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Old 04-08-2011, 05:05 PM   #1081
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Levinsky's moved from their location at Congress and India to the current TV 4 "local television" building beside MECA. This move happened not long after Porteous closed and was a successful venture even though it was a smaller retail space than the old rickety India Street store. Word has it that the senior Levinsky decided to semi retire and wanted the family to concentrate on the Windham store only. If my memory serves me correctly, they were at the downtown site for at least five years if not longer.
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:58 PM   #1082
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

I swear the old school Levinsky's had like 52 levels in there. Big time school clothes shopping there as a little kid.

Why are there a pile of bricks where the condos were supposed to be built where The Village was? Who is that fooling?
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:13 PM   #1083
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Yeah, my ex wife loved it when I took her there during summer vacations. She loved all the nooks and crannies and that old New England wooden building smell!

That condo project is not dead yet, developer is still attempting to pre-sell enough units in order obtain financing. All the bricks on the site are for the exterior of the old 3 level house that is being renovated at the west end of the construction perimeter.
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:36 PM   #1084
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

I agree with you guys that a mix of chain/local is desirable, though to me the ideal is somewhere around 75% local 25% chain. I also agree that some kind of form-based code or design review can go a long ways towards making a chain fit better in an area and not have such a cookie-cutter feel. And I would welcome a Five Guys to downtown any day over the real dreck of the most ubiquitous fast food chains - McD's, BK, Wendy's, etc.

I also would have welcomed a Gap or Banana Republic downtown when I lived in Portland, as there was almost no place to buy basic clothing items and I would end up going to the mall or up to Freeport. But even when I was in Freeport last time, and I checked out the new little development that sits back from the street across from L.L. Bean, I couldn't help but feel the town was bland. With only a couple exceptions all the stores are chain stores, even the new Johnny Rockets is a chain (which there also a TON of around DC). So in a sense it's not much different than being in an outdoor mall.

I consider myself to be a libertarian type when it comes to social issues - so in theory I should be of the "let the market decide" mentality when it comes to chain stores - but I just can't help it, I'm definitely biased towards local and unique.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:42 AM   #1085
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

By request, Five Guys on Fore Street. Not open yet, but a sign said 'training in progress' on the door. Will there be some outdoor take-out seating? That would be nice here.



New Veteran's Bridge:



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Old 04-11-2011, 06:33 PM   #1086
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Oak Street this evening:

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Old 04-12-2011, 06:39 PM   #1087
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Welp, here are some more from this evening. Longer days + warmer weather + new camera = too many photos.

The scaffolding is coming down, store opening April 14th


Putting up the sign on the Free Street side:


Future site of Pearl Place Phase 2:


Walgreens on Marginal Way is up and running:
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:20 PM   #1088
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

There is a lot of good development going on around the peninsula....when is pearl place phase 2 set to break ground?
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:59 PM   #1089
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

It's weird to see that huge old brick building on commercial street water side lit up on the inside at night. The building being renovated for the law firm to go into. Corey....get on it!
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:22 PM   #1090
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

The Cumberland Cold Storage building--long planned to be rebuilt as something, but even longer a blight on the waterfront. Now befittingly home to the fishiest profession of all, Lawyers.

What is the name of that building on Commercial and Franklin that was planned for redevelopment as a mixed use hotel in the 1980s? I can't remember the name and I drove by looking for it on the side the other day but couldn't locate it. I want to say something hall, but I don't think so. Right across from Casco Bay Lines garage.

The pictures of Marginal way are gross because a Walgreens has no business in that section of town. The company's lawyer located a loophole in the zoning that allowed it to be built, but it does nothing to enhance the overall aesthetics of an already challenged neighborhood. I am enrolled at the moment in a class on Urban Design, and my semester project is to "fix" that stretch of Marginal way. Here is what I have come up with thus far, which could all be built with current zoning. The view is looking at the Trader Joes site (the tallest building) and its parking area (the mid rise).



Also, although I don't suspect it to have much trouble, I don't know that Pearl Place II has been approved yet. I didn't follow the PB meeting. Anyone else know?
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:00 PM   #1091
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

The walgreens is really out of place....it would be a better fit if it were constructed as a mixed use building....with other retail options and possible housing....
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:00 PM   #1092
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

I'm looking forward to seeing the progress on the Cumberland Cold Storage Building / New Pierce Atwood HQ.

I assumed Pearl Place 2 was approved and set to happen eventually, but I could be wrong. The Avesta Housing website has a rendering and expected completion date of Spring 2012:



I am also not a fan of the Walgreens re-development but I understand that it is a good business to have in the area. You can see the scenic bayside glacier behind it in my photo. A several-story mixed used building with a Walgreens on the first floor would have been great. The Planet Fitness building and the DHHS buildings and parking lots next door aren't much to brag about either despite being more urban than Walgreens, but I still have some hope that this part of Bayside could be something special someday.

That sounds like an interesting project, Patrick. I would love to take an urban design class. Based on that one rendering you shared, I was wondering if you had taken into account the 'skyline view' from I-295/Marginal Way? I remember when the Intermed Building and the student housing was going up there was a small amount of rumbling from some city councilors (or maybe just one of them) about the desire to retain the view of the 'skyline' from the highway. I think building up against the highway makes sense (as does looking into replacing the highway) and I think that the skyline isn't much to look at from this side of town anyhow. If it were my project, I'd also design some sort of mixed-mode transportation hub along Marginal Way.
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:12 PM   #1093
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Absolutely, Corey. Good ideas. But, this project is bounded by time constraints, and it is difficult to begin fresh once the idea has been put into the model (a site plan was done first). It could be done, but this is sort of a rough draft if you will. The criticism is as important as the project itself.

I would put an intermodal transportation hub of some sort on Marginal, too, but for the same reason have not (time).

The skyline did indeed factor into this design, strongly. You see the 14 story building across from intermed, so that it would peek over that building and be visible. Its more slender appearance gives the visual appearance that intermed itself has a tapered top, from some angles. Then there is the 8 story building featured most prominently in the rendering. The idea there was to give some variation while also peeking above the Student housing.


It is difficult to enhance the skyline where the student housing is, because that building is so long and of a constant height. This area is lower topographically, so a 14 story building wouldn't do too much to block what is there already, especially in light of Intermed. The other option would have been to build tall in the trader Joe's parking area, but although I considered how this would vary the skyline more, it wouldn't produce as strong of a gateway to Marginal way. All very interesting contemplations from a design standpoint. If you are interested in design, I can recommend a few good books (which you may already be familiar with from what I have read in some of your posts). It seems like urban design is so fundamental in some ways that a class is unnecessary. But it sure is fun nonetheless! And we have some interesting discussions. There is a really good article we read (and an associated documentary) on the design of public spaces in NYC. Also, the FBCI is hosting sessions in portland next month, but that is more for professionals (not that you couldn't understand it, but just that it might be tailored more toward working instead of hobby based)....either way I suggest you look into it if you have any interest.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:05 PM   #1094
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Per a press release on the city website, there will be guided walking tour and public meeting on April 27 regarding the Congress Street Bus Corridor. Looks interesting, I would like to go but it starts too early for me to get back downtown from work. I think the Bus Corridor plans are coming from the 2009 Peninsula Traffic study which is also on the city website if PDF form.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:26 PM   #1095
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

In the photo of the new Walgreens in the Bayside neighborhood, it seems that in the background, there are a number of undeveloped, (or what look like unused buildings to me) spaces and industrial properties. Is the city actively pursuing any of these properties for urban (and hopefully not one story) development?
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:27 PM   #1096
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Quote:
Originally Posted by toddc View Post
In the photo of the new Walgreens in the Bayside neighborhood, it seems that in the background, there are a number of undeveloped, (or what look like unused buildings to me) spaces and industrial properties. Is the city actively pursuing any of these properties for urban (and hopefully not one story) development?
Yep, this area is Bayside and has been earmarked for urban development for at least 12 years, beginning with an EPA funded planning effort in 1999-2000, resulting in the Bayside Vision plan. New zoning adopted a few years ago mandates that all structures in this neighborhood be at least 3 stories tall (to avoid the retail chains) and that it must be close to the street. A few major projects materialized for exactly the properties you referenced, all of which are owned by the City at this time and are being actively marketed, in 2007, just before the economy tanked. Here are some renderings.

I believe Walgreens is the block to the right in this rendering (this building is the empty property home to what Corey and others refer to as the Bayside glacier, a snow dump, behind the Walgreens photo in the previous photo), but the DHHS building is throwing me off, so it could also be closer to the Whole Foods a few blocks east...although I think the rendering is off because all the other projects proposed along with this one were for the properties behind Walgreens.


Here is another proposal for the same area (across the street)


And this would be right next to Walgreens (on the same site as the first rendering above, I believe)


Here you see the walgreens building in the bottom rendering
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:49 PM   #1097
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

If these renderings become a reality, they would enhance the fabric of Bayside, tenfold!
Are these projects that are simply waiting for the economy to turn around, or are they scrapped? I hope they become a reality as the economy gets better....
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:09 PM   #1098
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Those renderings are all pretty nice. Just out of curiosity, do you know how exactly the Walgreen's slipped in? It's a shame--strong, mixed-use neighborhoods need pharmacies and convenience stores, but at the very least they need to be built up to the road and cater to pedestrians, and ideally they are tenants in a larger project.

Bayside is a really exciting area, and I hope it takes off. I think Manchester has something somewhat similar, though more broken up and not as ideally located, in the Gaslight, Warehouse and Rivers Edge areas in the downtown south between the arena and Queen City Ave. Bayside seems like it has the potential to be a smaller version of the Pearl District in Big Portland. I hope that with a handful of auto-oriented retail spots going in, and some of those renderings looking like mostly single-use projects, it doesn't end up more like Kendall Square.
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:09 PM   #1099
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankLloydMike View Post
Those renderings are all pretty nice. Just out of curiosity, do you know how exactly the Walgreen's slipped in? It's a shame--strong, mixed-use neighborhoods need pharmacies and convenience stores, but at the very least they need to be built up to the road and cater to pedestrians, and ideally they are tenants in a larger project.
Patrick may know the gritty details of this, but I recall something about the building being exempt to the new Bayside building codes because it's not an entirely new building. It's actually partly built from the shell of an older building.

This idea of 'building up to the roads' is something that I agree is very important for a healthy and vibrant neighborhood that caters to its inhabitants. It's a common sense thing that is often overlooked in urban environments.
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Old 04-13-2011, 04:13 PM   #1100
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Quote:
Originally Posted by toddc View Post
If these renderings become a reality, they would enhance the fabric of Bayside, tenfold!
Are these projects that are simply waiting for the economy to turn around, or are they scrapped? I hope they become a reality as the economy gets better....
Well, the most modern of the renderings has been scrapped. It was for the new Maine Health headquarters, which has since moved into the retrofitted Anthem building on Spring Street. None of these projects was ever actually proposed, but each were sort of the first step in a process of buying this city owned land. The city owns a bunch of contiguous parcels all in a row and essentially can tie their sale of the property to conditions that the development proposals be urban in nature. And that is what they have done. There is another proposal out there, by Developer's Collaborative, that would have been much more low rise, but still urban in nature, in fact perhaps more urban, because it consisted of a bunch of densely built structures strung together in an island or urbanity. That project would have been a build out over time, which I don't like because instant gratification is always better, but for city building sometimes that's how the best places seem to be made, organically instead of from scratch and overnight.

To answer your question more directly, these projects are sort of waiting for the economy to rebound in the sense that the City is still actively marketing the property and when the economy reaches a similar level to where it was in 2007, new projects of this magnitude and scope might materialize. The Bayside trail has been deliberately designed to integrate with new office space in this area. One of the proposals I heard discussed including moving the law school to this neighborhood, which would have done wonders for both the city and the School, as it would have a positive pedestrian presence contribution and the School could market the walkability of the location to the courts and downtown as an incentive to attract stronger students.
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