and 20 million towards a new arena in Bayside, because we didn't want to ruin Bayside. I guess we didn't design enough shopping cart parking in the plans for that arena. We then give the cold shoulder to Mr. Boulos who brought us the greatest project ever seen in our city. A project that would have covered our arena and convention center needs along with the best looking office tower/hotel we have ever had. Basically would have made Portland one of the premier small cities in the country.

So now where do we go? Honestly, I give up. I give up hope for anything that benefits working people and families in our city. I'll sit back and read other posts here today that will talk about how we don't need to be like Boston, move to Boston if you want this, I don't wanna pay for this, windtunnels caused by a new arena will blow old people down the street, traffic will be backed up for 8 hours after a concert, money should be used on a state of the art methadone clinic for out of staters wanting to live in Portland....etc.

This is a city that refuses to grow and to grow up. A city that doesn't understand that you can't just stand still and expect to be successful forever. I'm sure Manchester prays we keep thinking that way. They're laughing all the way to the bank.

__________________________________________________ __________
absolutely brilliant response.
__________________________________________________ __________

oh and P.S. was at gritty's last night and embarrasse the socks off of myself when i tried to order a heineken. i knew they brewed their own, but for some reason i figured they might still serve other stuff too. beer tasting festival at the expo center November 4. you want a ride? haha just kidding ill be in san diego, fortunately and unfortunately.

Smuttynose
10-24-2006, 01:54 PM
Manchesters biggest succes has been the verizon and the airport. for thsoe two i will always envy manchester, but only of the arena will i be jealous (because there is no way being this far away from beantown our airport could grow like that in the local market).

sadly, no, portland does not have a lot of rich folks surrounding it. im sure there are way more around manchester (which is odd, given that it began as a mill town). We have cape E. and Falmouth which total about 20,000 people combined. the rest is all working class, for the most part. no mass commuters like in NH, and no other sizeable city either. so nobody wants their taxes to increase. because they cant make enough money in the first place to pay for such an nicrease. things in maine and NH are comparable but also can be different in some respects.

thats impressive about the arena being so busy.

also, for portland, we wouldnt have to rely on people comming up from massachusetts, because unlike NH most of our population lies above the city.

in manchester, there are about almost one million people in the southern part of the state and then mass south of the border. in maine, though, it is different. we have our 600,000 southern part of the state and then we have no significant arena north of us for the other 700,000 people in the state. that would be our market to tap into..

Well if Portland built an arena, it would make the NH Seacoast competitive, and there's def some money there. And Southern Maine does have some money - Keenebunk, York, Ogunquit, etc. - maybe they have a large seasonal pop., but still. I think Portland has a lot more in common with Portland than say Youngstown.

Plus, I remember people talking about a Manchester civic center when I was in 8th grade, and it didn't get built until I was a senior in high school, so it was a long pain-in-the-ass process here as well.

Patrick
10-24-2006, 02:27 PM
true, kennebunk has some wealth, but 1. it is a small town...2. its mostly old people......3. its only 1 1/2 hours from boston.

ogunquit = small.

those towns you listed were in york county, which i think is split between metro portland and metro boston. people from down there may be wealthy, but they are not large in numbers.....and they are practically in the middle of portland and boston. they are little farther away from boston than portland, but the larger venues in boston (and manchester) would make their trips in the oppositte direction worth while. whereas people north of us have nowhere to go but south (and by implication that means going through portland).

I like your idea with portsmouth though, cause thats an area that has substantially more population than our spread out southern county, and a lot more young people i bet too, and those people seem like they would like portland as a city (as opposed to boston) because of its similarity (old port basically = market street). but even then they might jst wanna go to boston too. i would bank on the northerners from lewiston auburn down...thats an additional couple hundred thous.....but who knows./ now if we built a really large arena, say 15,000 seater, then we would be talkin...but until then i dont see the incentive for southerners to drive north when boston and manch are close by.


also, you think manch had a struggle huh? they have been talking about building a new arena in portland since I was in 7th grade!!!!! that was 1996 my friend, and not one shovel has yet hit the ground. aaah!! it is mind boggling how long this is taking.

what did manch use before the verizon, if anything?

Smuttynose
10-24-2006, 03:04 PM
^ Well I guess my basic question to you boils down to this: Do you think Portland can support an arena like Manchester has?

Cause if the answer is yes, then there's no question you should build one. The CC has done so much for Manchester.


what did manch use before the verizon, if anything?

A little place called the Fleet Center in BOSTON! And people still bitched about building it. I hate people.

portlandneedsnewarena
10-24-2006, 03:31 PM
^ Well I guess my basic question to you boils down to this: Do you think Portland can support an arena like Manchester has?

Cause if the answer is yes, then there's no question you should build one. The CC has done so much for Manchester.


what did manch use before the verizon, if anything?

A little place called the Fleet Center in BOSTON! And people still bitched about building it. I hate people.

Portland could easily support a 10,000 seat arena. I doubt the Pirates would fill that many seats very often, but top act concerts, UMaine Hockey, NCAA Hockey Regionals, Celtics exhibition, etc. would sell out.
My hope is that Joe Boulos resurrects the Lincoln Center project, gets investors/private financing and renames it The Boulos Center. Private financing is about the only way I see anything getting done in the near future. He should threaten to build it in Scarborough off of Haigas Parkway. That might get the City leaders in Portland moving on the project instead of constantly backpedaling/spinning there wheels.

Patrick
10-24-2006, 05:06 PM
^ Well I guess my basic question to you boils down to this: Do you think Portland can support an arena like Manchester has?

Cause if the answer is yes, then there's no question you should build one. The CC has done so much for Manchester.


You know I'm not sure how well we would be able to support an arena that size, but my guess is that it probably wouldn't be that hard. I think that since the population in southern maine is so similar to that in southern NH (650,000 versus what, 800,000?) it would probably become a case of "if you build it, they will come." They will just have to drive farther to get here, since in NH everything is more compacted and dense as opposed to our wider geography. But the bottom line is, regardless of population density, roughly the same amount of people filter into and depend on portland as do for manchester, and with the tourist season, any differences should be made up for throughout at least the spring and summer.

Who knows, manchester might be able to support a 15,000 seater and portland only a 10,000 seater but the bottom line is that we need something large. it doesnt have to be the colluseum, we just need a state of the art entertainment complex that can keep up with you guys, so as to help our local economy through the rough winter months when the old port life dies down a bit. and thats the real reason we should get the ball rolling on this one, cause if the old port were ever to slip back into what it used to be we would become the crime capital of new england with fisherman shanghai-ing drunkards everynight for work on the high seas. haha,

and yeah, PNNA, I hope boulos resurects those plans as well. lets hope there is a change in state gov't. im predicting there will be. woodcock was the coach of state champ girls bball team from mt blue maybe he can lead portland to being a regional champ by approving some development.

portlandneedsnewarena
10-25-2006, 07:57 AM
^ Well I guess my basic question to you boils down to this: Do you think Portland can support an arena like Manchester has?

Cause if the answer is yes, then there's no question you should build one. The CC has done so much for Manchester.


You know I'm not sure how well we would be able to support an arena that size, but my guess is that it probably wouldn't be that hard. I think that since the population in southern maine is so similar to that in southern NH (650,000 versus what, 800,000?) it would probably become a case of "if you build it, they will come." They will just have to drive farther to get here, since in NH everything is more compacted and dense as opposed to our wider geography. But the bottom line is, regardless of population density, roughly the same amount of people filter into and depend on portland as do for manchester, and with the tourist season, any differences should be made up for throughout at least the spring and summer.

Who knows, manchester might be able to support a 15,000 seater and portland only a 10,000 seater but the bottom line is that we need something large. it doesnt have to be the colluseum, we just need a state of the art entertainment complex that can keep up with you guys, so as to help our local economy through the rough winter months when the old port life dies down a bit. and thats the real reason we should get the ball rolling on this one, cause if the old port were ever to slip back into what it used to be we would become the crime capital of new england with fisherman shanghai-ing drunkards everynight for work on the high seas. haha,

and yeah, PNNA, I hope boulos resurects those plans as well. lets hope there is a change in state gov't. im predicting there will be. woodcock was the coach of state champ girls bball team from mt blue maybe he can lead portland to being a regional champ by approving some development.
Patrick, unfortunately Baldacci will crush the competition this coming November. Most people don't see through Baldacci, that he is nothing more than a professional politician who gets his face in front of the camera/media as often as possible (the past 6 months) to appear like he is actually doing something. I just don't see him taking much of a stand on anything that might be difficult, examples; Lincoln Center meals/lodging tax issue, Cabelas sales tax issue, etc., etc. Baldacci came out and stated to the media 4 months before Lincoln Center was even proposed the need for Maine to have Convention facilities in Portland, Bangor & possibly L/A. He stated that Maine is losing $$$ to other states that have such facilities. Then when the going gets a little tough approx. 1 year later when a first class project with a first class developer has a magnificent project such as Lincoln Center ready to go he bails out and doesn't support a tax. He is clueless what economic development is all about. He's just a polished prof. politician and that's it.

Patrick
10-26-2006, 04:17 PM
Civic center talks fail to produce

By Kate Bucklin (published: October 26, 2006)
PORTLAND ? Mayor Jim Cohen thinks a little ?thinking outside the box? may allow the Cumberland County Civic Center, with its downtown location and recent praise from the architect who redesigned Fenway Park, to stay right where it is.

Other officials aren?t as optimistic.

The future of the civic center was discussed Monday afternoon at a meeting attended by civic center trustees, Cumberland County commissioners and Portland city councilors. It was the first time the three groups had met together, but the topic of conversation was one that has been in the spotlight several times during the past six years.

Although civic center officials hold the opinion that the best option for the 28-year-old arena is to build a new one somewhere else, architect Janet Marie Smith?s recent preliminary study of the building found it would be possible to renovate the civic center instead of rebuilding.

Past studies have questioned the structural integrity of the 6,800-seat building.

Smith designed the plans for renovation of Fenway Park and also designed Camden Yards in Baltimore. Cohen said when he toured the civic center with Smith in April he was encouraged by her ideas to solve major problems in the building, including inadequate seating, a shortage of set-up space for acts and an inadequate ?fan experience.?

The architect suggested the glass corners of the building could be built out to the abutting parking garage, and the ticket counter could be moved so the Spring Street concourse could be used by fans. In the additional space, a restaurant and bar and standing room for show-goers could be added, Cohen said.

Cohen also said that in the case of Fenway, offices and other nonessential uses on site were moved to nearby buildings to free up space.

The price tag for such a renovation at the civic center could be as much as $35 million, Cohen said. A new building could cost as much as $80 million.

At the meeting Monday, civic center officials said that while Smith?s observations were enlightening, trustees had already expressed their support for a new arena.

?The board is on the record supporting a new facility,? Trustee Dale Olmstead said. ?That is still our recommendation.?

Trustees question the structural integrity of the building and its seating capacity.

Trustee Neal Pratt said he did not expect any major renovation or new construction in the near future, because the county has no money for such a project and the state is unlikely to chip in.

?We needed the local option sales tax,? Pratt said. ?We are all very familiar with the success of that.?

Pratt was referring to a failed attempt in 2005 by developer Joseph Boulos and others to secure funding through a meals and lodging tax. Development of a downtown convention and civic center hinged on support for such a tax from the governor, who ultimately decided against the proposal.

Trustees at Monday?s meeting questioned whether it was wise to spend $100,000 on further study of the civic center when no funds are available to improve or replace the building.

While the meeting produced no consensus on the future of the civic center, all parties agreed the county needs to show a united front, and some suggested trying to get the more rural towns in the county on board with improving the civic center.

?This is much bigger than what all of us can accomplish,? City Councilor Ed Suslovic said. ?We need to bring others in.?



Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net.

portlandneedsnewarena
10-27-2006, 07:24 AM
Civic center talks fail to produce

By Kate Bucklin (published: October 26, 2006)
PORTLAND ? Mayor Jim Cohen thinks a little ?thinking outside the box? may allow the Cumberland County Civic Center, with its downtown location and recent praise from the architect who redesigned Fenway Park, to stay right where it is.

Other officials aren?t as optimistic.

The future of the civic center was discussed Monday afternoon at a meeting attended by civic center trustees, Cumberland County commissioners and Portland city councilors. It was the first time the three groups had met together, but the topic of conversation was one that has been in the spotlight several times during the past six years.

Although civic center officials hold the opinion that the best option for the 28-year-old arena is to build a new one somewhere else, architect Janet Marie Smith?s recent preliminary study of the building found it would be possible to renovate the civic center instead of rebuilding.

Past studies have questioned the structural integrity of the 6,800-seat building.

Smith designed the plans for renovation of Fenway Park and also designed Camden Yards in Baltimore. Cohen said when he toured the civic center with Smith in April he was encouraged by her ideas to solve major problems in the building, including inadequate seating, a shortage of set-up space for acts and an inadequate ?fan experience.?

The architect suggested the glass corners of the building could be built out to the abutting parking garage, and the ticket counter could be moved so the Spring Street concourse could be used by fans. In the additional space, a restaurant and bar and standing room for show-goers could be added, Cohen said.

Cohen also said that in the case of Fenway, offices and other nonessential uses on site were moved to nearby buildings to free up space.

The price tag for such a renovation at the civic center could be as much as $35 million, Cohen said. A new building could cost as much as $80 million.

At the meeting Monday, civic center officials said that while Smith?s observations were enlightening, trustees had already expressed their support for a new arena.

?The board is on the record supporting a new facility,? Trustee Dale Olmstead said. ?That is still our recommendation.?

Trustees question the structural integrity of the building and its seating capacity.

Trustee Neal Pratt said he did not expect any major renovation or new construction in the near future, because the county has no money for such a project and the state is unlikely to chip in.

?We needed the local option sales tax,? Pratt said. ?We are all very familiar with the success of that.?

Pratt was referring to a failed attempt in 2005 by developer Joseph Boulos and others to secure funding through a meals and lodging tax. Development of a downtown convention and civic center hinged on support for such a tax from the governor, who ultimately decided against the proposal.

Trustees at Monday?s meeting questioned whether it was wise to spend $100,000 on further study of the civic center when no funds are available to improve or replace the building.

While the meeting produced no consensus on the future of the civic center, all parties agreed the county needs to show a united front, and some suggested trying to get the more rural towns in the county on board with improving the civic center.

?This is much bigger than what all of us can accomplish,? City Councilor Ed Suslovic said. ?We need to bring others in.?



Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net.

portlandneedsnewarena
10-27-2006, 07:29 AM
Civic center talks fail to produce

By Kate Bucklin (published: October 26, 2006)
PORTLAND ? Mayor Jim Cohen thinks a little ?thinking outside the box? may allow the Cumberland County Civic Center, with its downtown location and recent praise from the architect who redesigned Fenway Park, to stay right where it is.

Other officials aren?t as optimistic.

The future of the civic center was discussed Monday afternoon at a meeting attended by civic center trustees, Cumberland County commissioners and Portland city councilors. It was the first time the three groups had met together, but the topic of conversation was one that has been in the spotlight several times during the past six years.

Although civic center officials hold the opinion that the best option for the 28-year-old arena is to build a new one somewhere else, architect Janet Marie Smith?s recent preliminary study of the building found it would be possible to renovate the civic center instead of rebuilding.

Past studies have questioned the structural integrity of the 6,800-seat building.

Smith designed the plans for renovation of Fenway Park and also designed Camden Yards in Baltimore. Cohen said when he toured the civic center with Smith in April he was encouraged by her ideas to solve major problems in the building, including inadequate seating, a shortage of set-up space for acts and an inadequate ?fan experience.?

The architect suggested the glass corners of the building could be built out to the abutting parking garage, and the ticket counter could be moved so the Spring Street concourse could be used by fans. In the additional space, a restaurant and bar and standing room for show-goers could be added, Cohen said.

Cohen also said that in the case of Fenway, offices and other nonessential uses on site were moved to nearby buildings to free up space.

The price tag for such a renovation at the civic center could be as much as $35 million, Cohen said. A new building could cost as much as $80 million.

At the meeting Monday, civic center officials said that while Smith?s observations were enlightening, trustees had already expressed their support for a new arena.

?The board is on the record supporting a new facility,? Trustee Dale Olmstead said. ?That is still our recommendation.?

Trustees question the structural integrity of the building and its seating capacity.

Trustee Neal Pratt said he did not expect any major renovation or new construction in the near future, because the county has no money for such a project and the state is unlikely to chip in.

?We needed the local option sales tax,? Pratt said. ?We are all very familiar with the success of that.?

Pratt was referring to a failed attempt in 2005 by developer Joseph Boulos and others to secure funding through a meals and lodging tax. Development of a downtown convention and civic center hinged on support for such a tax from the governor, who ultimately decided against the proposal.

Trustees at Monday?s meeting questioned whether it was wise to spend $100,000 on further study of the civic center when no funds are available to improve or replace the building.

While the meeting produced no consensus on the future of the civic center, all parties agreed the county needs to show a united front, and some suggested trying to get the more rural towns in the county on board with improving the civic center.

?This is much bigger than what all of us can accomplish,? City Councilor Ed Suslovic said. ?We need to bring others in.?



Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net.

They need to bring us in. They really need to sell a new arena and it's economic benefits to the public. Thinking back, did Joe B. really do a good enough job of doing that as far as the failed Lincoln Center project was concerned?

Patrick
10-27-2006, 08:34 AM
well I think the right job would have been for him to sell it to the business community, as they would be the ones to stand in opposition or support of it the most (because they would be the primary ones affected by it). after he sold it to them, they could garner support for the rest of the county. I think he was doing that.

Patrick
10-28-2006, 12:51 PM
Fix up the old, or bring on the new, but act
E-mail this page Reader Comments (below)
Portland Press Herald Saturday, October 28, 2006

To see Taylor Hicks and his fellow "American Idol" contestants put on a show at the Cumberland County Civic Center belies any notion that the facility is ready for the wrecking ball.
The national "Idols" tour came to Portland on Sept. 21 -- though Maine was added to the itinerary late -- and packed the arena mostly with families. The show itself was professional and fun. It wasn't high-brow culture on par with the city's symphony, but it made 8,500 fans happy.
So what's wrong with this picture?
Plenty, if you talk to the civic center's trustees or anyone else familiar with the operation. More and more, shows like "American Idols Live" are becoming an exception in Maine. Big-name acts are opting for larger venues in the region, notably civic centers in Worcester, Mass., and Manchester, N.H.
And while the "Idol" show in Portland may have looked good with the view glossed over by a fog machine and lighting effects, the facility shows its age in the close-ups. The seats are worn. The staging area is pitifully small. The concession stands are too few and poorly placed. The handicapped access is not up to current standards. Even the scoreboard is past its prime, requiring operation without the aid of a modern computer.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to maximizing the potential of the civic center is limited seating. It holds 8,500 people for concerts, but is competing with venues able to accommodate 12,000 people or more.
None of this is news. That the civic center has fallen behind the times has been a topic of discussion for a decade. What has kept the facility in the 1970s is an inability of decision makers to choose between renovating the old structure or building an entirely new one. Equally difficult has been figuring out how to pay for a renovation or a new arena.
Efforts to repair or replace the Cumberland County Civic Center have started and stalled no fewer than six times in the past 10 years. Renovations have generally been rejected because the cost of expanding and modernizing the civic center has approached the cost of replacing it entirely.
Building a new facility hasn't caught hold because the economics of such a project require partial public funding. There is little appetite among city of Portland or Cumberland County officials to raise local property taxes to pay for a new facility. Meanwhile, efforts to get the state to chip in to improve civic centers around Maine have also gone nowhere, in part because rural lawmakers don't want their constituents' tax dollars subsidizing amenities for urban communities.
All of these obstacles offer an explanation as to why the civic center sits in its sorry state, but they do not afford the decision makers an excuse. Other communities have found ways to fund and site new or expanded arenas, and there is no practical obstacle to doing the same here.
Not that it isn't a difficult task.
It first has to be determined if the current structure should be renovated or replaced, and then the money has to be found.
Once again, the civic center trustees and other interested parties are talking about addressing the building's shortcomings, and so far it looks like this attempt is off to a better start.
For the first time ever, the trustees, the Cumberland County commissioners and Portland Mayor James Cohen and other city representatives got together this week to talk about what to do next with the aging facility.
They were brought together partly because the Portland Pirates hockey franchise -- the civic center's anchor tenant -- commissioned a study of possible renovations by the architect who oversaw the remaking of Fenway Park in Boston.
In some ways, the architect didn't have much new to say. The civic center can be brought into the 21st century, but it won't be cheap. A rough estimate -- a detailed study has yet to be done -- puts the cost of a complete makeover at $35 million to $40 million. Dale Olmstead, Freeport town manager and chairman of the civic center board of trustees, said a new arena could cost as little as $50 million, though other estimates have been considerably higher.
In the details of the study, though, were signs of a changing dynamic. The city is now willing to alter the streetscape around the civic center, giving it room to expand out, not just up. Renovations can be done in distinct stages or be scaled back, though the most expensive piece would be adding the 3,000 to 4,000 seats needed to make the arena regionally competitive.
These options seem worth pursuing, and the county, city, Pirates organization and, hopefully, the state should share in the $100,000 cost of producing a more detailed analysis of the renovation options.
In the end, an entirely new facility could still be the best course, but the parties should not let pursuit of the perfect outcome undermine a good one. Perhaps a case can be made for a $10 million renovation, or $20 million or $35 million. Yes, that would mean that some parties would have to give up their dream of a new arena, but it might just be good enough to fix up the old one.
As for funding, property taxes in the region are indeed too high. Only the state -- either through direct financial participation or through the authorization of a new tax revenue source -- can make this happen. There is serious talk these days of raising the meals and lodging tax for a variety of purposes, and funding new civic and convention centers would be a logical use for that new revenue.
Action has to start with the key stakeholders figuring out their options, developing a solid plan to either renovate or build new and then taking a concrete proposal to the state for financial help.
With persistence the parties can make sure Portland gets its share of both Hicks and hockey, entertainment that will bring dollars and life to the region.


Reader comments

Steven Scharf of Portland, ME
Oct 28, 2006 11:27 AM
?Even the scoreboard is past its prime, requiring operation without the aid of a modern computer.?

And this is bad because? If the Portland Pirates want a modern scoreboard, let the pay for it.


?Perhaps the biggest obstacle to maximizing the potential of the civic center is limited seating. It holds 8,500 people for concerts, but is competing with venues able to accommodate 12,000 people or more.?

And those additional 3,500 people are going to park where? Even being generous to say four people per car, that is 875 more cars coming into the city. I would suspect, event attendees would more likely come two to a car = 1,750 more cars.

Downtown Portland is no place for such a venue. Where ever it is built, it should be done totally with private funds and should pay property taxes to the community it is located in. The land it occupies in Portland could be better utilized by tax paying entities reducing the tax burden on the residents of Portland.

Steven Scharf
SCSMedia@aol.com

Dick of Freeport, ME
Oct 28, 2006 11:14 AM
Exactly right, JC, civic centers must be convention centers which rely heavily upon local businesses and corporation utilizing their meeting rooms. Take a look at the posh interior of the new Patriots Gillette Stadium's Executive areas and suites for an example, as well as the Augusta site.

The big "however" though, is the fact that Maine has no real businesses left that would use these facilities. No entrepreneur would ever deign to suggest financing such a project because it would never have a return on the investment. Of course, the way the People's Republic of Maine feels, they shouldn't get a return on an investment anyway. That would make them rich Capitalists, one step removed from bigot and racist.

Everything comes back to tax policy and allowing businesses to flourish without taxing and regulating them out of business. They provide the jobs and the mnoney that make the government wheels turn. The Democrats who run this state have killed the golden goose. They now look to tax increases on homeowners and working men and women to finance everything that should come from the private sector, the private sector they have conspired against. You want a new Civic Center? The first step is to throw the Democrats out of office and initiate sweeping tax reforms.

JC Connors of South Portland, ME
Oct 28, 2006 8:35 AM



The Center was built in the wrong place to start with. The parking and traffic are a mess even for the small number of seats that we have now.

The state government has much higher needs to be meet before spending endless millions of Centers.

The CCC is little more the a unfinished barn that offers none to the other needs of a Center.

We had a chance four years ago to have an 11,000 seat Convention Center in York County and it would not of cost tax payers a dime, it was voted down along with the casino.

Sending more money after bad is a bad plan. Having it in Portland is way more costly and dose not address things like parking and there would be no way to expand down the road.

To make the project it should be by revenue bonds not general fund tax dollars.

I would point to the Augusta Civic Center that has programs on going all the time. With meeting and function rooms that are not a eyesore. The rooms are comfortable, there is free parking, it is right of the Turnpike, the noise and traffic before and after an event dose not tie up all of down town.

We were told that the CCC was going to be a major tool for business in down town Portland most if not all them moved out years ago.

If it is a good plan and it can work then investors will take it on. The CCC with a handful of seats will NOT lower the ticket cost, only way to make more event affordable is to build a new Center outside of downtown Portland and to make it a as well as a Convention and meeting center.







Louis of Waterville, ME
Oct 28, 2006 7:31 AM
Certainly a broader discussion is appropriate. The Civic Center is NOT the only venue in Portland or the Greater Portland area. Just who would benefit? And what is the actual need? If the need is there, why is it necessary for the government to do this rather than for-profit entrepreneurs? This really seems like something that should be left to the market, to private business--not looking to socialist state investment to bail out the private sector!

Ed of Yarmouth, ME
Oct 28, 2006 1:20 PM
If TABOR passes, forget about a local option sales tax to fund a new civic center -- or anything else. One day the Portland papers endorse TABOR, the next they propose a major tax increase. Good thinking, guys.

Catharine of Cape Elizabet, me
Oct 28, 2006 1:13 PM
I can't help but note the irony of the PPH editorializing for a tax increase to support civic center improvements and its position on TABOR. The same inconsistency in position can be found in Joe Boulos's support for TABOR and his advocacy for a sales tax increase to fund his pet project.

Both PPH and Boulos criticize the Governor and legislature for their failure to contain the tax burden while also criticizing them for their failure to raise taxes to support the civic center.

The legislature has indeed failed to muster the majority support for this project while attempting to balance the state budget without tax increases. And they have done so without the need for the TABOR override standards to contain their exuberance to raise taxes.

If Joe and the PPH were to have their way, their proposed tax increase would need a 2/3 vote of the legislature and a majority vote in referendum to fund the civic center project. So far this proposal hasn?t been able to muster a minority of support in either party. Whether one considers this project a worthy investment in our economy or not, is this really the decision-making standard thoughtful advocates for a sound economy would want to apply?

Catharine, Cape Elizabeth

Patrick
10-29-2006, 07:44 AM
Diane of New Gloucester, Me
Oct 28, 2006 11:24 PM
We recently attended the concert of the "Gaither's" at the Civic Center. I was totally ashamed to think that these wonderful people had driven all the way to Maine to put on a concert in such a "dump". #1. It is filthy. #2. There is no place to park, only in the parking garage for a gouging fee of $5. And, after the concert, you sit in the middle of Portland traffic for the rest of the night.
Next time people, why don't you build the Civic Center in the middle of Congress Street!!!!!

James Buffet of portland, me
Oct 28, 2006 7:02 PM
I am confused why my last comment was not published. It was essentially praising the approach taken by the author of this editorial in addition to pointing out the critical need for whatever lies ahead for the CCCC to lie in Portland. It makes no sense for a civic arena to be located outside of the economic heart of the region for several reasons. One, and perhaps the most important, reason is the symbiotic relationship that exists between event-goers at the CCCC and surrounding businesses. The businesses should have to pay for a new arena via a meals and lodging tax increase because patrons of the arena visit their stores and boost their sales. Without the arena in Portland, how could this happen? What kind of stores will absorb 10,000 concert-goers in westbrook, south portland, gorham, buxton etc? Get real. It has to be built in Portland. The second reason is common sense: most people live in portland, so build it there for reasons of convenience. In other words, build it in the spot where it would allow the most people to travel the shortest distance. any way you spin it, its portland. We need a 10,000 + seat arena, and we need it bad. otherwise that friendly (and competitive) mill-town in NH will continue to brag about how it is stealing our customers not only in airtravel (something given its proxsimity to boston that we cannot help) but also in entertainment (something we most certaily CAN help).

James Buffet of Portland, ME
Oct 28, 2006 2:28 PM
Excellent editorial. I admire the way the author approached this issue from both angles (rennovation AND building a new arena). The bottom line is that, yes, we do need to act, regardless of which decision prevails. We (i.e. the powers that be) must come to a concensus on the issue and subsequently take the necessary steps to achieve what is eventually (hopefully) agreed upon. To not do so will be to continue to cost the greater Portland region in terms of lost tourism and its related spin-off effects. This is where my next point comes in: It DOES matter where a new arena is built, assuming rennovations are not made instead, and that place SHOULD, nay, MUST be Portland, the economic heart of the state and Northern New England. Anyone who suggests otherwise is lacking knowledge of why civic arenas exist in the first place. They are not there solely for the entertainment of fans--that would be great, though--but they exist in a symbiotic relationship with the businesses around them. Just as television shows bring in viewers for the entertainment they receive and then stick them with ads in between during commercial time, civic centers also draw event-goers in for the fan experience and then surrounding establishments (restaurants, bars, shops etc.) nab them on their way back to their cars. And, just as the businesses running ads in between television and radio shows pay for the existence of the television or radio stations on which they air, businesses in and around the immediate area of a civic arena should similarly foot the bill for that complex's existence. Its only fair. How is that accomplished? Increase the meals and lodging tax. It only makes sense. It won't hurt any of the parties affected, and will in fact help them in the long-run, assuming the county and state have enough ambition to build something that wont need to be replaced in another thirty years. So, my suggestion is this: decide upon what to do, as the above editorial suggests, and then proceed to actually DO IT. And do so by increasing the meals and lodging taxes. Nobody will be hurt, and we will all enjoy a new arena, for sure. Perhaps best of all, we can stop hearing about how Manchester, NH, a mill-town turned renaissance suburb of Boston, is so much more progressive than Portland, the true heart of "the neighborhood" that is Northern New England.

Corey
10-29-2006, 10:21 AM
As far as I know, Buxton is still getting a brand state-of-the-art Hannafords Supermarket, so I'm pretty sure they can easily support a 10,000 seat civic center now. :D

There have been some really good comments on these stories, thanks for posting them Patrick. It's great that a lot of people support building a new structure in Portland!

Patrick
10-29-2006, 12:57 PM
As far as I know, Buxton is still getting a brand state-of-the-art Hannafords Supermarket, so I'm pretty sure they can easily support a 10,000 seat civic center now. :D

There have been some really good comments on these stories, thanks for posting them Patrick. It's great that a lot of people support building a new structure in Portland!

Buxton I dont think is getting a new hannaford's anymore. The parcel I thought it would have been developed on has now been turned into a tru-choice credit union (where 22 crosses 202 by Gorham tractor & equipment and the 3-D variety plaza) I cant imagine where else it would go at that intersection, everything is already develpped.

Patrick
10-31-2006, 11:09 PM
here is a copy of a letter that I will be submitting to the editor of the press herald for publication. wish me luck.

Don't Renovate Civic Center, Build anew in Bayside

Nearly thirty years ago the Cumberland County Civic Center opened its doors, offering top name acts and establishing itself as the premier large-scale entertainment complex in Greater Portland. The passage of time has not been kind to the aging arena, however, and it is now apparent that for the Southern Maine entertainment-related tourism scene to remain regionally competitive, one of two things must happen: either an extensive investment in renovations must be made, or a new and improved structure must be erected elsewhere. Perpetuating the status-quo represents a nonviable business plan for all parties concerned. It was therefore with utter confusion that I attempted to digest Edward D. Murphy's article, "Consensus still eluding parties on civic center" (Oct. 24). In it, the outcome of an unprecedented meeting between Civic Center Trustees, members of the Portland City Council, and Cumberland County commissioners was characterized by discord, as opposed to the desperately-needed general agreement that necessarily must preceed future developments. Issues of controversy included, surprise, renovation versus new construction and the arena's current location versus somewhere new. Based on the following facts, such disagreement is frustratingly difficult to understand. Preliminary estimates claim the cost of renovation may approach the price tag of an entirely new arena, in addition to possibly requiring the alteration of the city's surrounding urban fabric. Investing in a new complex, on the other hand, would ensure the quality of amenities offered would increase exponentially for only a marginally higher cost. That we should build a new civic center is, in my mind, plain to see. Still, Portland Mayor James Cohen believes we should renovate, not replace, the aging stadium. Civic Center trustees, however, have endorsed the idea of a new arena wholeheartedly. It is their vision we should look to, not Cohen's. According to the article, the Mayor stands in opposition to building a new arena elsewhere, for example by a highway exit, because he fears fans may simply leave after events without visiting surrounding business establishments. This may be true of other places, but Portland's up-and-coming Bayside neighborhood represents an opportunity for us to deviate from the national trend and prosper where other municipalities have flopped. In Manchester, NH the Verizon Wireless arena has brought dozens of new restaurants and businessesto town and has played a leading role in the city's recent economic vibrancy . The same could happen here. Considering the self sufficiency of our natinally renowned Old Port district, relocating our civic arena to Bayside, which has already been earmarked for an urban makeover, may significantly aide a depressed part of the city without proving too detrimental to the area it would leave behind. With or without the Civic Center, people will visit the Old Port. Can we say the same about Bayside? It is imperative we realize that a viable plan for a new arena must be proposed, agreed upon, and allowed to reach fruition if we are to alleviate the problems suffered at the current complex on a long-term basis. The City and the County must also realize that building a new civic center close to I-295 as part of the layout envisioned for Bayside's development into an urban gateway would be our wisest move, as it would provide the least hassle associated with vehicular traffic, while at the same time serving as a catalyst for new and continued growth in the area.

grittys457
11-01-2006, 12:32 AM
Would you hurry the hell up and run for council already! 4 more years 4 more years

Smuttynose
11-01-2006, 11:54 AM
Nice letter Patrick. I think it makes a strong argument for a new facility while tackling the tired old excuses for not building one, i.e. cost, taxes. Those were the same opposition arguments made in Manch. Question - How about throwing a non-binding referendum on the ballot in Portland, asking if people support a new CC. That's what they did in Manch, and when it got a majority (just barely) it really got things moving.

Patrick
06-27-2007, 08:31 AM
Civic center face-lift revisited

Janet Marie Smith ushered in a new era of architecture at
baseball stadiums with Camden Yards in Baltimore and shaped
recent changes at Fenway Park in Boston.

Now parties with a stake in the Cumberland County Civic Center
are paying her $175,000 to see how she would renovate the
arena, a building that she evaluated briefly last year.

"This effort is really about taking a step back and looking at the
existing facility," said Portland City Councilor James Cohen,
commenting on Tuesday's announcement.

Cohen is a member of the new task force of city, county, civic
center and Portland Pirates officials who will try to chart the
future of the 6,800-seat arena in downtown Portland.

The move is the latest development in what is now a decade-old
effort to either upgrade or replace the 30-year-old facility,
which is small compared with other entertainment venues of its
kind.

It signals acceptance by civic center trustees that plans to build
a new arena, resisted by lawmakers locally and in Augusta since
the late 1990s, are no longer politically viable.

"If the political realities are such that it's virtually impossible to
get a new facility, we want to pursue alternatives," said Neal
Pratt, a trustee and task force spokesman.

The Legislature effectively killed the last drive for a new arena in
Portland when it adjourned two years ago without voting on a
proposed local-option tax that would have helped fund a $250
million office, hotel and arena complex.

The new task force hired Smith to devise a plan to expand
seating capacity, provide better access for the disabled and add
amenities to better serve fans, athletes and entertainers.

Baltimore-based Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse, her firm, also
will study whether the arena is sound enough to warrant a
phased renovation, task force members said.

County, city, Pirates and civic center representatives gathered
for a summit on the arena in late October. The meeting came
days after Smith, lured by Pirates officials, presented a simple
renovation sketch to arena trustees who had expressed
reservations about the cost of another study.

The four entities later agreed to form a task force on the arena's
future and split the cost of Smith's $175,000 contract. The task
force has not committed to accepting her proposals.

Smith is known for designing Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the
first of several new athletic facilities to incorporate a retro look,
and for her work at Fenway Park.

Portland Pirates CEO Brian Petrovek said Smith has a reputation
for finding ways to "open up" athletic facilities to make them
more attractive, moving concession stands outdoors and
working to incorporate surrounding neighborhoods in the
game-day experience.

Petrovek, a task force member, said her style fits with marketing
studies that show sports fans value things such as bathrooms,
concession stands and a facility's appearance.

"It does not necessarily have to be a 10,000- to 12,000-seat
facility that costs an enormous amount of money," he said.

Smith estimated in the earlier meeting with civic center trustees
that it would cost $35 million to $40 million to renovate the
facility. The price tag, about half the cost of a new facility,
according to some estimates, raised questions about whether
the job was worth the expense.

Task force members said they have asked for a renovation that
could be completed in phases. Smith will present her findings in
about three months.

PAST PROPOSALS
1997: A report concludes that the existing civic center can be

renovated and expanded for $23 million.

1998: The Libra Foundation offers land in Bayside and $20

million to help Portland build a new arena.

1999: The city declines the Libra Foundation's offer, saying it

doesn't want to ask taxpayers to help finance the $46 million

proposal.

2000: A report by Heery International concludes that the civic

center needs $4 million in repairs, and could expand by 2,500

seats with new restrooms and a new faade for $37 million.

2002: Trustees shelve plans to renovate the civic center, saying

it is more prudent to build a new arena. Hugh Farrington, former

CEO of Hannaford Bros., is chosen to lead an eight-member

committee to determine the feasibility of building a new sports/

entertainment complex.

2003: The committee recommends building a new and larger

arena on a parking lot on Congress Street near City Hall, at a

projected cost of $50 million to $60 million.

2005: The Lincoln Center office-hotel-arena complex proposed

for the Congress Street lot dies after the Maine Legislature

chooses not to support public financing.

2006: Janet Marie Smith, the architect who oversaw renovations

at Fenway Park, proposes renovations that would cost $35

million to $40 million.

portlandneedsnewarena
09-13-2007, 07:54 AM
Public meeting being held on Wednesday, September 26 at 5:30 pm at the Penalty Box Grille inside the CCCC. Janet Marie Smith (Architect) will be in attendance as well as the Civic Center board of trustees. More details can be found at the civic center website.

Corey
09-25-2007, 01:55 PM
Has anyone been to any of the public meetings like the one happening tomorrow night? I'd really like to go but I have class right after work tomorrow. Perhaps we can get some first-hand accounts of the talks if anyone here attends.

portlandneedsnewarena
09-25-2007, 03:29 PM
Has anyone been to any of the public meetings like the one happening tomorrow night? I'd really like to go but I have class right after work tomorrow. Perhaps we can get some first-hand accounts of the talks if anyone here attends.
I am planning on attending. If in fact I do, I will fill you in.

portlandneedsnewarena
09-27-2007, 07:36 AM
Has anyone been to any of the public meetings like the one happening tomorrow night? I'd really like to go but I have class right after work tomorrow. Perhaps we can get some first-hand accounts of the talks if anyone here attends.
I am planning on attending. If in fact I do, I will fill you in.
Attended the meeting and this is how I saw it;
1. Architect Janet Marie Smith will do a fabulous job w/ her proposal to make the best of the old relic the CCCC.
2. Portland City Councilors K. Donoghue & D. Marshall who were in attendance were not impressive at all. Especially Marshall who rambled on about idling Tour buses (the ones that the performers use) that pollute the neighborhoods air, green building, etc.. No wonder the City is in jeopardy of screwing up the Maine State Pier project with people like this on the Council.
3. Councilor Jim Cohen and Civic Center board of trustees head Neil Pratt were impressive and had constructive thoughts.
4. To many people got off on closing streets (Free or Spring) to have an atmosphere like what is outside Fenway Park 2 hours prior to a ballgame. Uh, people, this is the home of a hockey team. I don't think to many people are going to want to hang outside in 20 to 30 degree temps in January or February.
5. There was one angry lady w/ sunglasses who wanted to hear nothing of closing off the streets and wanted the Civic Center more integrated w/ the neighborhoods and businesses, in particular the Portland School of Art and some lovely little dance studio near by. She said she had to contain herself from getting angry and not saying what she really wanted to say in regards to some of the comments she was hearing. She kept referring to the Portland Pirates and how their name connected w/ piracy on the internet. A real whack job if you ask me.

Overall, Janet Marie Smith was very interesting and Neil Pratt was worth listening to, but the majority of the people who spoke just don't seam to get it.
Pratt said a new facility wasn't going to happen in the short or mid term and the long term was very iffy.

Corey
09-27-2007, 03:29 PM
Hah, that lady talking about professional hockey and Internet piracy sounds amusing.

Thanks for the report! I agree with your opinions on closing off streets and idling tour buses. I guess if they did a real bang-up job with renovating the current structure I would be fine with not getting a new one in the next few decades.

Patrick
08-24-2009, 08:41 AM
Is it just me or have things progressed kind of slow on this issue?

http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=278768&ac=PHnws

I remember being at the meeting originally set for this topic two years ago, and it is just now producing some results? moreover, and perhaps more annoying, is that the progress that has been made basically says that the issue needs to be studied more. Do these people actually do anything on this issue, or do they just study things and conclude that what they are studying needs more studying? If I could donate a nickel for every stupid task force in the city I'd give it to the civic center trustees and they wouldn't have to wonder how to foot the bill for a new venue.

portlandneedsnewarena
08-24-2009, 10:21 AM
Is it just me or have things progressed kind of slow on this issue?

http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=278768&ac=PHnws

I remember being at the meeting originally set for this topic two years ago, and it is just now producing some results? moreover, and perhaps more annoying, is that the progress that has been made basically says that the issue needs to be studied more. Do these people actually do anything on this issue, or do they just study things and conclude that what they are studying needs more studying? If I could donate a nickel for every stupid task force in the city I'd give it to the civic center trustees and they wouldn't have to wonder how to foot the bill for a new venue.
And 2 years from now they will be having another meeting to discuss the same thing. Very frustrating. I attended the last meeting and for the most part was just a big waste of time.

I was in Springfield, MA last Winter for several days for a youth hockey tournament. Attended a game at the Mass Mutual Center (formerly the Springfield Civic Center). That facility underwent a multi-million dollar renovation a few years ago. The end result is very nice. Modern look to the exterior, wide corridors, very good concession areas, luxury boxes, I assume additional seating, one large and one small sit down restaurant/sports bar, plenty of restrooms, etc. When checking out of my hotel room I noticed a Civic Center renovation tax. It was something like $6 or so. So there is a community that has a meals and lodging tax to pay for a first grade upgrade to an aging facility. I could have cared less that they charged to me a few extra $$. Every time that (meals and lodging tax)comes up in this State the people cry that it is going to hurt tourism and effect the number of people going out to eat. I seriously doubt that would happen.

Patrick
08-25-2009, 09:10 AM
I'm almost beginning to wonder if the civic center should be built elsewhere, in a place like scarborough, that actually seems like it has the motivation and political processes in place to get it built. Today's article says janet marie smith could increase seating capacity by a few hundred only. That doesn't sound too competitive for major acts. one of the comments to the article said build it in scarborugh, which I kind of agree with. Spring street is an ugly stretch that occurred from the same sort of decision making that led to franklin arterial. the only difference is that it doesn't connect to state street like the city planners originally were interested in, so it really doesn't serve any purpose since neither does it connect to franklin. franklin arterial made monument square high rises possible. spring street made, uh, the ugly civ center and the ugly holiday inn possible? get rid of the civic center in portland if it can't be rebuilt elsewhere and replace that whole block with development more appropriate for the urban character of portland. right now spring street is wasted space. plus, civic centers are huge draws for surrounding businesses (portland doesn't need this due to the reputation of the old port) but scarborough, which is considering constructing a town center where scarborough downs is, could certainly benefit from increased foot traffic. scarborough needs to stop riding on the coattails of south portland because in many ways it is beginning to outpace so po in commercial activity. it is time that it had a town center and I think this may just be the place for it. imagine how great a modern arena would be in a town that built something bigger than the portland civic center just to sell outdoor goods...

portlandneedsnewarena
08-25-2009, 10:08 AM
I'm almost beginning to wonder if the civic center should be built elsewhere, in a place like scarborough, that actually seems like it has the motivation and political processes in place to get it built. Today's article says janet marie smith could increase seating capacity by a few hundred only. That doesn't sound too competitive for major acts. one of the comments to the article said build it in scarborugh, which I kind of agree with. Spring street is an ugly stretch that occurred from the same sort of decision making that led to franklin arterial. the only difference is that it doesn't connect to state street like the city planners originally were interested in, so it really doesn't serve any purpose since neither does it connect to franklin. franklin arterial made monument square high rises possible. spring street made, uh, the ugly civ center and the ugly holiday inn possible? get rid of the civic center in portland if it can't be rebuilt elsewhere and replace that whole block with development more appropriate for the urban character of portland. right now spring street is wasted space. plus, civic centers are huge draws for surrounding businesses (portland doesn't need this due to the reputation of the old port) but scarborough, which is considering constructing a town center where scarborough downs is, could certainly benefit from increased foot traffic. scarborough needs to stop riding on the coattails of south portland because in many ways it is beginning to outpace so po in commercial activity. it is time that it had a town center and I think this may just be the place for it. imagine how great a modern arena would be in a town that built something bigger than the portland civic center just to sell outdoor goods...
I have thought that Scarborough would be a good location too (right off the turnpike). Possibly a joint venture between the Portland Pirates and private developers.
Possibly turn the CCCC into a Convention Center.
It's pretty obvious that the current CCCC committee can't get out of there own way and will never get anything major done.
The area needs a new state of the art Arena and the only way it will ever get done is by a private developer. Arena's don't generate enough $$, so I don't see a private developer getting involved.
I think you will see the 30 story high rise before you will ever see a new arena.

Corey
08-25-2009, 10:34 AM
From today's PPH (http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=278933&ac=PHbiz):

County Commissioner Mallory Shaughnessy noted that the civic center didn't make enough money this year to cover its operating expenses, falling several hundred thousand dollars short ? a difference that Cumberland County had to make up. Commissioner Richard Feeney noted that that's happened only three times since 1991.

It is truly a terrible sign when a building of this age no longer covers its own operating expenses. Most everyone has been hoping for a new building or major renovations for the last decade.

I obviously would love for a new arena to stay in downtown Portland. Kansas City recently built the Sprint Center (http://www.sprintcenter.com/default.asp?sprintcenter=88&urlkeyword=Arena_Info) downtown which is the cornerstone of a new entertainment district. If I had to chose a suburban arena like the Meadowlands or an urban one like Madison Square Garden I would chose the urban option in a heartbeat.

I would only support a suburban arena if it is served regularly by some sort of mass transit that involves trains, trams, or anything on rails from Portland and surrounding areas. Any city in America can build a big box stadium surrounded by a sea of parking spaces, at least try something new.

grittys457
08-25-2009, 11:05 AM
I wish I had gone to the meeting now. I knew there would be people there angering
me and I probably would have made a scene.

I'd be okay with the renovations and the little bit of extra seating. Sure we won't get mega concerts but we'll still get the second run of shows and concerts that want to start here to warm up.

It really needs to stay in downtown. I hate seeing those huge parking lots that go from Commercial st and then over fore st. Ideal place to build a new one.

If the arena goes outside of Portland, it will be part of the Stroudwater development in Westbrook. I don't they would put it in Scarborough.

Patrick
08-25-2009, 10:14 PM
all very good and interesting points and comments. Usually I have a strong position on things like this, but this time I am not sure. I guess when it comes down to it, I am for what's best for Portland...I just don't know what that would be. The "region" obviously needs a new civic center to compete for tourists (our state's main industry), but as to whether it goes in Portland or not, I don't think the answer is clear yet for me. But here are some of my thoughts:

For Portland: added vibrancy during shows, increased attention for the city

for the suburbs: civic centers are, to me, just another version of big retail stores typically seen in the suburbs. I know urban centers have had civic arenas forever, but in Portland our civic center came at the expense of a vast inner city multi lane expanse of wasted space 9spring street) and it undoubtedly replaced some interesting and much more dense buildings. Most of the time, nothing is going on at the civic center. I think it would be best to knock that whole ugly block down and replace it with mixed use businesses and residential. I think spring street should be narrowed and the median removed. while walking from congress' arts district to the old port, if you take spring street, there seems to be a disconnect in the urbanness of Portland. urban, suburban, urban again. I know big shows are interesting and all, but they sort of seem like something that should go about by a mall or other retail area. I don't think they mesh well with the urban character of a city. They are venues that are usually built next to easy access transportation facilities (good suggestions for the tram if built in some place like scarborough, corey) and so they remind me more of cabellas than a walkable downtown. I guess if rail could make such a facility feasible, I would be more open to an arena in Portland, but with current transportation options, I say kick this unruly tenant out to the suburbs. lets not forget rail built american cities, and interstate destroyed them.

I suppose an arena could go in bayside, but that is already suburban, so whose to say that scarborough, which may not be technically part of the city but which is close enough by to be considered so by any tourist, wouldn't be just as good. if the arena moves, it has to move to either cacoulidis' property, top of the old port, or one of the properties across from the current location. Or, it would have to go in the burbs. if it stays put, it will be a misguided investment, in my opinion. there is plenty of space around the current facility, I was kind of hoping famed architect JMS would give something a little more inspiring and visionary, given her work in Boston and the fact that she worked so much on the concept. the price tag of renovations is now approaching what it would have cost to build a new arena earlier (and its not all attributable to inflation). the more the city sits on this thing, the more it costs.

I think, in the end, a new arena would be best in scarborugh. scarborugh is closer to saco-biddeford-oob (which draws bigger audiences to these sorts of things, that's why the imax is located there and not portland) and it is also closer to beach tourism in the summer. moreover, it suits the built environment in scarborugh much better than in Portland. I say we should reclaim the civic center space as an urban destination.

That said, it is always exciting to have shows going on in town, so I kind of think it would look ugly in Portland but at the same time enjoy the crowds. Im not sure what to do. I am beginning to see how this could possibly take so long to deliberate (however, I don't get paid to think about it, like some of these foot draggers).

Patrick
12-11-2009, 10:36 AM
Firm hired to study Civic Center options
Submitted by From Staff Reports on Fri, 12/11/2009 - 01:38
in

* Portland Press Herald

PORTLAND ? A consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., has been hired to do an economic feasibility study that will examine renovation options for the Cumberland County Civic Center. Brailsford and Dunlavey was selected from three finalists by members of the Civic Center Joint Task Force.

The study, which will cost $50,000, is expected to start in January.

The consultant will look at the local economy and trends in the
entertainment industry, and will interview local and national experts
in sports and entertainment.

The study is viewed as the final step before developing a plan to renovate the 32-year-old arena.


editorial
"On December 11th, I noticed a peculiar ?Latest News? update on pressherald.com to which I feel compelled to respond. The particular snippet to which I am referring was entitled ?Firm hired to study Civic Center options.? The brief article explains how a Washington, D.C. company was recently tasked with examining the feasibility of renovating the Cumberland County Civic Center. Apparently, this study will cost $50,000. I have a better idea: dispense with discussions about renovations altogether and simply build a new venue out of the cash apparently overflowing from the City?s treasure chest which is currently being, and has already been, spent superfluously on never ending studies. Or better yet, for half the price, I?ll answer the questions evidently posed in the study-request myself: the economy is bad; trends in the entertainment industry are not so good, in no small part due to an outdated and cramped civic arena; and local sports ?experts? want a new facility. Furthermore, for those who missed it, similar questions have been under ?study? for the past decade. What ever happened to those results? At this pace, I might suggest that, rather than investigating novel ways to put lipstick on the pig that is the CCCC, the hired consultants look into plans for renovating whatever replaces the current structure. At least that way the ?analysis paralysis? characteristic of these approaches will have begun to chip away at the problem early enough that it might actually have some value when its recommendations become relevant."

Patrick
12-12-2009, 12:50 AM
http://video.aol.co.uk/video-detail/study-analyzes-civic-center-renovations/530492012

Patrick
12-12-2009, 01:41 AM
http://www.wgme.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wgme_vid_1680.shtml

Patrick
01-03-2010, 10:15 PM
http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/includes/global2/cms/pph/091231/photos/2690276-l.jpg
When allocating millions to improve the local economy, this isn?t where to start, say readers.


Cumberland County Civic Center
On Dec. 11, I noticed a peculiar "Latest News" update on the Web site www.pressherald.com to which I feel compelled to respond.

The particular snippet to which I am referring was titled "Firm hired to study Civic Center options."

The brief article explains how a Washington, D.C., company was recently tasked with examining the feasibility of renovating the Cumberland County Civic Center. Apparently, this study will cost $50,000.

I have a better idea: dispense with discussions about renovations altogether and simply build a new venue out of the cash apparently overflowing from the city's treasure chest, which is currently being, and has already been, spent superfluously on never-ending studies.

Or better yet, for half the price, I'll answer the questions evidently posed in the study request myself: The economy is bad; trends in the entertainment industry are not so good, in no small part due to an outdated and cramped civic arena; and local sports "experts" want a new facility.

Furthermore, for those who missed it, similar questions have been under "study" for the past decade. At this pace, I might suggest that, rather than investigating novel ways to put lipstick on the pig that is the Civic Center, the hired consultants look into plans for renovating whatever replaces the current structure.

At least that way, the "analysis paralysis" characteristic of these approaches will have begun to chip away at the problem early enough that it might actually have some value when its recommendations become relevant.

Patrick Venne

Portland


Waterfront More Important than Civic Center
The Dec. 8 issue contained information about the future use of two public resources; one, a proposal I consider unwise to expand the Cumberland County Civic Center and the other, a wise use of the Maine State Pier.

The two-page ad by the Civic Center was designed "to seek public support for a major expansion in 2012," while your reporter wrote of lobster wholesaler Ready Seafood Co.'s lease of the pier on which it will expand its business by building a 3,000-square-foot tank for live lobsters, using some pier space for trucks, loading and shipping, and other space for delivery by boat.

Hard times require serious measures. With proper planning and cooperation between those who regulate and those who fish the seas, a healthy fishing industry and its many job-related components, can be restored in this port city by putting marine-related space at a premium.

How much more sense marine-related use of our limited public waterfront makes than planting on it another downtown hotel and office building that, if needed at all, could be easily located elsewhere.

And how much more sense it makes, especially in the current economy, to invest our public funds toward the serious enterprise of maintenance of marine-based employment generating infrastructure rather than toward a frivolous expansion of the Civic Center in order to induce bigger shows and circuses to come to town.

After all, wasn't one of the selling points for investing in Amtrak the ease and opportunity of rail travel to Boston's cultural amenities that were not available here?

We don't need to compete with the entertainment capitals of the world. We need to compete as a medium-sized seaport city and to invest our resources accordingly.

R. John Wuesthoff

Portland

M. Brown
01-08-2010, 06:45 AM
Not sure I agree with the reader comments. A civic center is a great money maker for a city. The Verizon Wireless Arena/Civic Center in Manchester did lots to revitalize downtown Manch and its economy. If you atleast renovate the civic center, you can add more seats, attract more business to use the facility for concerts and what have you, and because you will be holding more seats, there will be more people who want to maybe walk to a restaurant downtown or something else to pump money in.

Patrick
01-08-2010, 07:05 AM
I agree. I am the first commenter in the articles above; my editorial was published on 1 January. I was trying to be a bit sarcastic but, not surprisingly, I was seemingly misunderstood. I was not arguing that money should not be spent on the civic center. I was arguing that it should not be spent on studying what to do about the civic center. The reason for this is that a.) such studies have already been done, numerous times, and b.) it is clear that for the very same reasons you listed above, a new structure would tremendously benefit other areas of the city. oh well. major renovations are scheduled for 2012. thats 7 years after boulos proposed a new arena, and more than a decade after the city was offered free land and 20 million to construct a new facility in bayside.

Matt68
01-17-2010, 06:41 AM
Hello All,
I could not agree more with both M.Brown and Patrick's comments. If Portland can renovate the library(which I am happy about and Im sure will look great), why not the Civic Center and The Civic Center generates revenue. As M.Brown correctly points out, there is so much spinoff business to a modern downtown facility which leads to a more vibrant city in general. I too am frustrated with the the endless consultants and studies done on the Civic Center. I wonder what the price tag is to date for the analysis.

Matt

housefull
02-21-2010, 07:16 PM
I agree w/ Dan in Saco completely. Why can't these fools see/agree that the only option is a new arena! Retrofitting the existing Civic Center to the tune of $30 to $45 million dollars would be absolutely foolish. it would just be a cobbled together piece of shit without luxury boxes and it sounds like no more seating. It would be a short term fix and would hardly address all of the problems of the existing Civic Center. These people should focus 100% of there attention on a new arena!!!!!!!!

I added my thoughts on the press herald site, go check it out.


__________________
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Corey
02-22-2010, 12:00 PM
Here is the arena in Albany that the Pirates could possibly move to...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Times_Union_Center

According to the AHL (http://theahl.com/stats/schedule.php?view=attendance) site, Portland has a higher average attendance than Albany (both are below the league average) but if the Pirates moved to Albany I'm sure that attendance would spike due to the affiliation with Buffalo. Albany has a nicer arena and is closer to Buffalo so those are strong arguments for relocating the Buffalo Sabres affiliate to that market.

I agree that we should be looking at a replacement for the Civic Center at this point. The Civic Center is like an old car (not an antique, like Fenway or Wrigley Field) and at some point it's going to make more sense to get a new car instead of making all the costly upgrades.

Lrfox
02-22-2010, 04:13 PM
^I can't see Portland losing the Pirates. A friend of mine was an assistant coach with the Providence Bruins (now with the NY Islanders) and he used to get us tickets and hotels to road games. Whenever the team was in Portland while I was at school there, I always went. I've been to PVD, Worcester, Springfield, Manchester, Portland, Scranton and Syracuse to see games and none of those fan bases were as into their AHL Hockey as Portland. I know Providence has higher attendance, but it also has a much larger arena (I think 2x the size of Portland). The fans in Providence really don't care as much about AHL as they do in Portland. They like the idea of future Bruins, but could care less about the team as a whole.

I think Portland, being so far from the base of the pro team, is in a good position actually. The fans dig it. It's a hockey town. Even if the Sabres moved their affiliate to Albany, Portland would get a team (even in the CCCC) because it's just too big of a deal in Portland.

Portlander
06-02-2010, 09:34 PM
Just returned home from the Civic Center after seeing an outstanding performance by The Steve Miller Band. Half house set up, probably around 3500 in attendance. Steve played for nearly two hours and did not leave out any of the hits. Encore wrapped up with "The Joker", "Jungle Love" and "Fly Like an Eagle". Was trying to imagine what it will be like someday to watch a concert in a brand new arena? Oh well, I'd settle for a expanded/renovated Civic Center at this point :)

Portlander
08-04-2010, 08:36 PM
NEWS FLASH! The Civic Center Board of Trustees are forming a task force to study renovation options for our 33 year old arena. The board hopes a bond referendum can be on the November ballot and renovations to the structure could begin as early as 2012. This review is moving forward regardless of any potential Westbrook plans. Please stay tuned!

Now for my two cents. I wish them success with their mission, but if they do not increase the seating capacity by at least 800 seats (knocking out the four corners) it will be a waste of time and money! This increase in seating will bring the hockey capacity up to 7,500, basketball up to 8,800 and concerts close to 9,500 depending on the configuration.

This will still put us behind the Verizon Wireless Arena in capacity but should make Portland a little more competitive in Northern New England market than it is now. Bangor is really pushing for a new arena with it's Hollywood Slots revenue, but it is expected to be only around 6,500 seats if and when it happens.

Patrick
08-04-2010, 08:50 PM
What a waste of time. The whole point of having a civic arena is to draw customers in for surrounding businesses. The spinoff effects are the only way an arena is justifiable on a cost basis. Now, it is common knowledge that to be competitive with the arenas in southern new england (including the verizon, which is only 50 miles from So. N.E.) we will have to have much more loading space, more modern amenities, and more seating capacity. The boulos proposal in 2005 would have been PERFECT. This new renovation proposal is a waste of money. The trustees endorse building a new arena, but they don't have the necessary political or financial support to pursue this option. Naming rights might be an easy solution. I hope it stays in Portland, but I also hope it is torn down and built anew. Spring street is an urban wasteland and needs a major makeover. Time for a new arena. Time for a convention center. Time for a lot of new development in that area. This is frustrating.

Patrick
09-23-2010, 12:18 PM
Im not so sure turning the CCCC into a convention center is a wise idea. I remember reading a while back that most companies are meeting via internet these days. But maybe I am wrong. A civic center should stay in the downtown, as should everything else, in my opinion. Why turn westbrook into a theme park like the mall. build in portland. and, 8,000 seats is hardly enough to attract big names. I know more than that wouldn't be used on a regular basis, but they should be around for the few big occasions. Article in today's paper speaks about the civ center a bit. Snyder still wants to build in westbrook, for 60 mill, but the CCCC trustees don't think that's possible for that price. bickering continues.

Corey
09-23-2010, 08:47 PM
I too think it would be a terrible move to build a new civic center outside of Portland.

It seems like the civic center operators (trustees, committee members, whoever it is that calls the shots) is an indecisive bunch. How long have they been doing studies on this topic? The building obviously needs to be renovated or replaced. I hope they move forward either way sometime soon.

In regards to convention centers, I think that constructing a new arena with some sort of convention center capacity would make more sense than two completely separate complexes. There are plenty of days where there aren't sporting or concert events when the whole space could be converted to a modern convention center.

Corey
08-04-2011, 06:54 AM
There is literally a news story every week about how the civic center needs renovations and the Pirates organization negotiating their lease. Here's this week's story:

Pirates' future at civic center depends on bond (http://www.pressherald.com/news/pirates-future-at-civic-center-depends-on-bond_2011-08-04.html)

If voters OK funding for renovations, the team will agree to extend its lease.

http://www.pressherald.com/news/pirates-future-at-civic-center-depends-on-bond_2011-08-04.html



PORTLAND A vote in November on renovations to the Cumberland County Civic Center could determine whether the Portland Pirates stay here or leave town.


On Wednesday, the civic center's trustees recommended a bond of as much as $33 million to renovate the 34-year-old arena in downtown Portland. That recommendation needs approval from the county commissioners Monday to go on the ballot.

...


Although Petrovek wouldn't address the possibility directly, the deal leaves the option for the team to leave if the bond fails. The Pirates considered moving to Albany, N.Y., as recently as last year.

...


The civic center lost about $137,000 last year but has made money in six of the past eight years, according to county financial documents. Those numbers don't include about $736,000 that the county has spent on civic center capital improvements during that period.

Corey
09-08-2011, 05:39 PM
I saw an article in the Daily Sun (http://portlanddailysun.me/opinion/story/civic-center-bond-should-unite-voters-opposition) today by our own Cneal concerning the upcoming bond question for the Civic Center. There are some good reasons for voting no.

Also, in the same day's paper is an article (http://portlanddailysun.me/news/story/architects-group-discuss-options-revitalizing-spring-street-highway) about an upcoming event by the Portland Society of Architects (does anyone on this forum belong to the group?) that will look at ways to improve the highway-like section of Spring Street that runs from High Street to Middle Street. Some interesting parallels between the envisioned Franklin Street makeover and the possibilities for Spring Street.

Patrick
09-08-2011, 06:18 PM
I saw an article in the Daily Sun (http://portlanddailysun.me/opinion/story/civic-center-bond-should-unite-voters-opposition) today by our own Cneal concerning the upcoming bond question for the Civic Center. There are some good reasons for voting no.

Also, in the same day's paper is an article (http://portlanddailysun.me/news/story/architects-group-discuss-options-revitalizing-spring-street-highway) about an upcoming event by the Portland Society of Architects (does anyone on this forum belong to the group?) that will look at ways to improve the highway-like section of Spring Street that runs from High Street to Middle Street. Some interesting parallels between the envisioned Franklin Street makeover and the possibilities for Spring Street.

Hi Corey -

Thanks for the update. I haven't yet read the article in the Sun, but for my own set of reasons I am totally opposed to this idea of renovating the civic center. A lot of people in the media have said they have been swayed by the design concept, but I think it is a waste of money to renovate that thing. It should really be demolished, replaced with more urban development, and replaced elsewhere. It is a draw to surrounding business, and the businesses surrounding it no longer need a draw--they stand on their own, as it were. Bayside, however, offers land and a need for such a structure. Imagine how great Free Street could be if it looked the same on the South as it does on the North of it.

Also, I am a member of the PSA advocacy committee, where this topic of Spring Street has been discussed for a while now. Although I am not an architect, they have been very welcoming of me, when I show up (which is infrequently), and they often discuss planning issues as well.

Patrick
09-09-2011, 12:53 AM
Edit - after reading the flyer of PSA, it appears I'm not actually a member after all...woops. There is a yearly registration fee....but I have been attending advocacy meetings and receiving listserv emails since the Veteran's Memorial Bridge design process began, and would encourage anyone interested to look into joining this thought provoking group, which includes some top notch architects, progressive thinkers, and at least one member of the Planning Board (who may have resigned due to conflict of interest). I may just pay the $50 to become an "official" member of the group, attend the event, and submit some of my drawings for the area, which would be really fun. If I do, I'll keep you guys in the loop.

grittys457
09-14-2011, 07:15 AM
Civic center drawings to be unveiled today. Hopefully they look professionally done.

Patrick
09-14-2011, 10:53 AM
where and when?

grittys457
09-14-2011, 02:41 PM
Go to the pirates website and watch ch 13 tonight

Patrick
09-14-2011, 03:06 PM
While anything will be an improvement, this is a dated looking design already.

http://www.portlandpirates.com/SPRINGSTENTRANCE.jpg
http://www.portlandpirates.com/FREESTENTRANCE.jpg

Corey
09-14-2011, 03:20 PM
I like the idea of using the wasted space along the Free Street entrance and livening up the exterior a bit. Though it all seems like pretty small improvements, even factoring in the upgrades inside.

Seanflynn78
09-16-2011, 05:49 AM
Corey, I agree with you on the improvements. I think this project is very short sighted and the arena will need to be replaced in another 15-20 years since other arenas of the same size and shape have been built/being built within a couple hours of Portland. Also this arena should be privately financed atleast a certain percentage of it. While I don't like seeing an arena built away from downtown, I wouldnt be surprised if the Red Claws ownership group is waiting to see how this proposal goes once voters have their say. I can see Thompson's point changing again if the arena plans do not pass in November. I think they should redesign the current civic center into a full-time convention center and build a 10k arena on Congress street, similar to the one proposed a few years back. Something will have to give when this goes to the voters in November.

Portlander
09-16-2011, 08:38 AM
Turning the CCCC into a true convention center would be difficult due to it's small footprint and the cost and amount of construction required to demolish large portions of the building to make it multi level facility. Modern convention facilities require large open floor spaces that can be expanded to accommodate up to 100K square foot of display area. A recent study has shown that this conversion is just not feasible. Would make more financial sense to add a 1000 seats by finishing out the four corners and keeping the building as originally intended. Unfortunately we are getting the renovation without the expansion!

Patrick
09-16-2011, 11:31 AM
I think the cccc should be demolished and replaced with development of the sort along most of free street. of course, Spring street isn't made for that type of development, so what then? The whole spring street issue needs to be addressed for better design. a new arena would have been great in several locations in the old port or bayside, while opening up the existing land for more cohesive urban-ness.

grittys457
10-10-2011, 10:14 AM
I starting to think that the one saving thing to get this renovation passed is that Portland's mayor is also on the same ballot. That will pull in the people who are more likely to vote yes, people from Portland. Without the mayoral race being on there, I think this project gets defeated soundly

Patrick
10-10-2011, 10:39 AM
I starting to think that the one saving thing to get this renovation passed is that Portland's mayor is also on the same ballot. That will pull in the people who are more likely to vote yes, people from Portland. Without the mayoral race being on there, I think this project gets defeated soundly

I think part of the reason nothing has been done is that many people don't actually keep track of how long this process has been going on, with no results. A recent article in the Portland Daily Sun said renovations or replacement had been under study since at least 2004. Try 1999 at the latest. In 2004 there was a proposal to build the new 10,000 seater on the Top of the Old Port, which in my opinion should have been accepted with open arms by both the city and the state. Instead, we have a parking lot, and people still think of Portland as a small vacation town, instead of a city. I think the renovation should not be accepted by voters. The thing needs to be removed from the urban fabric of downtown and put somewhere where it can make a difference--Bayside. It would be really nice if someone offered free land and $20 million to facilitate such a move. Oh wait, that was rejected, too....

portlandneedsnewarena
11-02-2011, 09:44 AM
Does anyone have any idea why there has been absolutely no advertisements on TV or in the newspaper promoting the proposed Civic Center renovation vote (at least I haven't seen any)? Is it that they don't want to make the people in the outlying Cumberland County communities aware of the upcoming vote and fearing that they will go to the polls and vote against it. Probably hoping that the large turnout for the Portland Mayor vote will help put the Civic Center vote over the top assuming a large portion of Portland residents will vote for the renovation.
I will probably vote for it, fearing that nothing else will get done for another 5 + years if this doesn't pass. Not overly impressed with the Architectural renderings though.

Patrick
11-02-2011, 11:48 AM
I assume you are absolutely correct. That and money. Also would it be ethical to advocate as opposed to provide the electorate with neutral info and let it decide? That might be another issue.

mainejeff
11-02-2011, 11:56 PM
I think part of the reason nothing has been done is that many people don't actually keep track of how long this process has been going on, with no results. A recent article in the Portland Daily Sun said renovations or replacement had been under study since at least 2004. Try 1999 at the latest. In 2004 there was a proposal to build the new 10,000 seater on the Top of the Old Port, which in my opinion should have been accepted with open arms by both the city and the state. Instead, we have a parking lot, and people still think of Portland as a small vacation town, instead of a city. I think the renovation should not be accepted by voters. The thing needs to be removed from the urban fabric of downtown and put somewhere where it can make a difference--Bayside. It would be really nice if someone offered free land and $20 million to facilitate such a move. Oh wait, that was rejected, too....

A little late to the party but........Amen Patrick!

portlandneedsnewarena
11-03-2011, 07:07 AM
I finally heard a radio ad for the Civic Center renovation on my drive home last night. It wasn't overly convincing. Basically, that it will create 170 + jobs in construction, bring in more visitors & money to the region and then a woman comes on and says "my kids love going to the Civic Center to see the ice shows and my husband and I love the hockey games". It was pretty weak.

Corey
11-03-2011, 10:04 AM
I ended up voting yes for the Civic Center bond (by absentee ballot). It appears that we will be stuck with the building for a long while, so I support making a few upgrades in the short term. The city council and League of Young Voters also endorsed the bond so that helped sway me. I don't think it's going to pass but that's my guess. Will be interesting to see the split of yes/no votes by town and if Portland has any notable increase in turnout due to the mayoral election.

Portlander
11-09-2011, 06:54 AM
Am happy to see that Cumberland County voted in favor of renovations to the Civic Center. Would have preferred a new arena but will take what we can get with the current building. Now that the $33 million is approved, maybe we can still add some seats on the west end of the structure when the project is put out to bid seeing that construction cost are at a current bargain. Knocking out the two corners at the non stage end would add around 400 seats and bring the permanent number up to 7100 compared to 5800 for Bangor's new arena. Maybe naming rights can assist in this modest expansion?

portlandneedsnewarena
11-09-2011, 09:54 AM
Am happy to see that Cumberland County voted in favor of renovations to the Civic Center. Would have preferred a new arena but will take what we can get with the current building. Now that the $33 million is approved, maybe we can still add some seats on the west end of the structure when the project is put out to bid seeing that construction cost are at a current bargain. Knocking out the two corners at the non stage end would add around 400 seats and bring the permanent number up to 7100 compared to 5800 for Bangor's new arena. Maybe naming rights can assist in this modest expansion?

I agree with you completely. I would prefer a new 9,000 to 10,000 seat arena down at Bayside but unfortunately that probably won't happen for another 20 years. Looking forward to seeing the final plans for the renovation.

Corey
11-10-2011, 05:27 AM
I'm pretty surprised this bond passed, I thought I had voted for the underdog. I echo others in saying that a new Civic Center or a drastically improved current one would be great, but in the meanwhile I think these improvements are a step in the right direction.

From the PPH today:

Civic center officials moving fast on renovation (http://www.pressherald.com/news/arena-officials-moving-fast-on-renovation_2011-11-10.html)
Planning will start next week for work to begin in the summer, with a preference given to Maine firms.

Neal Pratt, chairman of the civic center's board, said the panel hopes to name a building committee and possibly hire an architect next week. He said the intent is for plans to be advanced enough for work in the arena's seating "bowl" to begin next summer.

Patrick
11-11-2011, 09:05 AM
In a sense, this will be a very sustainable development, because it will re-use rather than rebuild. However, in my opinion the structure has no business being located where it is, at least not these days. Civic centers are attractions to thousands of people per event, who after the show, so the theory goes, enter the surrounding area and increase business at surrounding shops, restaurants, etc. Bayside needs this kind of foot traffic, not the Old Port, which stands on its own now. Maybe the story was different when the civic center was originally built, but look at things now.

One thing I am glad about, though, is that the Free Street side will have that empty space turned into windows, which will make it more urban. Free street has a lot of potential.

Corey
11-11-2011, 11:59 AM
One thing I am glad about, though, is that the Free Street side will have that empty space turned into windows, which will make it more urban. Free street has a lot of potential.

I agree, the Free Street side will be a nice addition. The Spring Street side doesn't seem like much of an improvement, in the renderings it actually appears to add more blank walls.

Free Street has a ton of potential. I feel the same way about Cumberland Avenue. These two streets run parallel to Congress Street downtown, and it would be great to see the activity on Congress Street spread out to these surrounding streets. Oak Street Lofts is a good example of filling the gap between Congress and Cumberland. The parking lots along Free Street near the Civic Center are seem like great opportunities as well.

Matt68
11-11-2011, 05:41 PM
I am sooooo glad this bond passed- well done Cumberland County ! I really like the CCCC paticularly because it is in the heart of downtown and a renovated CCCC can only enhance the vibrancy and vitality of the city. In addition, there is so much "spinoff" business from a busy CCCC.

Matt

Seanflynn78
11-15-2011, 04:27 PM
It would be great if they would add atleast another 1,000 seats to the arena so they can compete with Manchester for some of the major concerts. Seems very short sighted not to have a capacity expansion when renovating this outdated arena. I agree with Patrick, build the arena in the Bayside area and turn the arena into a full scale convention center.

portlandneedsnewarena
11-16-2011, 01:12 PM
It would be great if they would add atleast another 1,000 seats to the arena so they can compete with Manchester for some of the major concerts. Seems very short sighted not to have a capacity expansion when renovating this outdated arena. I agree with Patrick, build the arena in the Bayside area and turn the arena into a full scale convention center.
They should fill in the corners at one end with additional seating. Portland should have an arena that has at the very least 8,000 fixed seats. I believe it now seats in the 6,700 range.

Matt68
11-16-2011, 04:11 PM
Kudos to Seanflynn78 about expanding to capcity to compete with Manchester Verizon Arena( beautiful building by the way and Manchester should be proud.) It is an excellent point and I too would love to see additiona seating to further enhance competiveness of CCCC.

Matt

FrankLloydMike
11-17-2011, 11:50 AM
I could be wrong about this--it's entirely based on personal speculation--but I wonder if the capacity is more of a concern in Manchester, which has to compete in essentially the same market as arenas in Boston, Lowell and other nearby cities. Portland and Manchester are different cities, but Portland in general seems to be a bit more self-sufficient than Manchester, which is in sort of a grey area between an independent city and a satellite of Boston. My assumption would be that this goes for Portland, as well. It's a much longer drive or train ride from Portland to Boston than it is from Manchester to Boston, or even Lowell. While a bigger arena probably wouldn't hurt--and while I think it would do a ton of good in Bayside--I wonder if 8,000 seats in Portland is just as good as 10,000 or whatever it is in Manchester.

As for the architecture, the renovation looks like it will do a good job of adding some energy and interest along the street. That's something that is lacking at the current arena, as well as at the Verizon in Manchester, in my opinion. While I like the look of the Verizon from afar and the entrance plaza and glass wall are great during an event, it is far too blank along Lake Ave and the setbacks create a weird dead zone along the sides. Pushing it up to the street and adding retail or something along street level, as well as getting rid of that electronic sign at the intersection, would have made it much more urban I think. Especially after the renovations, CCCC should be much more urban-appropriate and interesting from the street than the Verizon, in my opinion.

Patrick
11-20-2011, 10:01 AM
I could be wrong about this--it's entirely based on personal speculation--but I wonder if the capacity is more of a concern in Manchester, which has to compete in essentially the same market as arenas in Boston, Lowell and other nearby cities. Portland and Manchester are different cities, but Portland in general seems to be a bit more self-sufficient than Manchester, which is in sort of a grey area between an independent city and a satellite of Boston. My assumption would be that this goes for Portland, as well. It's a much longer drive or train ride from Portland to Boston than it is from Manchester to Boston, or even Lowell. While a bigger arena probably wouldn't hurt--and while I think it would do a ton of good in Bayside--I wonder if 8,000 seats in Portland is just as good as 10,000 or whatever it is in Manchester.

As for the architecture, the renovation looks like it will do a good job of adding some energy and interest along the street. That's something that is lacking at the current arena, as well as at the Verizon in Manchester, in my opinion. While I like the look of the Verizon from afar and the entrance plaza and glass wall are great during an event, it is far too blank along Lake Ave and the setbacks create a weird dead zone along the sides. Pushing it up to the street and adding retail or something along street level, as well as getting rid of that electronic sign at the intersection, would have made it much more urban I think. Especially after the renovations, CCCC should be much more urban-appropriate and interesting from the street than the Verizon, in my opinion.

You are right. But I don't think the phrase "competing with" is used in the sense that a show would choose Portland or Manchester, Lowell, Providence, etc., rather I think it is used in the sense that we want to appeal to the same caliber of shows that plays those markets. In Manchester, the word competing actually means a show could choose Lowell or Manchester, because they are so close. In Portland it means we want Rihanna (just happens to be on the radio), and other big ticket pop sell out names, not Disney on Ice and boat shows. Just like our cruise ship facility now attracts and can accommodate the largest ship in the world, whereas before we were limited to smaller ships, we want the big shows with big attendances and big pay offs for the surrounding businesses. It's essentially a way to capture more of the monthly leisure budget of the people in the suburbs who only come here for shows and otherwise shop in the burbs.

I think you are also right on the streetscape in improvements, the one really redeeming factor of this proposal. The building juts out as an upside down triangle now, with no windows. Filling that area with usable space will be a great albeit imperfect improvement.

mainejeff
11-21-2011, 04:44 PM
You are right. But I don't think the phrase "competing with" is used in the sense that a show would choose Portland or Manchester, Lowell, Providence, etc., rather I think it is used in the sense that we want to appeal to the same caliber of shows that plays those markets. In Manchester, the word competing actually means a show could choose Lowell or Manchester, because they are so close. In Portland it means we want Rihanna (just happens to be on the radio), and other big ticket pop sell out names, not Disney on Ice and boat shows. Just like our cruise ship facility now attracts and can accommodate the largest ship in the world, whereas before we were limited to smaller ships, we want the big shows with big attendances and big pay offs for the surrounding businesses. It's essentially a way to capture more of the monthly leisure budget of the people in the suburbs who only come here for shows and otherwise shop in the burbs.

I think you are also right on the streetscape in improvements, the one really redeeming factor of this proposal. The building juts out as an upside down triangle now, with no windows. Filling that area with usable space will be a great albeit imperfect improvement.

With concert capacity topping out around 8,000.......I'm thinking that Bangor will also be in the mix for some of the same types of shows......especially considering that it will be a 100% new facility. I can see a Manchester show bypassing Portland for Bangor (especially country and classic rock).

Portlander
11-21-2011, 05:32 PM
Bangor's new arena will potentially attract a few shows that would have stopped in Portland when it opens and for a short period until the newness wears off. With around 1000 less seats than the Civic Center and an additional 130 miles further north, Bangor will be a tougher sell for promoters that can only bring one show to Maine. Once the CCCC's renovations are completed, Bangor's arena will have to work even harder to attract business.

That said, I am pleased that Bangor is getting an attractive new arena, it is well deserved and long overdue. Surprised that it will not be ice capable, probably due to the Alfond Arena being located a short distance away. And remember, Bangor will also have to compete with the Augusta Civic Center which will have a similar seating capacity, no ice and is only an hour north of Portland. If the voters did not approve the renovations/expansion of the Civic Center it would have been sad for southern Maine.

mainejeff
11-21-2011, 06:23 PM
Bangor's new arena will potentially attract a few shows that would have stopped in Portland when it opens and for a short period until the newness wears off. With around 1000 less seats than the Civic Center and an additional 130 miles further north, Bangor will be a tougher sell for promoters that can only bring one show to Maine. Once the CCCC's renovations are completed, Bangor's arena will have to work even harder to attract business.

That said, I am pleased that Bangor is getting an attractive new arena, it is well deserved and long overdue. Surprised that it will not be ice capable, probably due to the Alfond Arena being located a short distance away. And remember, Bangor will also have to compete with the Augusta Civic Center which will have a similar seating capacity, no ice and is only an hour north of Portland. If the voters did not approve the renovations/expansion of the Civic Center it would have been sad for southern Maine.

One thing to remember regarding Bangor is that they have a HUGE advantage having an "in" with Live Nation due the city's relationship with promoter Alex Gray and his very successful Waterfront Concerts series.

portlandneedsnewarena
03-06-2012, 03:03 PM
On the Cianbro website www.cianbro.com is an architectural rendering of what the entrance of the Civic Center will look like from the Spring Street/Center Street area. First time I have seen this rendering and not sure if it the final design. Cianbro was selected as the construction manager for the project.

toddc
03-06-2012, 04:27 PM
The Design on the website is actually not bad....I hope it turns out to look that, I expected far less to be honest

Corey
03-06-2012, 05:33 PM
http://www.cianbro.com/Portals/1/Graphics/Homepage%20Banner/civiccenter.jpg

Wow, pretty interesting. I don't recall previously seeing any renderings of this corner of the Civic Center. It's quite an improvement over what is there now. I like how it comes right up to the street too, that is one of my expectations for urban buildings. The blatant Dunkin Donuts advertising is interesting too. Although Dunkin Donuts Center is already taken by Providence, I fully support the civic center selling it's naming rights in exchange for money and there are numerous local or regional companies that may be interested.

Patrick
03-06-2012, 09:53 PM
http://www.cianbro.com/Portals/1/Graphics/Homepage%20Banner/civiccenter.jpg

Wow, pretty interesting. I don't recall previously seeing any renderings of this corner of the Civic Center. It's quite an improvement over what is there now. I like how it comes right up to the street too, that is one of my expectations for urban buildings. The blatant Dunkin Donuts advertising is interesting too. Although Dunkin Donuts Center is already taken by Providence, I fully support the civic center selling it's naming rights in exchange for money and there are numerous local or regional companies that may be interested.

I like it. Could it be better? Sure, but I really like it. The glass facade lit up during shows will look phenomenal, especially from the harbor.

grittys457
03-06-2012, 11:16 PM
Was just there tonight for the black keys concert.

A guy from a competing company who lost the bid thought he heard Cianbro might bump out the four corners inside. That would open up a ton more space for seats but would it structurally be possible to move those giant supports?

Portlander
03-07-2012, 06:57 AM
After a discussion with the lead architect a few weeks ago, the possibility of knocking out the four corners is not a feasible option due to costs and sight lines. To remove the four supports would require a huge structural makeover which is not in the budget.

However, they are looking very hard at adding 1000-1400 seats based on a unique riser system that would require removal of a portion of the concrete base along the floor level and moving the concert stage further to the east. Increased seating capacity would be for concerts only and would have little or no gains on the Civic Center's permanent seating capacity of approximately 6800.

For this increase in seating to become a reality, Cianbro would need to squeeze a little more out of the 33M budget. Latest word is that they have found a way to add some additional seating for concerts which enabled them to win the construction contract. Stay tuned, this will help Portland compete more effectively for shows north of Boston. Even if there are no seating gains, we will still have a "respectable" newly renovated arena that will have around 1000 more seats than Bangor's new building along with the added bonus of ice.

grittys457
03-07-2012, 07:55 AM
My feelings too Portlander. After going there last night and seeing how many people were in there and the Black Keys saying they'll be back and it was one of the best crowds they've played to in a long time, it's more about making the place look and feel better. You can still draw big time shows with a renovated arena, you just won't get the super huge shows. Still we might get back on the map for what it used to be which was the starting point for many big tours. The CCCC was always a get the kinks out before you really hit the road for bands. That's alright, that means you get them while they're fresh.

The guy I talk to who's company lost the bid for the CCCC said he's in a good position to get the Forefront Thompson's point project so hopefully I'll have a good connection from him.

Portlander
03-07-2012, 01:37 PM
grittys, not sure if this a good sign or not but on Cianbro's web page on CCCC improvements it does list additional seating separate from premium seating which is the first time I have seen this possibility in print.

The Civic Center could still be an excellent arena for touring acts to rehearse and commence their tours from. A refurbished building located on the coast of Maine can be a huge plus and prominent artists could still put on multiple shows on successive nights. I remember Garth Brooks bringing in 40,000 plus for five nights many years ago (I was not one of the 40,000).

portlandneedsnewarena
03-09-2012, 07:01 AM
http://www.cianbro.com/Portals/1/Graphics/Homepage%20Banner/civiccenter.jpg

Wow, pretty interesting. I don't recall previously seeing any renderings of this corner of the Civic Center. It's quite an improvement over what is there now. I like how it comes right up to the street too, that is one of my expectations for urban buildings. The blatant Dunkin Donuts advertising is interesting too. Although Dunkin Donuts Center is already taken by Providence, I fully support the civic center selling it's naming rights in exchange for money and there are numerous local or regional companies that may be interested.


I was always under the impression that the outside wall/roof area that angles down would be brought straight down almost in line with the inside edge of the sidewalk so that they could actually widen the Concourse area. Otherwise, I don't see how they increase the width of the Concourse which is supposed to be one of the major improvements.

Portlander
05-28-2012, 05:13 PM
Cumberland County Civic Center update:

If the recently submitted plans remain the same, the Civic Center will have a modest gain of 243 permanent seats. This number accounts for losses due to 2010 ADA requirements along with additions from the 10 proposed premium/club/luxury seating areas. This will bring the arena's capacity for hockey and ice shows to 7,000. The overall size of the expanded building will increase by 41,000 sf for a new grand total of 186,000 sf.

On a more positive side, the capacity for end stage concerts will increase by 500+ seats. This will be accomplished by moving the stage further to the east (Center Street) and removing a section of the present fixed seating area in order to create a new "cut out" for the new stage location. Permanent seats on the east end will be replaced with telescopic seating to help accomplish this goal. This should work well due to a majority of concerts utilize the end stage configuration and the seating area behind the stage is rarely used. This unique approach will allow for the placement of more floors seats and added usage of the fixed seating on the arena's sides. Total capacity for concerts will increase to 9,000.

This will maintain Portland's position of having Maine's largest arena by around 1200 seats over Bangor's new facility. Other advantages over Bangor includes the ability to make ice and being geographically located two hours closer to the rest of the country. Also in the current renovation plans are the addition of two more loading bays that will be angled at a more manageable position off Center Street to greatly improve loading and unloading capabilities. These are all important factors promoters must consider when it comes to bringing only one show north of Boston and or Manchester.

Though I personally would have preferred a new 10,000+ seat arena, I feel the architects squeezed as much out of the 35 year old building as possible considering the $33 million budget and it also remains downtown. One final note, the MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA was renovated several years ago at a cost of $71+ million and it's seating capacity will be actually a little less than the CCCC and it's building layout is almost identical. Springfield also got an attached convention center included in that 2005 price tag and it has to compete with Albany, Hartford and Worcester for shows. However, Springfield's population is around 155,000 compared to Portland at 66,000 which makes me feel that we are doing just fine for a city of our size!

Corey
05-29-2012, 07:05 AM
Some updated renderings from the PDF on the Planning Board website (http://www.ci.portland.me.us/planning.htm):

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-cbURZUDt_50/T8S7KLRr4tI/AAAAAAAAHFQ/r4upYPiQnfM/s712/cccc1.png

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-_SoJhIZbDz4/T8S7KJmTsvI/AAAAAAAAHFQ/EjntkoYoyU4/s756/cccc3.png

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-SLxM3UsjHV4/T8S7K1Ic9eI/AAAAAAAAHFQ/p-fkfSzSHSw/s759/cccc4.png

toddc
05-29-2012, 10:28 AM
The renderings look pretty good......a big improvement

grittys457
06-13-2012, 11:26 AM
Sounds pretty logical

Civic Center building panel reconfigures plan for suites

PORTLAND The committee overseeing the renovation of the Cumberland County Civic Center is looking at building a bank of suites on the building's west end to make them more attractive for leasing during concerts.

The new plan approved at a meeting this morning would retain four ice-level "bunker suites" and two suites on the concourse level on the west end, while eliminating two suites on the concourse level at the east end.

The proposal, which will be reviewed by consultants analyzing the marketability of premium seating for the arena, also calls for two suites on an intermediate level on the west end and two "sky level" suites on the west end.

Set up for concerts, the west end suites would face the stage, while the east end suites would be behind the stage.

The committee rejected a proposal for four top-level "sky club" suites connected by walkways ringing the arena, which would have cost $2.5 million.

Conventions, Sports & Leisue, a consulting firm, said four sky level suites, along with 260 sky club seats on the walkways connecting the suites, are too much for the market, based on the region's demographics and the number of companies that would likely be interested in buying suites. The consultant's also said that most premium seating in the renovated arena would recoup the cost within two years, but it would take nine years to recoup the cost of the sky club-level seats.

The committee is scheduled to meet again in two weeks to complete the planning process and allow architects to move ahead with final drawings for the $33 million renovation.

portlandneedsnewarena
06-13-2012, 12:40 PM
Sounds pretty logical

Civic Center building panel reconfigures plan for suites

PORTLAND The committee overseeing the renovation of the Cumberland County Civic Center is looking at building a bank of suites on the building's west end to make them more attractive for leasing during concerts.

The new plan approved at a meeting this morning would retain four ice-level "bunker suites" and two suites on the concourse level on the west end, while eliminating two suites on the concourse level at the east end.

The proposal, which will be reviewed by consultants analyzing the marketability of premium seating for the arena, also calls for two suites on an intermediate level on the west end and two "sky level" suites on the west end.

Set up for concerts, the west end suites would face the stage, while the east end suites would be behind the stage.

The committee rejected a proposal for four top-level "sky club" suites connected by walkways ringing the arena, which would have cost $2.5 million.

Conventions, Sports & Leisue, a consulting firm, said four sky level suites, along with 260 sky club seats on the walkways connecting the suites, are too much for the market, based on the region's demographics and the number of companies that would likely be interested in buying suites. The consultant's also said that most premium seating in the renovated arena would recoup the cost within two years, but it would take nine years to recoup the cost of the sky club-level seats.

The committee is scheduled to meet again in two weeks to complete the planning process and allow architects to move ahead with final drawings for the $33 million renovation.


Another 2 weeks and another meeting and then final drawings. It seams like the board is dragging this process out. Hopefully all the planning will be worth it.
I am told that Cianbro has been offered some fairly substantial incentive bonuses for early completion of each stage of the project.
I haven't been to a concert at the Civic Center for years but all of the years I attended concerts at the CCCC the concert stage was on the West End of the Arena. Apparently the stage is now going to be on the East End with the majority of the Suites being on the West End.

Portlander
06-13-2012, 12:53 PM
Stage set up for concerts have always been on the east end near the loading dock and that will not change. Only exception was for half arena and center stage (in the round) show configurations which put the stage in the center.

Seanflynn78
06-13-2012, 04:24 PM
There is an article in today's press herald regarding the sky suites.
http://www.pressherald.com/news/Civic-Center-building-panel-reconfigures-plan-for-suites.html

Sounds like they are a no go. I have a hard time believing renovating the current arena is a long term fix. Hopefully someone will have (private investor or group) the money and build a state of the art arena in downtown Portland in the next 20 years. I certainly don't see the local government pitching in with the state of our current economy.

Portlander
06-13-2012, 05:52 PM
The four "sky clubs" suites are a no go but they were not part of the original plans for premium seating. Those suites were on the Civic Center's wish list only along with other options such as new seating instead of refurbished seats. If this proposal receives final approval in it's present form, there will be 10 new suites in various locations throughout the building which is 10 more than the arena currently has.

Portlander
07-09-2012, 05:36 PM
The parking lot adjacent to Brian Boru is currently being prepared as the staging area for all of the contractors involved in the renovation of the Civic Center. The fencing is up and the construction trailers will start arriving in the coming days. I love progress even if it's only baby steps initially!

PortlandArch
07-23-2012, 12:41 PM
With the one exception of the Spring/Center corner (fantastic), totally unimpressed. In fact, some of the later renderings are so bad as to totally negate the positive impact of the corner. This is really terrible. All expense gobbled up by the interior, which is understandable (expensive to rehab older buildings), but then that raises the question of whether enough money was appropriated by voters. Answer seems to be a resounding NO. Then again, the whole process was absurd. This is what occurs if you turn down sensible alternatives (Elizabeth Noyce in Bayside = free land + $20 million). Do we really want this? The civic center will flourish, the Gorham Corner, Studio District, Artist District will not (at least not because of this). Maybe this WOULD be better off outside of Portland, if this is all they can get.

http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg855/scaled.php?server=855&filename=52082983.jpg&res=landing
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg585/scaled.php?server=585&filename=79148622.jpg&res=landing
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg339/scaled.php?server=339&filename=40727125.jpg&res=landing
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg195/scaled.php?server=195&filename=76614859.jpg&res=landing
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg338/scaled.php?server=338&filename=61259978.jpg&res=landing
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg821/scaled.php?server=821&filename=60958625.jpg&res=landing

grittys457
07-23-2012, 03:10 PM
I actually don't mind it except for the corner
Across from bingas where the money ran out

Glass corner is sweet

FrankLloydMike
07-23-2012, 03:16 PM
With the one exception of the Spring/Center corner (fantastic), totally unimpressed. In fact, some of the later renderings are so bad as to totally negate the positive impact of the corner. This is really terrible. All expense gobbled up by the interior, which is understandable (expensive to rehab older buildings), but then that raises the question of whether enough money was appropriated by voters. Answer seems to be a resounding NO. Then again, the whole process was absurd. This is what occurs if you turn down sensible alternatives (Elizabeth Noyce in Bayside = free land + $20 million). Do we really want this? The civic center will flourish, the Gorham Corner, Studio District, Artist District will not (at least not because of this). Maybe this WOULD be better off outside of Portland, if this is all they can get.

http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg855/scaled.php?server=855&filename=52082983.jpg&res=landing
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg585/scaled.php?server=585&filename=79148622.jpg&res=landing
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg339/scaled.php?server=339&filename=40727125.jpg&res=landing
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg195/scaled.php?server=195&filename=76614859.jpg&res=landing
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg338/scaled.php?server=338&filename=61259978.jpg&res=landing
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg821/scaled.php?server=821&filename=60958625.jpg&res=landing

I agree; it's not great. Even the corner is kind of clumsy. I think something graceful and light would be a nice counterpoint to the old, heavy arena. Still, at least it's built up to the road unlike the Verizon in Manchester.

At any rate, I'm not sure how jazzing up the exterior would influence whether or not the surrounding districts flourish. What is important here, more than the architecture or even the massing (which is okay here, since it fills the block) is the proximity to these districts, and the draw that the arena will continue to be. I don't think street-facing retail would work or fit here, and really with a decent number of empty storefronts along Congress, I don't think adding more retail here would be helpful. But keeping the arena near the shops, restaurants and bars of the Arts District and other nearby neighborhoods, should give them a boost on event nights.

I agree that it might have made more sense to build a new arena in Bayside to spur development there, but what would be done with the current arena then? Would it just become another empty lot? And would that negatively impact businesses near the CCCC? I don't know the answer to any of those.

Ideally, I think a new arena would make the most sense, and these renderings aren't very inspiring, but I don't think it will negatively impact the nearby districts and businesses.

Portlander
07-23-2012, 05:35 PM
At last count there are only three empty storefronts on Congress Street from Longfellow Square to City Hall. This does not include ongoing renovations to the Schwartz Building.

FrankLloydMike
07-23-2012, 09:23 PM
At last count there are only three empty storefronts on Congress Street from Longfellow Square to City Hall. This does not include ongoing renovations to the Schwartz Building.

Fair enough. I stayed at the St. John Inn on my last visit in April, and walked from there into town a couple times. I seem to recall several--not a ton or an unusual amount-empty storefronts along the way. I could very easily be mistaken though. I didn't mean to say that Portland isn't thriving, just that I don't think the Civic Center site makes much sense for retail. That's especially true if there are multiple empty storefronts along Congress, but even if there are not, I can't see that site with its minimal (comparatively) foot traffic being attractive to retailers. And I think new retail would make much more sense in the burgeoning India Street area, as well as in Bayside, which seems poised to come into its own. The current Civic Center is only a block from Congress--whether its ugly or not, I think it's good for retail and restaurants nearby. Moving to Bayside may have spurred development there, but at least its not moving to an isolated spot like where the new basketball arena is being built. I'd love to see a more inspired design for renovating the CCCC, but I think keeping it where it is isn't a bad move.

Patrick
07-24-2012, 05:29 AM
Fair enough. I stayed at the St. John Inn on my last visit in April, and walked from there into town a couple times. I seem to recall several--not a ton or an unusual amount-empty storefronts along the way. I could very easily be mistaken though. I didn't mean to say that Portland isn't thriving, just that I don't think the Civic Center site makes much sense for retail. That's especially true if there are multiple empty storefronts along Congress, but even if there are not, I can't see that site with its minimal (comparatively) foot traffic being attractive to retailers. And I think new retail would make much more sense in the burgeoning India Street area, as well as in Bayside, which seems poised to come into its own. The current Civic Center is only a block from Congress--whether its ugly or not, I think it's good for retail and restaurants nearby. Moving to Bayside may have spurred development there, but at least its not moving to an isolated spot like where the new basketball arena is being built. I'd love to see a more inspired design for renovating the CCCC, but I think keeping it where it is isn't a bad move.

I think the point here is not that the civic center will hurt the surrounding neighborhoods but at least will not help them connect to create an integrated whole. It already acts as a barrier itself along Spring Street, and one of the most attractive streets in Portland (Free) has become a backwater in some senses with the backside of the CCCC and some surface parking. This won't help. I also don't think retail would work here, regardless of Congress Street but especially in a recession (though Congress is booming, perhaps more than the Old Port in some ways...consider that 3 empty storefronts is probably 1-2% vacancy, maybe less....also, you were walking from the edge of downtown, which most people exclude in their mental image of the street); however, retail or not, this needs more permeability. Greater emphasis on fenestration would help or at the very least lighter color materials. The earlier renderings showed a framed-in overhang on the back side, with function space there. No retail, still above street, but useable space. Not it is just an overhang again. The CCCC was built at the same time the Old Port was reinvigorating itself (and Maine) and has done that job quite well. Now a new area could benefit from it. Bayside is where it should go, but that discussion has already occurred.

FrankLloydMike
07-24-2012, 09:20 AM
I think the point here is not that the civic center will hurt the surrounding neighborhoods but at least will not help them connect to create an integrated whole. It already acts as a barrier itself along Spring Street, and one of the most attractive streets in Portland (Free) has become a backwater in some senses with the backside of the CCCC and some surface parking. This won't help. I also don't think retail would work here, regardless of Congress Street but especially in a recession (though Congress is booming, perhaps more than the Old Port in some ways...consider that 3 empty storefronts is probably 1-2% vacancy, maybe less....also, you were walking from the edge of downtown, which most people exclude in their mental image of the street); however, retail or not, this needs more permeability. Greater emphasis on fenestration would help or at the very least lighter color materials. The earlier renderings showed a framed-in overhang on the back side, with function space there. No retail, still above street, but useable space. Not it is just an overhang again. The CCCC was built at the same time the Old Port was reinvigorating itself (and Maine) and has done that job quite well. Now a new area could benefit from it. Bayside is where it should go, but that discussion has already occurred.

That all makes sense, and I agree. Looking at the map, I think the empty storefronts I was seeing--which still weren't overwhelming by any means--were definitely on the western edge of town. One of the places that comes to mind specifically was the Bramhall Pub (http://www.loopnet.com/Attachments/B/2/7/xy_B27193FD-A1F3-4A92-B52A-13C0F0B14B96__.jpg), but even that wasn't a traditional storefront.

Still, I like the massing and location of the CCCC over the Verizon, for instance. It's far from perfect, but it takes up most of the block, it has a decent amount of ground-floor glazing as it is, it feels reasonably human-scaled (for an arena), and it doesn't take up a prominent spot with grassy setbacks or a building that is used on occasionally, like the Verizon does.

I love Free Street, but it seems like block between Oak and Center Streets--and even a good way into the block east of that--feels more like the back alley of Congress than the charming street that exists at either end. I'm far from against working to improve areas like that, but since the arena is staying as you said, I'd rather see a focus on transforming the parking lots and garages along the street. The CCCC renovation could be much nicer, but even if it stays as is, I don't think many people would notice it if it was surrounded by buildings (with some street presence) rather than parking lots and back entrances. At the end of the day, while I'd prefer a more attractive design, I think it's the activity there that will attract developers more than the facade of the civic center.

mainejeff
08-03-2012, 12:26 PM
The seating capacity for the CCCC is going to be very similar to the new Cross Center (arena) in Bangor. Some tours might be willing to play both facilities, but if choosing only 1.......Bangor's modern amenities and recent track record of summer concerts on the waterfront may give it a leg up in the battle to attract tours that may only make 1 stop in the state.

Portlander
08-03-2012, 01:24 PM
The Cross Insurance Center will have 1000-1200 fewer seats than the CCCC depending on the event configuration. In addition to being two hours further north and no ice making capability, some promoters may still choose Bangor over Portland for a short period until the Civic Center's renovations are completed and the CIC's newness wears off. The concert business is all about potential revenue and 1000 + seats makes a huge difference financially along with the Greater Portland's significantly larger population base which helps sell the necessary tickets to make a show successful.

mainejeff
08-08-2012, 09:28 AM
The Cross Insurance Center will have 1000-1200 fewer seats than the CCCC depending on the event configuration. In addition to being two hours further north and no ice making capability, some promoters may still choose Bangor over Portland for a short period until the Civic Center's renovations are completed and the CIC's newness wears off. The concert business is all about potential revenue and 1000 + seats makes a huge difference financially along with the Greater Portland's significantly larger population base which helps sell the necessary tickets to make a show successful.

You make good points. It will be interesting to see what the final capacity of both facilities will actually be for concert configurations. Obviously, Bangor conceded ice to Portland......that one is not even up for debate. I don't think that being 2 hours North of Portland really matters as Bangor is actually located midpoint between venues to the South (Portland/Manchester/Lowell) and venues to the North (Moncton/Fredericton/St. John/Halifax.

Portlander
08-08-2012, 02:01 PM
Not sure, but Bangor's new arena may have passed on ice due to the close proximity of Alfond Arena. And for the record, I am proud of Bangor's efforts to finally build a new building to replace the Bangor Auditorium and I think it's seating capacity fits the market perfectly. Portland could use an additional 1500-2000 seats in my opinion but we have to make the most of what we have.

Corey
08-22-2012, 09:03 PM
This is from the Civic Center's Facebook page, I don't remember seeing this rendering online before. I assume this is on the Spring and Center Street corner of the building. Kind of looks like those support beams are blocking the view from these suites though:

http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/553937_460785370608566_1591841327_n.jpg

mainejeff
08-22-2012, 09:59 PM
This is from the Civic Center's Facebook page, I don't remember seeing this rendering online before. I assume this is on the Spring and Center Street corner of the building. Kind of looks like those support beams are blocking the view from these suites though:

http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/553937_460785370608566_1591841327_n.jpg

Yeah.......those suites are bizarre. I don't think that I've ever seen anything quite like that.

Portlander
08-23-2012, 06:11 AM
That view is from the Free/Oak Street corner. All of the upper level suites will be located on the west end of the arena due to the stage location to the east. The trustees decided not to spend the additional money by putting upper level suites behind the stage because they would have little or no impact during concerts. There will be two lower premium seating areas on the east end corners for hockey/basketball configurations.

Patrick
08-23-2012, 09:31 AM
http://www.pressherald.com/news/clocks-ticking-on-upgrade-of-arena_2012-08-23.html

Matt68
08-23-2012, 05:15 PM
hallelujah ! after nine million + studies and experts and consultants lined up from Maine to China ground is broken. Entertainment dollars stay in Maine, downtown Portland remains vibrant, and a better experience for all who attend events @ CCCC.
I love it. Way to go Maine !

Corey
09-25-2012, 04:39 PM
If anyone is curious, the CCCC is occasionally updating their official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cumberland-County-Civic-Center/122085967811843) with construction photos. I will still share some photos of the progress every now and then, although I'm probably on a watch list because I've been politely kicked-out of the Spring Street garage multiple times while taking photos (I've only ever been asked to leave parking garages owned by the city, oddly enough).

PortlandArch
09-25-2012, 08:03 PM
If anyone is curious, the CCCC is occasionally updating their official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cumberland-County-Civic-Center/122085967811843) with construction photos. I will still share some photos of the progress every now and then, although I'm probably on a watch list because I've been politely kicked-out of the Spring Street garage multiple times while taking photos (I've only ever been asked to leave parking garages owned by the city, oddly enough).

It's a public garage!

Corey
10-15-2012, 06:06 AM
http://i.imgur.com/LLA51.jpg

grittys457
10-15-2012, 11:17 AM
NIce Corey.

Hope you're down on the waterfront today getting a triple shot in one pic of the Jewel of the seas, David Geffen's 300 million dollar yacht, and The World yacht. You can get them all in one from the right angle.

John_French
10-16-2012, 03:40 PM
NIce Corey.

Hope you're down on the waterfront today getting a triple shot in one pic of the Jewel of the seas, David Geffen's 300 million dollar yacht, and The World yacht. You can get them all in one from the right angle.

Some of us have to work Gritty, LOL.

Corey
10-25-2012, 12:21 PM
Just wanted to mention that through the Portland Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee I am part of the "Spring Street/Free Street Streetscape Public Advisory Committee" that is currently in progress. The project it looking at improvements to be made in the area around the Civic Center, including Spring/Free/Pleasant Streets. You can read about the objectives and such on the project's website, here (http://www.portlandmaine.gov/springstreetfreestreet.htm). I believe I am at liberty to say to say that Spring may eventually be made into a more urban street, as opposed to a highway, and that the concrete barriers in the middle of the road will likely be removed.

Also, one of the backup documents on the project site was especially interesting. It's the "Patterns for Progress" document from 1967. Apparently someone was once considering building the Civic Center at the corner of Cumberland Ave and High Street and connecting it to the Eastland with a skywalk of some sort. Fascinating stuff!

Corey
11-25-2012, 03:11 PM
http://i48.tinypic.com/35mnqzs.jpg

Corey
12-15-2012, 08:40 AM
From today:

http://i.imgur.com/6pQDr.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/j87FF.jpg

Corey
12-25-2012, 09:43 AM
Christmas morning shot:

http://i.imgur.com/QMqHA.jpg

Corey
01-13-2013, 11:50 AM
Some more snapshots today:

http://i.imgur.com/2xGfE.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/Skl5z.jpg

^That would be a neat place for a little deck of some sort.

Seanflynn78
03-30-2013, 07:36 AM
http://www.pressherald.com/news/civic-centers-work-likely-set-back-3-months_2013-03-30.html

Here is the link regarding the mess that the CCC will be dealing with this fall when the Pirates season starts. Personally think they should try to play their games this fall in Lewiston to allow the work to get done on the arena.

Portlander
03-30-2013, 10:08 AM
I agree. And to offset the $500K lost due to contractor delays, they are considering the idea of not renovating the arena seating which means for $33M we will still have the same drab interior and worn seats. They should cut the loss from the Pirates fancy new and enlarged locker room and make the ticket buying public the priority. The owner of the Pirates is making this a difficult issue in my opinion which is sad because he and his AHL team are the ones who benefit the most from this renovation.

In addition, the Civic Center trustees need to get off their behinds and secure naming rights to the arena which would more than make up for any additional construction costs and future improvements/maintenance. UNUM Civic Center, IDEXX Arena, TD Bank Civic Center, WEX Civic Center, LL Bean Arena, Call Joe Civic Center, Reny's Maine Adventure Center, Hannaford Shopping Center, Bingas Stadium, Mark's Hot Dog Arena, and Ira's Prime Time Coliseum to name a few potential suitors!

Portlander
05-06-2013, 06:06 PM
Due to an early exit from the playoffs by the Pirates, Phase 2 of the Civic Center's renovations will begin on or around May 13. This should bring the completion date of the project close to the original target time and a Cianbro official also told me today that all of the arena seats will be refurbished as originally planned.

Matt68
05-08-2013, 12:26 PM
Thanks For The Update Portlander

Corey
05-12-2013, 07:41 PM
Looks like we are moving onto phase two.

http://i.imgur.com/GqFTwAG.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/orz4Vkj.jpg

BeeLine
05-14-2013, 09:52 PM
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7287/8740284702_5f965457cf_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/beelinebos/8740284702/)
Civic Ctr. Portland 5/14 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/beelinebos/8740284702/)
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7290/8739178203_bae15847b7_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/beelinebos/8739178203/)
Civic Ctr. Portland 5/14 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/beelinebos/8739178203/)
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7287/8739176577_25d96eec60_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/beelinebos/8739176577/)
Civic Ctr. Portland 5/14 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/beelinebos/8739176577/)

mainejeff
05-14-2013, 10:10 PM
I know that it isn't finished, but that new part is ugly!

Dr. StrangeHat
05-15-2013, 07:43 AM
They should have used the same floor-to-ceiling windows on the 2nd floor offices as they did on the 1st floor. Other than that, it actually looks better than the rendering, which I thought was ugly to begin with.

Portlander
05-15-2013, 12:52 PM
I actually think it blends in well with the existing structure. Looks much better in person and this portion of the renovations is by far the smallest in square footage and visual impact.

Corey
05-16-2013, 05:14 PM
Spring Street is slightly better already

http://i.imgur.com/5o3Aeht.jpg

Seanflynn78
05-16-2013, 09:02 PM
Excellent Photos Corey!

Does anyone know if Cianbro is replacing the rink floor/chilling system during the renovations to the Civic Center?
Also is seating capacity changing at ALL? Or is it losing capacity due to ADA compliance requirements? I hope they also have a revamped seating arrangement for basketball games. Once renovated the Civic Center will be perfect for a D2 or D3 mens or women final four. They just need some decent court-side seats for basketball. This would add 800 or so seats for basketball games seating capacity.

portlandneedsnewarena
05-17-2013, 07:10 AM
Excellent Photos Corey!

Does anyone know if Cianbro is replacing the rink floor/chilling system during the renovations to the Civic Center?
Also is seating capacity changing at ALL? Or is it losing capacity due to ADA compliance requirements? I hope they also have a revamped seating arrangement for basketball games. Once renovated the Civic Center will be perfect for a D2 or D3 mens or women final four. They just need some decent court-side seats for basketball. This would add 800 or so seats for basketball games seating capacity.
I am pretty sure nothing is being done to the rink floor/chilling sysytem.
They will be losing seating capacity due to the ADA compliance. I think the number is in the 400 + range as to the number of seats they will be losing. Also, they will be gaining the luxury suites in the corners of one end of the building.
I am hoping they will be able to host a NCAA Div. 1 Ice Hockey Regional once the renovations are done. Currently the regionals are held at 4 New England locations - Worcester, Manchester, Providence & Bridgeport, CT. They alternate locations from year to year.

Portlander
05-17-2013, 11:29 AM
The arena will lose some seating due to ADA compliance, but will have an overall net gain of 243 seats due to premium/luxury seating additions. Hockey capacity will now be 6976 which is up from 6733. I am sure they can find 24 standing spots to make it an even 7000! Basketball configuration should accommodate around 8000.

Corey
05-28-2013, 08:37 PM
http://i.imgur.com/343tVn5.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/jAzIx8g.jpg

Nexis4jersey
05-28-2013, 08:39 PM
What happened?

John_French
05-29-2013, 10:25 AM
What happened?

The "suicide steps" at Center & Spring Streets is rubble in this photo. Soon after the CCCC opened these suicide steps earned their name by being too steep and not friendly to either crazed rock concert goers, or any other patron for that matter, as a result the steps were not used anymore, except for emergency exits. People were literally taking unwanted headers.

portlandneedsnewarena
05-29-2013, 12:14 PM
The "suicide steps" at Center & Spring Streets is rubble in this photo. Soon after the CCCC opened these suicide steps earned their name by being too steep and not friendly to either crazed rock concert goers, or any other patron for that matter, as a result the steps were not used anymore, except for emergency exits. People were literally taking unwanted headers.
That photo (rubble) is the opposite side (Free Street) of the suicide steps (Spring St.). They haven't demolished them yet.

John_French
05-30-2013, 09:53 AM
That photo (rubble) is the opposite side (Free Street) of the suicide steps (Spring St.). They haven't demolished them yet.

Thanks for the correction. I think from now on, I'll just lurk. LOL

John_French
06-03-2013, 08:23 AM
On Saturday June 1st, they started taking down the suicide steps, but right away found an unexpected buried gas pipeline, so started taking down the concrete around the Center Street entrance instead.

Corey
06-18-2013, 08:50 PM
A small garden has been planted on the Free Street side, interesting use of the space I guess:

http://i.imgur.com/vYEgQpd.jpg

John_French
06-19-2013, 08:20 AM
They'll end up fencing that in after the first rock concert.

Portlander
06-19-2013, 08:40 AM
Free vegetables for our growing homeless population.

Dr. StrangeHat
06-19-2013, 09:14 AM
It a potential a new location for that "Tracing the Fore" art thingy that used to be on Fore Street

Corey
06-22-2013, 12:21 PM
http://i.imgur.com/gTIFhMQ.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/SR54TWs.jpg

Corey
07-12-2013, 05:32 PM
Civic Center hires firm to sell naming rights

PORTLAND The Cumberland County Civic Center has hired a firm to market the naming rights, corporate sponsorships and premium seating for the renovated arena.

Front Row Marketing Services, a division of Comcast-Spectacor, had previously worked as the sales arm of the Portland Pirates hockey team and secured the naming rights for the new Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

{more} (http://www.pressherald.com/news/Civic-Center-hires-firm-to-sell-naming-rights.html)

I wonder which company will step up. As far as local-ish companies, maybe Wright Express/WEX or L.L. Bean?

Portlander
07-13-2013, 07:50 AM
I am all for naming rights for the Civic Center, but is it really necessary to hire an out of state firm to find a local corporation/company/business that might be interested? I think a simple "open for business" article in the Press Herald with the phone number for the Civic Center trustees office would accomplish the same goal.

Or maybe Chairman Neal Pratt could personally contact the limited list of potential suitors in the Greater Portland market that could realistically afford the price tag for naming rights and save the county some money. Example phone call: Is this the regional President of UNUM? Hey, what's up bro, Neal here, would your extremely successful, original Portland based insurance company be interested in naming rights to the Civic Center? Tennessee headquarters says No? OK, thanks anyway, I'll give LL Bean a call next".

My humorous pick would be "Renys, Maine Adventure Arena" for local branding.

Corey
07-13-2013, 03:22 PM
^Good points. I think calling around part and finding companies that are interested would be pretty cheap. But the company (http://www.frontrow-marketing.com/index.aspx) the Civic Center is paying to find a sponsor is also going to handle the mountains of legal work associated with it and there probably aren't any companies with their experience in Maine because there are relatively few sports teams here. As far as Unum goes, I will check with my boss. I'm thinking the answer will be no. A few other possibilities might be Auto Europe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto_Europe) and TD Bank (The Cumberland County Civic Center, Presented by TD Bank).

Portlander
07-13-2013, 08:04 PM
I concur with your point Corey concerning the administrative/legal/negotiation aspect of the process. Am just annoyed with all the outside firms that are hired to find naming rights candidates, numerous feasibility studies, hiring police and fire chiefs and the list goes on and on. I personally do not think "Cumberland County" will be part of the new name for the arena and I heard that it is not a requirement in order to win the naming rights contract.

mainejeff
07-15-2013, 08:41 AM
LL Bean makes the most sense in a lot of ways..........so many people visiting Portland see that building........would be great advertising for them.

I was really surprised that Bangor Savings didn't pony up for Bangor's arena.

Dr. StrangeHat
07-16-2013, 07:29 AM
I don't think Unum would pony up the money for the naming rights. Their primary customers are employers, not individuals, and their primary distribution method is through brokers and agents. Most of their marketing dollars are spent in industry publications and through direct marketing to brokers and employers.

I don't think LL Bean would do it either. I don't see them needing any more local recognition, though mainejeff does make a good point about the building's visability to tourists.

I think a company most likely to purchase the naming rights to the civic center is going to be a company looking to gain more local and to a lesser extent regional recognition. Case in point - Cross Insurance. How many of you had ever heard of them prior to them buying the naming rights to the new Bangor arena? I doubt many in this state actually know what they do (they're an insurance agent, not an insurance carrier), but their name is now a more household name in the state.

My dark horse candidates:

Bank of Maine
Gorham Savings Bank
Pratt Insurance
Prime Auto Group

toddc
07-16-2013, 08:59 AM
Bank of Maine would be a good choice....LL Bean might be unlikely, but it would be a good choice, considering its national reputation.

Corey
07-27-2013, 02:45 PM
http://i.imgur.com/I4e2pOB.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/n0H1fRz.jpg

Corey
08-17-2013, 05:38 PM
Thought this was interesting. It's a promotional piece for the Civic Center bond referendum from the early 1970's [Via Portland Maine History 1786-Present (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=479399248791173&set=a.358731687524597.84847.124967760900992&type=3&theater)]:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/812791_479399248791173_1741789549_o.jpg

mainejeff
08-19-2013, 08:22 AM
Yuck..........looks like a poor man's Government Center in Boston.

Corey
08-20-2013, 08:23 PM
Quick and ugly shot from the parking garage:

http://i.imgur.com/wJGK2c2.jpg

Corey
09-26-2013, 03:34 PM
It looked like it was heading this way and it's now official (http://www.pressherald.com/news/Pirates-hockey-Portland-Cumberland-County-Civic-Center-lewiston-colisee.html) that the Portland Pirates will be playing the entire 2013-2014 season up in Lewiston. I haven't been following things very closely as I maybe go to one Pirates game a season on average and am not a follower of sports, but it will be interesting to see how the legal aspects of the disagreements play out.

Portlander
09-27-2013, 12:15 PM
Good for Lewiston temporarily and good for Portland later down the road. If any city in Maine needs a economic shot in the arm it would be Lewiston. Brian Petrovek played his cards and now is forced to put a positive spin on playing home games at the refreshed but dismal Colisee. He is fortunate that one of the Pirates partners owns 40% of the Lewiston arena. My guess is that he will pack up and set sail for another city at the end of this season

Portland and the CCCC will eventually land another AHL team down the road with fresh ownership and marketing strategies. The new affiliate will be very content setting up operations in a newly renovated 7000 seat (hockey capacity) venue with a loyal area fan base.

Corey
10-10-2013, 08:36 PM
Good call, Portlander. Some people make it sound like the Pirates organization is irreplaceable, but it seems like it wouldn't take more than a year to get a new AHL team or at least an NHL-affiliated ECHL team. In the meantime maybe the Civic Center can attract some more concerts and non-hocey events.

http://i.imgur.com/xRbgOY0.jpg

Dr. StrangeHat
10-11-2013, 09:25 AM
I wonder if the Pirates even have a place they could move to outside of Maine? Every major market in New England and New York is now covered by an AHL team. It would take a major move to outside of the Northeast or to Canada for them to find a new home, and I can only imagine the logistics of a major move like that are difficult.

They'll probably either move back to Baltimore (where they were before becoming the Pirates), Halifax or Quebec City.

Regardless, I'm not going to miss them. I love hockey and I loved going to Pirates games, but this whole lease disagerement soured me on their management team. I put more blame on them than the civic center. The civic center will find a new team, be that AHL, ECHL or a junior team. All will be fine. In the meanwhile, it frees up more availability for concerts and other events, which could bring in just as much revenue as a full season of the Purates, if not more.

portlandneedsnewarena
10-11-2013, 09:32 AM
Good call, Portlander. Some people make it sound like the Pirates organization is irreplaceable, but it seems like it wouldn't take more than a year to get a new AHL team or at least an NHL-affiliated ECHL team. In the meantime maybe the Civic Center can attract some more concerts and non-hocey events.

http://i.imgur.com/xRbgOY0.jpg

Unless the Pirates move the team out of the territory which is a 50 miles radius from Portland I don't see another AHL hockey team coming to town anytime soon. I could see the Pirates building a 5,000 seat arena in Saco which is where their practice/training facility is. That has been discussed in the past and from what I hear Plans have been drawn up.
Also, the AHL & ECHL supposedly have a gentleman's agreement that they won't move a team into another's territory. I don't think Portland would support an ECHL team anyways as the quality of play is below the AHL.
Quebec Major junior hockey has no interest in returning to the U.S.

Portlander
10-11-2013, 11:59 AM
My prediction is that the Pirates will either relocate to another AHL city far from Maine and closer to Arizona next year or Brian will come back to the Cumberland County Commissioners with with his tail between his legs and renegotiate a lessor or similar deal to stay in Portland.

As far as Biddeford/Saco building a new 5000 seat arena and landing the team, I do not see it at all. To plan, permit and build a new venue would be at least two years down the road. Lewiston, which is obviously the state's second largest city/metropolitan area, could not fill the Colisee on opening night with $10 and below tickets along with a percentage of comp admissions. Biddeford's small population, demographics and income levels just would not support the team in the future. Corporate sponsorship would also be another limiting factor in the team's financial security. In addition, the AHL would cringe at the though of one of their teams playing in such a small limited market, Glens Falls is the rare exception. Very few Portland/Westbrook/South Portland/Falmouth residents are going to drive to Biddeford to watch the Pirates and that is the bulk of Greater Portland's population base. The Pirate's owner was not crazy about the CCCC's 7000 seat hockey capacity, could not imagine him committing to a much smaller venue long term.

Because Portland is a good hockey town and has a proven track record, the city will eventually land another team that is unhappy with their current situation, it may take a couple of years and it needs to be an AHL over an ECHL franchise in my opinion. I also don't think professional hockey players would be content with living in Lewiston or Biddeford during the winter, nor would visiting teams look forward to staying in either of those cities due to dining, entertainment and lodging limitations.

Allagash
10-12-2013, 10:02 PM
Unless the Pirates move the team out of the territory which is a 50 miles radius from Portland I don't see another AHL hockey team coming to town anytime soon. I could see the Pirates building a 5,000 seat arena in Saco which is where their practice/training facility is. That has been discussed in the past and from what I hear Plans have been drawn up.
Also, the AHL & ECHL supposedly have a gentleman's agreement that they won't move a team into another's territory. I don't think Portland would support an ECHL team anyways as the quality of play is below the AHL.
Quebec Major junior hockey has no interest in returning to the U.S.

No chance the team lands in saco. Since There is no arena at all and if that were to happen the town would have to finance the arena which saco and biddeford voters probably aren't going to do. Even if they did it would be a year from now where voters would vote.
There might be plans but I seriously doubt there are any actual blueprints as that would have cost alot of money. But even if there are plans they would have to go through the approval process and if everything went right the arena is still about 4-5 years out from now.
They are not going to stay in lewiston, not enough revenue at all. they'll be in a new city next year.
Teams would love to relocate to portland, if portland wants a team in a few years it will happen as the pirates will be long gone IMO.

tazzman
10-13-2013, 10:13 PM
Thought this was interesting. It's a promotional piece for the Civic Center bond referendum from the early 1970's [Via Portland Maine History 1786-Present (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=479399248791173&set=a.358731687524597.84847.124967760900992&type=3&theater)]:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/812791_479399248791173_1741789549_o.jpg
except for the roof if they built it like that back then they might not of had to spend 30 million on a upgrade,notice the 3 loading dock doors,no suicide stairs and the upper spring street entrence is level in the pic with no stairs

tazzman
10-16-2013, 07:31 PM
Civic center starts filling slots Pirates left open

http://www.pressherald.com/news/Civic_Center_starts_filling_slots_Pirates_left_ope n_.html

hockey92
10-17-2013, 04:49 PM
Move the pirates to Boston so i can see some professional hockey games for under $60 a seat without driving an hour and a half outa the city! Theres enough hockey fans in the boston area to support another team
But on a more realistic note Quebec City would be a good place for an AHL team but I'd like to see the Florida Panthers move there. The Panthers are terrible and barely have a fan base

choo
10-17-2013, 05:47 PM
^Would absolutely love to see Quebec City get a team back. Never been there and a Bruins-Nordiques (please keep that name) is a great reason. With the dollar at parity and the success of the Winnipeg move back, I think it will happen.

bigeman312
10-17-2013, 06:57 PM
Move the pirates to Boston so i can see some professional hockey games for under $60 a seat without driving an hour and a half outa the city!

http://www.sharksahl.com/index.html

Corey
10-19-2013, 06:16 PM
http://i.imgur.com/wgBSVvi.jpg

portlandneedsnewarena
10-23-2013, 02:11 PM
My prediction is that the Pirates will either relocate to another AHL city far from Maine and closer to Arizona next year or Brian will come back to the Cumberland County Commissioners with with his tail between his legs and renegotiate a lessor or similar deal to stay in Portland.

As far as Biddeford/Saco building a new 5000 seat arena and landing the team, I do not see it at all. To plan, permit and build a new venue would be at least two years down the road. Lewiston, which is obviously the state's second largest city/metropolitan area, could not fill the Colisee on opening night with $10 and below tickets along with a percentage of comp admissions. Biddeford's small population, demographics and income levels just would not support the team in the future. Corporate sponsorship would also be another limiting factor in the team's financial security. In addition, the AHL would cringe at the though of one of their teams playing in such a small limited market, Glens Falls is the rare exception. Very few Portland/Westbrook/South Portland/Falmouth residents are going to drive to Biddeford to watch the Pirates and that is the bulk of Greater Portland's population base. The Pirate's owner was not crazy about the CCCC's 7000 seat hockey capacity, could not imagine him committing to a much smaller venue long term.

Because Portland is a good hockey town and has a proven track record, the city will eventually land another team that is unhappy with their current situation, it may take a couple of years and it needs to be an AHL over an ECHL franchise in my opinion. I also don't think professional hockey players would be content with living in Lewiston or Biddeford during the winter, nor would visiting teams look forward to staying in either of those cities due to dining, entertainment and lodging limitations.

Today's Bangor Daily News www.bangordailynews.com "Pirates hockey team enters into talks to buy Saco property for new permanent home arena".

Dr. StrangeHat
10-23-2013, 02:22 PM
If they're really going that route, then why don't they build the arena on the land in Westbrook that Jason Snyder proposed to build an arena a few years ago? He lost the land he proposed to build a mall on, but I'm pretty sure he still owns the land on the other side of Stroudwater Street where he proposed the arena. Westbrook makes much more sense then Saco if you want they want to be near the population center of Greater Portland.

portlandneedsnewarena
10-23-2013, 02:57 PM
If they're really going that route, then why don't they build the arena on the land in Westbrook that Jason Snyder proposed to build an arena a few years ago? He lost the land he proposed to build a mall on, but I'm pretty sure he still owns the land on the other side of Stroudwater Street where he proposed the arena. Westbrook makes much more sense then Saco if you want they want to be near the population center of Greater Portland.

As you can read in the article, it is the City of Saco that is being proactive and contacting the Pirates about the available land. The Pirates already have their training facility (MHG Arena) in that area and an established relationship with the City of Saco.

Portlander
10-23-2013, 05:04 PM
I am still standing by my prediction. Any news that keeps the Pirates relevant works in the owner's favor when he attempts to renegotiate a new deal with the CCCC this upcoming spring. Cannot see the team playing an additional 2 more years in Lewiston until a new mini arena is built in Biddeford, Saco, Westbrook or any other Greater Portland community.

Corey
10-23-2013, 05:12 PM
Here's a direct link (http://bangordailynews.com/2013/10/23/news/portland/pirates-hockey-team-enters-into-talks-to-buy-saco-property-for-new-permanent-home-arena/?ref=regionportland) to that BDN story. An interesting new possibility. Was there more to the Pirates and the Civic Center disagreement than how much concessions/alcohol revenue would go to the Pirates this season? Is there something else the Pirates want that they aren't getting here (I haven't followed the story that closely, maybe I am missing something)?. It seems like permanently relocating the team and helping to partially finance a new arena would cost the Pirates owners dramatically more than they would have lost from a smaller percentage of concession revenues in Portland.

portlandneedsnewarena
10-24-2013, 07:54 AM
I am still standing by my prediction. Any news that keeps the Pirates relevant works in the owner's favor when he attempts to renegotiate a new deal with the CCCC this upcoming spring. Cannot see the team playing an additional 2 more years in Lewiston until a new mini arena is built in Biddeford, Saco, Westbrook or any other Greater Portland community.
After reading this mornings article in the Press Herald "Hockey group with link to Pirates looks at Saco for arena" it seems pretty clear to me that option #1 is to return to Portland and the Civic Center. I think the 2 sides will eventually work things out and the Pirates will be back at the CCCC in 2014/15 with possibly 4 to 6 games each year being played in Lewiston. In the end both sides need each other and it will all get worked out.

grittys457
10-24-2013, 08:05 AM
There's no way in hell they're building that expensive of an arena in Saco just for them. Like you said, there's also no way the Coyotes will sign off on letting them play in Lewiston for 2-3 more years. There are other teams knocking on the door waiting for Petrovik to move out of the 50 mile radius so they can come here.

This is so so stupid. These guys really couldn't work out a deal with a newly renovated arena? What a waste

Portlander
10-24-2013, 09:38 AM
I agree that the Pirates will return to the Civic Center, but I do not see any games scheduled in Lewiston. OK, maybe just one to say thanks to the L/A community for their support during tough times!

portlandneedsnewarena
10-24-2013, 09:48 AM
I agree that the Pirates will return to the Civic Center, but I do not see any games scheduled in Lewiston. OK, maybe just one to say thanks to the L/A community for their support during tough times!
Well, last year Petrovek said that 40 games was too much for the Portland market and that they would play 6 to 8 games per year in Lewiston. Maybe with the renovation, extra income and whatever agreement they come to with with the Civic Center all games will be in Portland.

markhb
10-26-2013, 10:42 AM
http://i.imgur.com/wgBSVvi.jpg
Corey, that is a great photo... with the glass going in, the Civic Center renovation is finally starting to look like something!

Hi, everyone. I'm Mark, and I'm new here (although I'm certainly not new to Portland... I'm a native). Is there a "New Members Introduce Yourself" thread anywhere?

Allagash
11-09-2013, 04:15 PM
Today's Bangor Daily News www.bangordailynews.com "Pirates hockey team enters into talks to buy Saco property for new permanent home arena".

Yep,

You can never say never but i'll wager my last dollar there will not be an arena built in saco.

portlandneedsnewarena
11-14-2013, 07:44 AM
Yep,

You can never say never but i'll wager my last dollar there will not be an arena built in saco.
In a recent article on the Maine Hockey Journal website Petrovek stated that he wants to remain in the Portland market and ideally it would be to return to the Cumberland County Civic Center.
He also said that he is looking at several other options to remain in the Portland market which are building a 5,000 seat arena in Saco or Biddeford as a location for a new arena but wouldn't give specifics. Remaining in Lewiston (don't see that happening) or teaming up with the ownership of the Portland Red Claws and expanding the seating capacity that's being planned for the new Thompson Point arena.
He said a decision on the Pirates future location would need to be decided by early January so that they can start planning for the 2014/15 season.
My bet is that they work out a deal with the Civic Center.

grittys457
11-14-2013, 08:37 AM
No chance in hell an arena would be built in Saco. How would that make financial sense for anybody involved? The red claws want their own little arena. If they were going to do a bigger one well they would have just gone with the CCCC. It's Portland or out of state for the Pirates. He truly has no choices after this season.

markhb
11-14-2013, 02:12 PM
The last I heard, the Red Claws aren't even planning to include an ice sheet in their arena, and my hunch is that they're aiming for 4000 seats because that's a good-sized crowd for a D-League game, while keeping an intimate, fans-in-your-face atmosphere. Spread those 4000 fans out in the Civic Center and the place is -- and looks, and feels -- half-empty. So making the new arena larger would actually play against what I think the Claws are trying to create.

Personally, I think all of Petrovik's talk is just posturing, trying to create some leverage with the CCCC management. I've heard he looked at the Adirondack facility when the Pirates were recently out there, as they're losing their team to Allentown. I've also heard a rumor that the Coyotes might buy the team and possibly move it out west (Albuquerque has a couple of arenas begging for regular tenants). I'd be willing to bet that we'll see the Pirates suiting up in their spiffy new locker room on Spring St. 11 months from now.

portlandneedsnewarena
11-15-2013, 07:46 AM
The last I heard, the Red Claws aren't even planning to include an ice sheet in their arena, and my hunch is that they're aiming for 4000 seats because that's a good-sized crowd for a D-League game, while keeping an intimate, fans-in-your-face atmosphere. Spread those 4000 fans out in the Civic Center and the place is -- and looks, and feels -- half-empty. So making the new arena larger would actually play against what I think the Claws are trying to create.

Personally, I think all of Petrovik's talk is just posturing, trying to create some leverage with the CCCC management. I've heard he looked at the Adirondack facility when the Pirates were recently out there, as they're losing their team to Allentown. I've also heard a rumor that the Coyotes might buy the team and possibly move it out west (Albuquerque has a couple of arenas begging for regular tenants). I'd be willing to bet that we'll see the Pirates suiting up in their spiffy new locker room on Spring St. 11 months from now.
The locker room portion of the Civic Center renovation is on hold. From what I am told the Pirates were going to pay for a significant portion of that part of the project and until the Pirates and the Civic Center agree to terms (if it ever happens) that part of the project will remain on hold.
As far as Thompson Point project is concerned I agree with you that the intention of the Red Claws is to have a basketball only arena where the fans are close to the action. Adding an ice sheet would eliminate that possiblity.
Petrovek stated in the Maine Hockey Journal article that he visited the Glen Falls, NY arena recently but his intention is to stay in the Portland market.

grittys457
11-23-2013, 06:51 AM
Well well well, as we predicted.....


http://www.pressherald.com/sports/Pirates_move_to_break_stalemate_with_civic_center_ .html

Portlander
11-23-2013, 08:36 AM
With his tail between his legs! Saco Pirates or Lewiston Pirates totally unrealistic and would not create long term profitability. Now the Cumberland County Commissioners have the upper hand and Brian will get a less attractive deal than what he could have had a couple of months ago. Still a potentially positive marriage for both sides, and even sweeter for the City of Portland which emerges pretty much unscathed in the process.

markhb
11-24-2013, 12:36 AM
Here's a direct link (http://bangordailynews.com/2013/10/23/news/portland/pirates-hockey-team-enters-into-talks-to-buy-saco-property-for-new-permanent-home-arena/?ref=regionportland) to that BDN story. An interesting new possibility. Was there more to the Pirates and the Civic Center disagreement than how much concessions/alcohol revenue would go to the Pirates this season? Is there something else the Pirates want that they aren't getting here (I haven't followed the story that closely, maybe I am missing something)?. It seems like permanently relocating the team and helping to partially finance a new arena would cost the Pirates owners dramatically more than they would have lost from a smaller percentage of concession revenues in Portland.

According to this Steve Solloway column (www.pressherald.com/sports/sweet-smell-of-old-time-hockey-in-lewiston_2013-09-27.html) from last month, "The businessman in Petrovek wants to be a partner in managing the Civic Center, not a long-term tenant. After paying rent for more than a decade and putting fans in the seats, he wanted a bigger voice and a bigger piece of the pie." Those of us who wonder whatever happened to New Year's Portland after Petrovek took over managing it may not see his desire as a good thing.

With his tail between his legs! Saco Pirates or Lewiston Pirates totally unrealistic and would not create long term profitability. Now the Cumberland County Commissioners have the upper hand and Brian will get a less attractive deal than what he could have had a couple of months ago. Still a potentially positive marriage for both sides, and even sweeter for the City of Portland which emerges pretty much unscathed in the process.
Precisely! He can't make money at the prices he's charging up there, and there's little economic lift for Lewiston because there's nothing around the Colisee for fans to go spend money at (restaurants, bars, etc.) I wonder how many Portland-area fans are even going up, and of those how many are making their way into downtown to find food & drink.

Corey
11-24-2013, 05:56 PM
http://i.imgur.com/eV53eqT.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/mOhGKNi.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/q7S2xF0.jpg

Portlander
11-24-2013, 07:38 PM
After complaining to numerous involved parties during the renovation planning process, I am glad to see they took my advice and spent some money on paint and covered the hideous silver steel support braces along the sides of the arena. This is evident in Corey's last photo and is a nice visual improvement that was not going to be addressed in the budget.

For those interested, the 7000 refurbished permanent seats have been arriving from Hussey Seating during the past two weeks. The new seats will be a maroon/reddish color very similar to the seats in Bangor's new arena. The 1500 new floor seats will be delivered to the Civic Center in the near future. Not sure why it is taking so long to find or announce what company/corporation has landed the naming rights contract?

portlandneedsnewarena
11-25-2013, 07:01 AM
After complaining to numerous involved parties during the renovation planning process, I am glad to see they took my advice and spent some money on paint and covered the hideous silver steel support braces along the sides of the arena. This is evident in Corey's last photo and is a nice visual improvement that was not going to be addressed in the budget.

For those interested, the 7000 refurbished permanent seats have been arriving from Hussey Seating during the past two weeks. The new seats will be a maroon/reddish color very similar to the seats in Bangor's new arena. The 1500 new floor seats will be delivered to the Civic Center in the near future. Not sure why it is taking so long to find or announce what company/corporation has landed the naming rights contract?

I couldn't agree more. Those braces were just awful to look at and didn't exactly make you feel secure. At least now they blend in with the rest of the structure.

portlandneedsnewarena
12-03-2013, 07:48 AM
According to the U.S Lacrosse League the first franchise in league history has been signed and will be playing it's games at the Cumberland County Civic Center starting in the Fall of 2014. The name of the team is the Maine Moose Trax. www.theusll.com
Obviously this isn't good news for the Pirates returning to the Civic Center as this Lax team would more than likely take up alot of the Friday/Saturday dates the Pirates would be playing at the CCCC.

grittys457
12-03-2013, 08:24 AM
You gotta be shitting me. That better not be a replacement for an AHL team. Won't last anyway.

Dr. StrangeHat
12-03-2013, 08:44 AM
On the flip side, I can't imagine they'd take up as much of the schedule as the Pirates, leaving more dates available for concerts and other events, which in turn would make the CCCC more profitable.

That said, as a hockey fan, I'd rather have an AHL team here.

Portlander
12-03-2013, 08:56 AM
Not sure how I feel about this new turn of events. Would prefer an AHL team and maybe the individual team schedules could work for a Lacrosse AND Hockey team at he Civic Center? Looks like the LAX team would only play 6 home dates during the fairly short season so maybe we can accommodate two different sports at the same time.

portlandneedsnewarena
12-03-2013, 09:34 AM
Not sure how I feel about this new turn of events. Would prefer an AHL team and maybe the individual team schedules could work for a Lacrosse AND Hockey team at he Civic Center? Looks like the LAX team would only play 6 home dates during the fairly short season so maybe we can accommodate two different sports at the same time.

Yeh, 6 homes games and 6 away plus playoffs. Starting in September and ending in December. An AhL team could easily work around that schedule.
Indoor (Box) Lacrosse is very fast and physical.

grittys457
12-03-2013, 11:19 AM
Don't they have some crazy ass fights in that other lacrosse league?

Dr. StrangeHat
12-04-2013, 08:23 AM
http://www.pressherald.com/news/Civic_center_to_become_home_to_new_lacrosse_team_. html

It looks like the league put the cart before the horse with their announcement. There's no deal with the civic center just yet. It makes me wonder just how strong the management and thus potential is for this league actually is. If your first major announcement comes too early and is "written incorrectly" (as the league founder and Chairman dierctly stated), then that doesn't show very well from a business perspective.

Also, twelve home games are planned instead of six.

Corey
12-04-2013, 05:21 PM
Sounds like the Civic Center could handle the Pirates as well as a potential lacrosse team.

I never went to a game, but we managed to have a "professional roller hockey (http://rhistats.tripod.com/teams/nesti.htm)" team for one year (1994). That's a good bit of Portland-trivia for you.

Edit - Found an interesting article about our short-lived roller hockey team here (http://www.funwhileitlasted.net/2011/04/27/11-new-england-stingers/). Apparently the roller hockey season was during the summer which is a harder time to sell people on watching sports indoors. It sounds like the lacrosse team would play in the fall/winter which might work.

Dr. StrangeHat
12-10-2013, 11:19 AM
An interesting development:

http://www.pressherald.com/news/Portland_Pirates_get_new_majority_owner_.html

Tune in next week for another riveting episode of "As the Pirates Turn"...

Portlander
12-10-2013, 05:22 PM
Another public relations move in an attempt to distant the team from Brian who has burned all of his bridges. In the long term it may actually work and the Pirates and the trustees will eventually agree to a new deal which will favor the Civic Center more than the previous draft which was very Pirate friendly. I would prefer that the Pirates remain in Portland, I just want a fair agreement for both parties.

markhb
12-10-2013, 10:27 PM
Given that the team announced that they issued additional stock to make the new guy majority owner, a friend of mine observed that it sounds like they needed a cash infusion. If this new guy, who says he's going to be the "public face of the team", just approaches things from the standpoint of "don't be a jerk," he'll be off to a good start.

Corey
12-12-2013, 05:21 PM
http://i.imgur.com/nT1A1rj.jpg

Dr. StrangeHat
12-13-2013, 07:40 AM
I wonder how much it would cost to change the brown paneling on the top to another color to better match the new additions?

mainejeff
12-13-2013, 09:08 AM
I wonder how much it would cost to change the brown paneling on the top to another color to better match the new additions?

I was thinking the same exact thing! After $33 million.......I guess that we'll have to live with it. It goes with many other ugly new developments in Portland.....Bay House being a prime example.

Dr. StrangeHat
12-13-2013, 09:19 AM
Maybe they can use the funds from the naming rights to change that?

Corey
01-01-2014, 09:24 AM
http://i.imgur.com/4F6MRaZ.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/d6e3TbG.jpg

tazzman
01-01-2014, 03:47 PM
http://i.imgur.com/4F6MRaZ.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/d6e3TbG.jpg

in the first pic there rendering showed a balcony outside with people standing on it .did they decide not to go with it

portlandneedsnewarena
01-02-2014, 07:07 AM
in the first pic there rendering showed a balcony outside with people standing on it .did they decide not to go with it
They eliminated it. The architectural plans show a balcony with a pair of doors going out onto it. The only thing I could imagine was 2 dozen + smokers out there during intermission and a drunk patron falling over the railing onto the street below. The balcony wasn't a good idea to begin with.

Dr. StrangeHat
01-03-2014, 08:55 AM
We were down there on Wednesday evening, and I was actually quite surprised at how well the new addition in place of the suicide stairs integrates into the existing building. Based on the renderings, I was worried it wouldn't flow into the existing building very well.

I still think they need to change the color on that brown siding/panleing on top. With these nice new additions on the corners, it now looks even more like it was built in the 70s.

Matt68
01-03-2014, 12:08 PM
Could not agree more with Dr. Strangehat; brown paneling/siding has to go. I imagine this will take place when a corporate sponsor is named. In any event Im sure the renovation will be beautiful when complete and Portland as well as Maine will have a 21st century facility to be proud of.
A healthy and prosperous 2014 to the entire ArchBoston community !

Portlander
01-03-2014, 02:36 PM
As I get older my sense of color may be weakening but the paneling looks more black than brown in the photos and in person. They are replacing numerous sections due to construction requirements and are sticking with the same color theme which means we will have to live with it. I personally like the brownish/blackish paneling and am thankful that it was not left as a stark concrete slab all the way to the roofline when the arena was originally built.

My overall opinion of the renovations to this point are positive and the additions blend fairly well visually. I also think the arena looks more impressive in it's overall size and scope especially along Spring Street and I bet that the southeast corner will look great when lit up at night. Am looking forward to a future open house like the city did with the new jetport terminal so I can actually check out the improvements on the inside which is a little more important to me than the exterior. The reupholstered burgundy seats are still covered in plastic!

Corey
01-12-2014, 10:28 AM
http://i.imgur.com/6wi7VvJ.jpg

Corey
01-19-2014, 10:20 AM
http://i.imgur.com/I1HRbbg.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/5adEIkY.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/wN2rZrG.jpg

tazzman
01-29-2014, 10:40 PM
Civic center sends revised proposal to Pirates

http://www.pressherald.com/news/Civic_Center_trustees_send_Pirates_a_lease_proposa l_.html

Corey
02-02-2014, 07:09 PM
Looks like I will soon stop spamming the forum with Civic Center photos. Spring Street and Center Street are back open, so the remaining work will be on the interior. From an exterior perspective, I am hoping the plan (http://www.portlandmaine.gov/springstreetfreestreet.htm) of removing Spring Street's concrete median is still a go. I'll also mention that I like the addition of the same dark green light posts that are on Congress Street.

http://i.imgur.com/P2nkWia.jpg

Bike parking!

http://i.imgur.com/L2cqZNl.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/2ZALksU.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/JAZa3Cc.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/p5OrHL0.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/Bolg7Vh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/3Z9Az9B.jpg

Dr. StrangeHat
02-04-2014, 10:47 AM
A 5-year deal (starting next season) has been reached to keep the Pirates in Portland at the CCCC:

http://www.pressherald.com/news/Pirates__Civic_Center_reach_lease_agreement_.html? cmpid=breaking-news-box

mainejeff
02-04-2014, 12:46 PM
I still don't get those corner luxury suites that have those HUGE concrete supports right smack in the middle of the sight lines. Even the railing angles are messed up. If you haven't seen these yet.......you'll know what I mean when you see them.

Shepard
02-04-2014, 01:26 PM
So what's the plan now for Spring Street? Seems hard to create a nice urban experience and streetwall there... isn't everything across from the Civic Center actually on a different grade and therefore set back away from the street?

Dr. StrangeHat
02-04-2014, 02:58 PM
I still don't get those corner luxury suites that have those HUGE concrete supports right smack in the middle of the sight lines. Even the railing angles are messed up. If you haven't seen these yet.......you'll know what I mean when you see them.

Nobody in luxury boxes ever watches the game anyway, especially if the box is corporate-owned. I was lucky enough to attend a few games in the luxury box at the TD Garden for my old employer, and I was usually the only one ever watching the game intently. Everyone else was schmoozing, networking and/or "talking shop".

Portlander
02-04-2014, 06:02 PM
Got a sneak preview of the Civic Center last night and I was pleased with renovations. Much attention was given to to color, paint and other visual improvements, no longer looks like a drab concrete/cinder block arena. The sky boxes are very unique in appearance and will provide a neat vantage point for concerts in particular. The visual sight lines will not be a big issue due to the location of the corner columns, available seating in the suites is flexible and not fixed. The main entrances on the west end by the garage are spacious and will provide a much more comfortable area for event goers to mingle prior to entering the arena portion. Maroon seating works well with the new interior color scheme and is very similar to Bangor's attractive new building.

In addition, Hancock Lumber donated new flooring for basketball type events which was much needed and long overdue. So it is not a new arena as many of us would have preferred, but the architects and design team made the most of what we have. The new telescopic seating on the east end blends well and will allow the stage to be moved further back and will increase concert capacity to an additional 500 seats. Now that the Pirates are committed long term, the next step will be securing naming rights which I think will be accomplished in the near future.

And mainejeff, with all due respect, is there anything new in Portland that you approve of? After reviewing a majority of your previous posts, most take a negative slant and are riddled with criticism which makes you come off as pro Bangor and anti Portland. Your opinions are appreciated but surely you can find something positive with a few of Portland's ongoing or proposed projects/developments.

tazzman
02-04-2014, 08:01 PM
Got a sneak preview of the Civic Center last night and I was pleased with renovations. Much attention was given to to color, paint and other visual improvements, no longer looks like a drab concrete/cinder block arena. The sky boxes are very unique in appearance and will provide a neat vantage point for concerts in particular. The visual sight lines will not be a big issue due to the location of the corner columns, available seating in the suites is flexible and not fixed. The main entrances on the west end by the garage are spacious and will provide a much comfortable area for event goers to mingle prior to entering the arena portion. Maroon seating works well with the new interior color scheme is very similar to Bangor's attractive new building.

In addition, Hancock Lumber donated new flooring for basketball type events which was much needed and long overdue. So it is not a new arena as many of us would have preferred, but the architects and design team made the most of what we have. The new telescopic seating on the east end blends well and will allow the stage to be moved further back and will increase concert capacity to an additional 500 seats. Now that the Pirates are committed long term, the next step will be securing naming rights which I think will be accomplished in the near future.

And mainejeff, with all due respect, is there anything new in Portland that you approve of? After reviewing a majority of your previous posts, most take a negative slant and are riddled with criticism which makes you come off as pro Bangor and anti Portland. Your opinions are appreciated but surely you can find something positive with a few of Portland's ongoing or proposed projects/developments.

did you check out the 3rd floor suite and see how the beem going threw it looks. is someone gonna bang there head on it.I noticed in the pics they put some rails on the stairs.does the escalator only go in one direction or both

Patrick
02-04-2014, 08:43 PM
Yes you are right about the grade change and the inherent difficulties that presents. The Portland Society for Architecture held a charrette or two on Spring Street and I think the City had some consulting work done for a new streetscape, but major change in urban design and build out is unlikely without major reinvestment in the overall infrastructure.

mainejeff
02-04-2014, 09:51 PM
Got a sneak preview of the Civic Center last night and I was pleased with renovations. Much attention was given to to color, paint and other visual improvements, no longer looks like a drab concrete/cinder block arena. The sky boxes are very unique in appearance and will provide a neat vantage point for concerts in particular. The visual sight lines will not be a big issue due to the location of the corner columns, available seating in the suites is flexible and not fixed. The main entrances on the west end by the garage are spacious and will provide a much more comfortable area for event goers to mingle prior to entering the arena portion. Maroon seating works well with the new interior color scheme and is very similar to Bangor's attractive new building.

In addition, Hancock Lumber donated new flooring for basketball type events which was much needed and long overdue. So it is not a new arena as many of us would have preferred, but the architects and design team made the most of what we have. The new telescopic seating on the east end blends well and will allow the stage to be moved further back and will increase concert capacity to an additional 500 seats. Now that the Pirates are committed long term, the next step will be securing naming rights which I think will be accomplished in the near future.

And mainejeff, with all due respect, is there anything new in Portland that you approve of? After reviewing a majority of your previous posts, most take a negative slant and are riddled with criticism which makes you come off as pro Bangor and anti Portland. Your opinions are appreciated but surely you can find something positive with a few of Portland's ongoing or proposed projects/developments.

Actually, I really don't like much of the new stuff in Portland. I like one of the new hotels in the Old Port (can't remember which one). I also have high hopes for Thompson Point. Much of the new stuff is just plain bland, ugly, or cheap looking.......or in some cases.....all 3.

Bangor is the pits.....but their new stuff is decent. I really don't care much for the people in either town as one seems a little too snobby and the other a little too trashy. I'll let you guess which one is which.

Patrick
02-05-2014, 09:40 AM
Actually, I really don't like much of the new stuff in Portland. I like one of the new hotels in the Old Port (can't remember which one). I also have high hopes for Thompson Point. Much of the new stuff is just plain bland, ugly, or cheap looking.......or in some cases.....all 3.

Bangor is the pits.....but their new stuff is decent. I really don't care much for the people in either town as one seems a little too snobby and the other a little too trashy. I'll let you guess which one is which.

MaineJeff may be referring to the fact that most of the buildings sort of look the same, which is true but a product of the reality of development more than lack of architectural genius or developer vision. A lot of the materials are made in advance, probably in bulk, based on standardized manufacturing processes. That's why the windows in the first floor retail spots of Maine Med's relatively new parking garage on Congress Street look the exact same as those across town at the Ocean Gateway garage -- that's probably also why Bay House and the Bayside Village student housing complex, as well as Chestnut Street lofts, all sort of looks the same. That being said, I am very pleased to see Portland developing as much as it is. Materials selections aside, the infill is a great thing for the community. This style of development will simply represent its era of construction just like any other. The city is a layer of different eras of construction materials and architecture, and the present one is one of many (all of which similarly look the same, and probably were also criticized...recall, it was not that long ago that most people longed for something, anything, other than squat brick buildings...).

mainejeff
02-05-2014, 11:06 AM
MaineJeff may be referring to the fact that most of the buildings sort of look the same, which is true but a product of the reality of development more than lack of architectural genius or developer vision. A lot of the materials are made in advance, probably in bulk, based on standardized manufacturing processes. That's why the windows in the first floor retail spots of Maine Med's relatively new parking garage on Congress Street look the exact same as those across town at the Ocean Gateway garage -- that's probably also why Bay House and the Bayside Village student housing complex, as well as Chestnut Street lofts, all sort of looks the same. That being said, I am very pleased to see Portland developing as much as it is. Materials selections aside, the infill is a great thing for the community. This style of development will simply represent its era of construction just like any other. The city is a layer of different eras of construction materials and architecture, and the present one is one of many (all of which similarly look the same, and probably were also criticized...recall, it was not that long ago that most people longed for something, anything, other than squat brick buildings...).

Agreed with your synopsis.......but you only need to look to other New England cities such as Portsmouth, Lowell and Providence to see much better looking new architecture. I get the feeling that developers are just taking advantage of Portland's newfound popularity and city leaders are happy to oblige regardless of how anything looks (the obvious citywide obsession with height excluded). They need to stop worrying about height and start worrying how these damn things look!

Patrick
02-05-2014, 12:41 PM
Agreed with your synopsis.......but you only need to look to other New England cities such as Portsmouth, Lowell and Providence to see much better looking new architecture. I get the feeling that developers are just taking advantage of Portland's newfound popularity and city leaders are happy to oblige regardless of how anything looks (the obvious citywide obsession with height excluded). They need to stop worrying about height and start worrying how these damn things look!

I work about 20 minutes north of Portsmouth, on the New Hampshire border across from Somersworth-Dover-Rochester. From my personal perspective, I would concur that there are plenty of new buildings in Portsmouth that look much better -- a prime example being one which not too long ago replaced a gas station on Congress Street but looks like it's been there a hundred years. There are also a few others that look more or less appropriate compared to other structures.

That being said, I think Portland and Portsmouth are fundamentally different places. Portsmouth is a quaint boutique town for the wealthy (although its poverty levels are in line with other less glamorous cities, like Rochester), and Portland is not. Granted, Portland has the Old Port, which is almost exactly the same as a place like Market Street in Portsmouth, but that's not its defining element. Portland is a city of contrasts, much like any other major (much larger) city. It has always been a center of the State's most dynamic and "different" architecture. Much of it will never be on par with the great architecture of the past, and that's OK, because Portland would be great without any new development. It will just be busier and therefore (in my opinion) better with it.

Again, I don't disagree that other cities are getting the architecture better, but I do disagree that its a product of city officials being overly willing to accept any and everything due to Portland's newfound status. I think newfound status is debatable, too. Portland has been a booming small city off and on for hundreds of years. The period of 2004-2007 saw a period of interest in development just as intense as the one we are seeing now as did the 1980s.

Anyway, I don't think you're wrong, but I think there's more to it than a bunch of naive city officials stumbling over themselves due to all of the attention the city is getting by slick developers. I think Portland is a city that will draw both the good and the bad from developers, and that ultimate "mix" of stuff is what makes it different from the pretty stage set that Portsmouth has become. It's a real, working city which some people forget due to the charm of the Old Port. In many ways, Portland is the perfect blend of Manchester (commercial but rough around the edges in nearly every way) and Portsmouth (cute but not enough actual substance).

markhb
02-05-2014, 10:43 PM
We're wandering way, way, waaaay down the hill from the Civic Center in this thread, but..

Agreed with your synopsis.......but you only need to look to other New England cities such as Portsmouth, Lowell and Providence to see much better looking new architecture. I get the feeling that developers are just taking advantage of Portland's newfound popularity and city leaders are happy to oblige regardless of how anything looks (the obvious citywide obsession with height excluded). They need to stop worrying about height and start worrying how these damn things look!
I wholeheartedly disagree. I'm a libertarian at heart (although not a crazy one), and while I can understand and support regulation based on safety and protection of the infrastructure (you can't feed a 200-unit building with 1 3" water main), I strongly believe that purely aesthetic "look and feel" concerns should be outside the regulatory purview. The building, after all, is an expression of some shared vision of the architect and developer, and the city is ultimately the chaotic jumble of these individual pieces accumulated over time like a multi-generational set of Lego's. The government and the NIMBY's shouldn't have any say over the pure looks; the board members might make suggestions, but they shouldn't have the ability to deny a project because they don't like the color, or even because it's covered in the crappy Zbrick that's on the Portland Harbor Hotel.

(Just an aside: I have been in one city in my life where local regulations actually require that all new buildings be finished in the same local limestone. I will admit, it's a really cool effect. But Portland's not Jerusalem*.)

The Urban Renewer in me has looked at the Pleasant St. neighborhood below Spring in the past, and thought that it would make a great place for a convention center, with a grade-separated (tunnel or skywalk) connection to the Civic Center. Keep the old school and the other buildings on Center, possibly keep the Calderwood bakery building, and essentially level everything in between to build a multi-story convention center with added exhibit hall space and breakout rooms. (I debated including this paragraph, but ultimately did because it's the only one in this whole post that has anything to do with the CCCC.)

The period of 2004-2007 saw a period of interest in development just as intense as the one we are seeing now as did the 1980s.
The only real development I recall from that period were the few places on Marginal Way. OTOH, if Midtown and Forefront happen, I'd place the current era on a par with the mid-80's as you mentioned. That period, roughly between the 1984 National Governor's Conference and the 1987 stock market crash, gave us:

One and Two Portland Square (those parking lots are the spaces for 3 and 4)
One City Center, Two City Center, and the City Center pedestrian mall that replaced upper Middle St.
the Portland Pier and Chandler's Wharf condos
10 Moulton St. (building an actual new building in the Old Port was controversial at the time)
the MEMIC building that's also near Portland Square
the Regency Hotel
Several suburban office parks including Southborough and much of what is now on Foden Road
Sable Oaks and its Marriott
the Maine Mall expansion (not urban, but it still doubled the size of the mall)
the failed proposals for Eastern Point and Lincoln Square


Many of those projects were fueled by two things: enthusiastic lending practices at Maine Savings Bank and several others, and a business plan at UNUM to separate out their profit centers, which meant that virtually every new office building was able to lease them a bunch of space before ground was broken. Maine Savings had its doors locked by the FDIC one afternoon for its troubles, as did all the S&L's, and Unum eventually was eaten by Provident. Demand for Class A office space downtown still hasn't caught up to what it was then, I don't believe (I certainly don't see many large-scale office projects on the PB docket).

Patrick
02-06-2014, 08:13 AM
We're wandering way, way, waaaay down the hill from the Civic Center in this thread, but..


I wholeheartedly disagree. I'm a libertarian at heart (although not a crazy one), and while I can understand and support regulation based on safety and protection of the infrastructure (you can't feed a 200-unit building with 1 3" water main), I strongly believe that purely aesthetic "look and feel" concerns should be outside the regulatory purview. The building, after all, is an expression of some shared vision of the architect and developer, and the city is ultimately the chaotic jumble of these individual pieces accumulated over time like a multi-generational set of Lego's. The government and the NIMBY's shouldn't have any say over the pure looks; the board members might make suggestions, but they shouldn't have the ability to deny a project because they don't like the color, or even because it's covered in the crappy Zbrick that's on the Portland Harbor Hotel.

(Just an aside: I have been in one city in my life where local regulations actually require that all new buildings be finished in the same local limestone. I will admit, it's a really cool effect. But Portland's not Jerusalem*.)

The Urban Renewer in me has looked at the Pleasant St. neighborhood below Spring in the past, and thought that it would make a great place for a convention center, with a grade-separated (tunnel or skywalk) connection to the Civic Center. Keep the old school and the other buildings on Center, possibly keep the Calderwood bakery building, and essentially level everything in between to build a multi-story convention center with added exhibit hall space and breakout rooms. (I debated including this paragraph, but ultimately did because it's the only one in this whole post that has anything to do with the CCCC.)


The only real development I recall from that period were the few places on Marginal Way. OTOH, if Midtown and Forefront happen, I'd place the current era on a par with the mid-80's as you mentioned. That period, roughly between the 1984 National Governor's Conference and the 1987 stock market crash, gave us:

One and Two Portland Square (those parking lots are the spaces for 3 and 4)
One City Center, Two City Center, and the City Center pedestrian mall that replaced upper Middle St.
the Portland Pier and Chandler's Wharf condos
10 Moulton St. (building an actual new building in the Old Port was controversial at the time)
the MEMIC building that's also near Portland Square
the Regency Hotel
Several suburban office parks including Southborough and much of what is now on Foden Road
Sable Oaks and its Marriott
the Maine Mall expansion (not urban, but it still doubled the size of the mall)
the failed proposals for Eastern Point and Lincoln Square


Many of those projects were fueled by two things: enthusiastic lending practices at Maine Savings Bank and several others, and a business plan at UNUM to separate out their profit centers, which meant that virtually every new office building was able to lease them a bunch of space before ground was broken. Maine Savings had its doors locked by the FDIC one afternoon for its troubles, as did all the S&L's, and Unum eventually was eaten by Provident. Demand for Class A office space downtown still hasn't caught up to what it was then, I don't believe (I certainly don't see many large-scale office projects on the PB docket).

I agree regarding the regulatory purview of municipalities insofar as it relates to pure aesthetics. Regulation is permissible only for proper police power reasons (health safety and the ever so clear "welfare"). But some design regulations have direct impact on public health. Say building distance from the street for example, which impacts walkability. But that's different from what you were talking about (color etc).

Regarding 04-07, you are right more actually happened in the 1980s but more was planned in the 04-07 period. It just didn't happen because of the economic meltdown. Village at ocean gate was originally four buildings between 6, 7, 9 and 11 stories if I recall. The watermark was a 6 story condo proposal with 250 units. Intermed at 10 stories. Mercy hospital's fore rover campus. The proposed 17 story office tower on the top of the old port. And 10 story hotel. And new civic center. The Maine med addition and new parking garage. 12 story water view condos. Two 9-story condos on the Falmouth line. Maine health's proposal for a 9-story office building and garage along with two other 7-story structures in bayside. Fox tower at the corner of Franklin and somerset. The 10-story Westin hotel and condominiums on fore street. The custom house wharf office building. The ocean gateway terminal. The ocean gateway garage. Hundreds of proposed units off of warren avenue. The infill lofts on congress street. Whole foods. I'm sure I'm forgetting something. The press herald called it the biggest building boom in over a century. Then the recession came in. Now we are picking up where we left off.

Dr. StrangeHat
02-06-2014, 10:12 AM
I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

Boulos' office building next to the courthhouse

Portlander
02-06-2014, 01:57 PM
Nice catch Dr. S, that building was going to be constructed with a limestone type exterior and would have been a great addition to the skyline as viewed from the harbor. Sad it was never built and if I remember correctly Cumberland County backed out of leasing deal which made the project no longer feasible.

Patrick
02-06-2014, 04:01 PM
Nice catch Dr. S, that building was going to be constructed with a limestone type exterior and would have been a great addition to the skyline as viewed from the harbor. Sad it was never built and if I remember correctly Cumberland County backed out of leasing deal which made the project no longer feasible.

Oh right, how could I have forgotten that? It would have been 15 stories and the second tallest office building by height in the City. And, then Kerry Anderson proposed building a 12 story residential and a 7 story residential building next to Brian Boru too.

markhb
02-06-2014, 05:46 PM
My comments are in bold.
Regarding 04-07, you are right more actually happened in the 1980s but more was planned in the 04-07 period. It just didn't happen because of the economic meltdown.
Village at ocean gate was originally four buildings between 6, 7, 9 and 11 stories if I recall. - Bay House is finally being completed as 1 instead of 2 buildings; rest of the project in the old overflow parking lot has already had a preliminary visit to the PB.
The watermark was a 6 story condo proposal with 250 units. - Nothing yet.
Intermed at 10 stories. - Built largely as planned, I believe.
Mercy hospital's fore rover campus. - Phase 1 completed, remaining project in the hands of EMMC and its much deeper pockets.
[8]The proposed 17 story office tower on the top of the old port. And 10 story hotel. And new civic center. - And new convention center. * Sigh. *
The Maine med addition and new parking garage. - MMC just goes from one expansion to the next so constantly that I don't think of them as being part of any particular building cycle.
12 story water view condos. - Where were these going to be?
Two 9-story condos on the Falmouth line. - These were going to be up by the end of Ocean Ave., weren't they? Near Graves Hill and the cement plant? I believe nothing happened.
Maine health's proposal for a 9-story office building and garage along with two other 7-story structures in bayside. - Bayside. * Sigh *
Fox tower at the corner of Franklin and somerset. - I had forgotten or never heard about this one. But again, Bayside. * Sigh *
The 10-story Westin hotel and condominiums on fore street. - This turned into the Hampton Inn, right? With no condos?
The custom house wharf office building. - Another one that died before hitting the PB.
The ocean gateway terminal. - If Bob Ganley hadn't died, this never would have taken as long as it did to get built. See also: the Maine State Pier proposed renovation.
The ocean gateway garage. - Built as planned.
Hundreds of proposed units off of warren avenue. - Where were these? I remember the proposed Wal-Mart that got NIMBY'd to death.
The infill lofts on congress street.
Whole foods.
Dr. Strangehat: Boulos' office building next to the courthhouse - I had forgotten about this one too, but again, it never even made it to the PB. Are there any graphics around anywhere for this one?

Portlander
02-06-2014, 08:01 PM
I think I still have the Boulos proposal package and renderings in storage and if not I gave them to Patrick. Joe is a Portland native, former Marine Corps pilot and a really decent individual who put his heart and soul into two major downtown projects and got so much grief for trying to do something positive. Owen Wells also had a rough period when he tried to develop a new arena in Bayside through the Libra Foundation and both gentlemen are done with attempting any future Portland projects which is very sad.

Dr. StrangeHat
02-06-2014, 08:47 PM
I don't want to deviate any more from the CCCC in this thread, but here's the thread about the Boulos courthouse tower, with some renderings:

http://www.archboston.org/community/showthread.php?t=1921

Patrick
02-06-2014, 09:28 PM
My comments are in bold.

Waterview at Bayside would have been on the corner of Forest and Cumberland next to Back Bay Tower -- where a new Avesta housing project is currently under construction.

Custom House office building DID get constructed -- its right next to the Custom House.

The Westin did turn into the Hampton, and there are condos, but only a dozen or so.

markhb
02-06-2014, 10:47 PM
OK, thanks... I remember the Waterview project, but the name escaped me. And you had originally said the "Custom House Wharf office building," so I was thinking of an actual on-the-wharf proposal (upper floors only, of course ;), not the one where W.L. Blake's pipe shop used to be.

Thanks for the pointer to the courthouse tower project thread; I had largely forgotten it (the idea only lasted 3 months going by the thread dates). I never had any issue with Joe Boulos or his projects, although I did email him regarding the Top of the Old Port proposal politely suggesting that he try to stretch the tower to be the tallest in northern New England, higher than the two ugly boxes in ManchVegas. He replied to me, saying that he proposed what the banks were willing to finance.

Your comments about Owen Wells make me wonder if the rejection of the arena proposal was part of what led to him pulling the plug on the Public Market. Personally, I liked the concept of a new arena in that area; I was just concerned about the fact that the full brunt of the cost (and Well's donations would have just scratched the surface) would have been on the city of Portland rather than a larger entity like the county.

On-topic: per their Facebook page, the Civic Center is planning an Open House on Saturday, March 22. Of course, you can always go to the basketball playoffs before then and at least get to see the plebeian areas.

Dr. StrangeHat
02-07-2014, 07:38 AM
On-topic: per their Facebook page, the Civic Center is planning an Open House on Saturday, March 22. Of course, you can always go to the basketball playoffs before then and at least get to see the plebeian areas.

There's also the home show next weekend. Living Social has a deal - two tickets for $8. https://www.livingsocial.com/events/cities/207-portland-me/898974-2-tickets-to-maine-home-remodeling-garden-show

We've gone to this in the past, but I'd be lying if I said we weren't going this year so I can check out the renovations.

Corey
02-07-2014, 11:36 AM
Thanks for bringing the thread back on course, markhb, I was almost going to say something. I'm planning on checking out the open house, perhaps I'll see a few fellow forumers there.

tazzman
02-07-2014, 01:02 PM
you would think with all the money spent they would of put permanent seats on all the top rows instead of portable seats like before the renovation