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Patrick 05-25-2006 09:39 AM

Portland, ME - New Construction Continued
well, the last psots got wiped out unfortunately, and i tried to do a 2005-06 re-cap but i thought i could do it as a guest and when that turned out to be an incorrect assumption, i lost my long post :x

so anyway, ill pick this topic back up, and anyone who doesnt know the dynamic past year and a half that portland went through with construction projects can just ask.

here is a building being contructed across from the AAA Northern New England Headquarters in portland's bayside district, as the area of the city continues to try and bring business in in an effort to clean itself up and shed its brownfields designation. i believe it is more AAA office space. should have put it on top of the first building, in my opinion, but oh well, sprawl is the american way.

Patrick 05-25-2006 09:40 AM

Patrick 05-25-2006 09:48 AM
walker terrace starts renting now for oct '06

portlandneedsnewarena 05-25-2006 03:17 PM

Westin Hotel/Condo project in jeapordy??
A source told me that the folks from the Westin are trying to pull out of the Portland Condo/Hotel deal. I heard one of the reasons is that they don't want to be associated w/ the Michael Liberty (I wouldn't want to be associated w/ him either) and his mess and also I am told that the City of Portland is telling them they need to add an additional 300 spaces to the parking garage in which they do not want to do.
What the heck happened to all of the other posts over the past year +??

Patrick 05-25-2006 03:31 PM

Um, first the other posts disappeared because the board suffered a meltdown (for lack of a better, more technical name). there is a more elaborate description of what happened posted by an administrator in the 'general section.

secondly, i cant imagine how the westin could back out at this point, seeing as how they have already been given approval, and already had all of those talks with millionaires etc. what i can imagine is that the city of portland drops there demand for the extra parking spots after falling for the 'scare tactics' employed by the folks behind this development. thats all that sounds like to me.

also, it was my understanding that michael liberty was part of the riverwalk development (, not the westin, which is a block away. is this assumption incorrect? at the very least i know that the people behind the longfellow development were quoted in the paper saying they were surprised about his actions, but i was unaware of any involvement he might have had in the westin.

and lastly -- I wouldnt really care one bit if the westin didnt get built, cause it was ruining my old port night life by gentrifying the area anyway (which is the source of clubs closing left and right). i dont even go down that way too often (east of the old port) anyhow, and i dont know many other people who do either. the city is really cooky when it comes to doing anything worth while. waterview and lincoln center (or lincoln square for that matter!) would have been two excellent projects on the backs of which portland could have surfed a wave of success and growth, but nope. same with the village at oceangate. but nope. oh yeah, and lets preserve more of congress street so the only corridor zoned for buildings over 20 stories tall cant be developed. bright idea that was!

Patrick 05-25-2006 03:44 PM

well, i just found this artcile about the village proposal today... :lol:

Developers downsize Village Cafe project ? again
PORTLAND ? The Boston-based developers hoping to turn the Village Cafe property into the Village at Ocean Gate condominiums have again scaled back their plans for the site.

GFI Partners is now proposing three buildings, varying in height from four to five stories, with a total of 156 condominium units on the 1.8-acre site. The buildings would be constructed in two phases, with initial prices for the condominiums expected to be in the range of $300,000.

The original plan submitted last October called for five buildings ranging from four to nine stories with 250 units. That proposal was revised in December to 200 units in five buildings that were between four and seven stories high.

In a letter to the Planning Board, which was scheduled for a workshop Tuesday with GFI, Demitrios Dasco, managing partner the the project, said the plans were revised for several reasons, including market limitations and financing.

GFI submitted plans for its new development last week. The plans call for constructing the three buildings with wood framing instead of steel and concrete to reduce costs, and joining two of the buildings. GFI is seeking conditional rezoning of the Village Cafe property that would allow it to build a mixed-use project and for a relaxation on the setback requirement for its parking garage entrance.

According to the letter from Dasco, GFI changed the building frames to wood because the cost of steel would have forced the developer to price the condominiums higher than what is considered market rate. He said while constructing with wood should cost about $300 per square foot, steel construction would cost about $600 per square foot.

?With the rising costs of construction for steel and concrete structures, we concluded that the existing local real estate market could not absorb units at a price point that made the economics work for this project, and ultimately led us to revise our development plans,? he said.

Included in documents outlining the project was a list of issues raised by Planning Department staff about the redesign, including that the two joined buildings along Hancock Street and Newbury Street are ?monolithic in form,? stretching 230 feet and 220 feet. The staff recommends in its memo that those buildings be broken up to better fit the scale of the neighborhood.

Dasco said GFI is interested in working with the Planning Board to create the appearance of separate buildings.

The city staff also said the entrances to the buildings are not prominent enough and are not in the preferred spot on each building. Main entrances are shown within the buildings, coming directly out of the below-ground parking garages. They also said the public should have access to the private courtyard planned between the buildings on Hancock and Newbury streets.

The Village at Ocean Gate still includes a 4,000-square-foot space for the Village Cafe and about 4,000 square feet for retail shops.

The project would occupy nearly two blocks bordered by Hancock and Middle streets and straddling Newbury Street. The Village Cafe and shops would be on Middle Street. Two of the buildings would be on the property currently occupied by the Village Cafe and another would be across Newbury Street, backing up to townhouses now under construction on Federal Street.

The Planning Board workshop with GFI on Tuesday was held after the The Forecaster?s deadline.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or

the longfellow

portlandneedsnewarena 05-25-2006 04:59 PM

No, Westin is Liberty's project all the way.. he's not the $$ just one of the top figureheads. He's a piece of work.

portlandneedsnewarena 05-25-2006 05:22 PM

Google; Michael Liberty Westin Portland, Maine and then click on the coopercarry website and it tells all about Liberty's involvement in the Westin project.

Corey 05-25-2006 07:32 PM

It's nice to be back, I missed you guys.

Here's another view of our new soaring tower
I'm so exited for this area. It's slowly coming together.

grittys457 05-25-2006 07:47 PM

For christ's sake, can things just get f'n built here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why why why why why?

The Westin is the key project to that area. I really doubt they would pull out after all this, but I gotta wonder why they haven't demolished the building after all this time. I can't imagine Portland can ask for more spaces since it's already been approved.

And no Patrick, your bars aren't shutting down due to the Westin which is four blocks away and nowhere near wharf street. Shutting down cause they don't make money. And they cause too much rowdyness. And cause your chain is so iced out that the birds think it's daytime during night, and they never get sleep, then die and fall on people.

I'll send Kate an email at the Forecaster to look into this bullshit of the Westin.

grittys457 05-25-2006 07:52 PM

Not sure how I beat Patrick to this since he is the world's fastest poster...

and while we're at it

Patrick 05-25-2006 08:59 PM


Originally Posted by grittys457
For christ's sake, can things just get f'n built here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why why why why why?

The Westin is the key project to that area. I really doubt they would pull out after all this, but I gotta wonder why they haven't demolished the building after all this time. I can't imagine Portland can ask for more spaces since it's already been approved.

And no Patrick, your bars aren't shutting down due to the Westin which is four blocks away and nowhere near wharf street. Shutting down cause they don't make money. And they cause too much rowdyness. And cause your chain is so iced out that the birds think it's daytime during night, and they never get sleep, then die and fall on people.

I'll send Kate an email at the Forecaster to look into this bullshit of the Westin.

I know the bars are not shutting down as a direct response to the Westin. But there is a wave of gentrification in the air and i think it is inversely related to the number of "rowdy" bars.

also, do not send an e-mail to your friend at the forecaster, because if this isnt true, and dude's source is wrong, you might spark a wave of bad press, which can lead to rumors, and ultimately real results (no westin). look at what the wind tunnel story in the press herald did for lincoln center. please dont ask her to write a story on this cause if we dont see it in the press than we can all think its not true.

grittys457 05-25-2006 09:14 PM

Haha, too late. Sent her an email a while ago.

I can't believe they are bitching about this shortened version of the Village condos. Maybe it will be fine if they just build the entire thing underground. Not sure if I really like the design or not. Would have to see other angles.

Patrick 05-25-2006 09:35 PM

For rent: Rooms with a view

PORTLAND ? For only the third time in 18 years, a new apartment building is under construction in the city.

Walker Terrace occupies Congress Street from Walker Street to Carleton Street. The building includes 40 apartments, with 22 earmarked for lower income renters. The five-story building with a mezzanine is being constructed on the site of a former gas station and stands out on a stretch of Congress Street where gas stations are still prominent.

Developer Nathan Szanton is hoping the one- and two-bedroom apartments will attract members of the local workforce, including teachers, nurses and construction workers. He said single parents or young singles looking for housing with a roommate may also find the two-bedroom units a good fit.

As construction crews worked to install utilities on the fifth floor last week, Szanton explained unique features of the building. The apartments vary in layout and views: some include French balconies, others have lofts, spiral staircases and decks. Units on the corner of Congress and Walker streets include a ?turret bedroom.?

Szanton also said it is the first apartment building in Maine to be designated a ?green? building, meaning environmentally responsible features were included in its design. For example, the hallway lights will be on sensors so that when no one is in the hallway, 75 percent of the lights will turn off automatically. Two bicycle storage rooms on the ground floor are intended to encourage alternative transportation.

Views from some of the apartments include Back Cove and even the White Mountains.

The apartments on the fifth floor have lofts and open floor plans. As expected, the higher you go in the building, the higher the rents.

Monthly rent for a two-bedroom unit with a cathedral ceiling living room, a ?turret? deck accessible from either the living room or master suite and a bonus loft room is expected to be around $1,600. That includes parking, trash collection and all utilities except electricity.

On the more affordable end, a two-bedroom apartment with a French balcony in the living room and a master bedroom suite would cost about $870 per month for qualified renters. All of the two-bedroom apartments have two full bathrooms.

To qualify for workforce housing, an individual would have to earn less than $30,000 a year. The formula changes when more than one adult occupant is involved.

Szanton and business partner Robert Monks Jr. of Cape Elizabeth hope to have the nearly $5 million project ready for occupancy by October. The two developed a similar project, Casco Terrace on State Street, a couple years ago. Fifty percent of the units in that building are designated affordable and it is fully rented.

Casco Terrace and Walker Terrace are two of the three apartment buildings built in Portland since 1988. The other development was Island View on Munjoy Hill. Szanton said there?s a simple reason there isn?t more apartment building activity.

?It?s hard to make the numbers work and do a project like this,? he said.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or

Patrick 05-25-2006 09:54 PM

morills crossing plan

Patrick 05-25-2006 09:59 PM

also: i drove past the grand victorian today in old orchard beach and it is coming along nicely, as is the new megaplex 16 screen movie theater in westbrook. neither project is completer, or even near completion, but both have just about their entire shapes in effect...

and in other news, this is just a bit of trivia, but i always hear the providence place mall referred to as a main tourist attraction down there and ooo la la it is so big etc...and one of my friends from JWU (school in prov) said the same sorts of things about it and put down the maine mall as being too small. come to find out, the maine mall is 1.1 million square feet and the providence place mall is only 1.4 million square feet. all you would need to add is the nearby target mini mall, which for all intents and purposes is a non-connected extension of the maine mall, and we would instantly surpass the 1.4 million mark. not to menion the boardes in the parking lot, themaine mall plaza, jetport plaza, and home depot plaza...oh yea and thenew mini mall planned for the site walmart currently sits on, as well as the best buy expansion.

Smuttynose 05-26-2006 12:44 AM

Providence Place really isn't that big, it's just that it's an urban mall, built downtown on a small chunk of land, so that they had to build it up, instead of out. It's 5 floors at different stages, built right up against the street, which gives it a much bigger feel.

It's much more of a perspective thing

Maine Mall

Prov Place

Patrick 05-26-2006 06:48 AM

yeah i can see how that would work, i was just saying its funny how people out a place down without really knowing much about it. for instance, my roomate freshman year labeled NH 'cowhampshire' without knowing manchester's population or high rise status. im just trying to break the stereotype that northern new england is all farmers. and in fact, at its densest, portland is denser than providence, too :roll:

im not saying we are a bigger or better city, but people should get themselves in order when discussing things that impact the reputation/stereotype of a region.

p.s. your first pic only shows about a foot of the maine mall (macy's) the rest is off to the left. i will find a better picture.

and this is why at christmas time the south portland's population hits the 100,000 daytime mark:

the maine mall is surrounded by countless mini-malls, like this one:

what i really enjoyed was the mall at millenia in orlando florida
absolutely stunning inside

Patrick 05-26-2006 01:46 PM

I had to go to the district courthouse today because i am the HAS captain and when I was there I was noticing what a beautiful city we live in. The sun was shinning, there must have been a million people walking around (well, maybe not a million, but...) and the buildings were standing out in perfect form, like they all fit together perfectly. The only thing i would change would be to have a skyscraper sticking out somewhere.

this woman's car stalled in front of a cop and she yelled at him as a joke and he almost arrested her before she apologized and said: " i dint wanna het a paleece office-sa"

haha only trashy thing i saw all day, aside from the homeless but they cant help it i guess.

Corey 05-26-2006 03:31 PM

On the topic of the maine mall, there was a story in the Press Herald today about changes, including the possibility of a movie theater in one of the old Filene's and the new Best Buy complex. When Best Buy moves into it's new building across the way, they want to make a grand entrance to the mall where B.B. used to be, or so they say.

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