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Old 11-29-2018, 02:31 PM   #3381
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

I'm not concerned and have no money tied up in any of these hotel projects. Developers do ample research and due diligence and wouldn't build if there wasn't a good chance to make a positive return on their investment. We've been through financial down times before and people continue to go on vacation and travel for business. They may not spend as much or travel as far, but I think Portland is positioned close enough to the Boston and NYC markets to survive. And if a few of the weaker hotels were to fail, they would be sold or auctioned off and converted into residential uses which could help rental availability and leasing expenses.
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Old 11-29-2018, 09:15 PM   #3382
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

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I'm getting legitimately concerned about the ridiculous oversaturation of hotels in Portland. There's no way that the city can sustain this many rooms for a long period of time. There are going to be A LOT of empty hotel rooms whenever the next economic slowdown hits.
I hope so. I've been wanting to get to Portland and stay overnight downtown....but I can't afford $300-$500/night.
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Old 11-29-2018, 09:32 PM   #3383
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

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I hope so. I've been wanting to get to Portland and stay overnight downtown....but I can't afford $300-$500/night.
Try January; I just looked and the Hyatt was around $140-150.
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Old 11-29-2018, 09:47 PM   #3384
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

The bottom of the PPH article mentions that revenue per hotel room has increased over 30% in 5 years, even with all the new construction. I think this is kind of like (and related to) the city's restaurants boom the more hotels get built, the more those hotels market themselves and the city as a destination, and the more people want to come here.

At this point, I'm more concerned about the hotels and tourism crowding out more productive and better-paying employers downtown.

Also: read the application in the historic preservation board materials, and you'll see that this hotel looks like one component of a larger "Portland Square" redevelopment, which would convert the exiting parking lot into a garage and build plazas and new buildings above it. This hotel would be the only part of that development subject to HP review, though, so maybe we'll see more when this heads to the planning board.
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Old 11-29-2018, 09:54 PM   #3385
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

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Also: read the application in the historic preservation board materials, and you'll see that this hotel looks like one component of a larger "Portland Square" redevelopment, which would convert the exiting parking lot into a garage and build plazas and new buildings above it. This hotel would be the only part of that development subject to HP review, though, so maybe we'll see more when this heads to the planning board.
So the decade-old rumor might finally be coming into reality. I don't see current Historic Preservation Board documents on the city's agenda center, Do they mention anything about proposed height / massing / makeup of the later phases of the project?
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:17 PM   #3386
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Here's a page from the HP application showing the other development on the block "by others":


Also interesting is this view, showing the facade with other buildings behind it:



It's a weird perspective but it's basically a zero-depth-perception view up Center Street, with the Time and Temp and Fidelity buildings looming in the background (at the top of Center Street), and the big City Center parking garage directly in front of them, as in this (perspective) view from Google Earth:



Note how, in that second elevation rendering, there's a big 8- or 9-story building on the right edge, just to the right (east) of Cotton Street, behind the historic Swasey & Co. building. It's too far west and too short to be either 1 City Center or 1 Monument Sq., and it's too big to be anything else.

So what is it? Is this our first glimpse of the next Portland Square project? Is it a building being planned for this block, south of Fore Street, or something being planned for the north, closer to Spring?
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Old 11-29-2018, 11:16 PM   #3387
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

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Here's a page from the HP application showing the other development on the block "by others":


Also interesting is this view, showing the facade with other buildings behind it:



It's a weird perspective but it's basically a zero-depth-perception view up Center Street, with the Time and Temp and Fidelity buildings looming in the background (at the top of Center Street), and the big City Center parking garage directly in front of them, as in this (perspective) view from Google Earth:



Note how, in that second elevation rendering, there's a big 8- or 9-story building on the right edge, just to the right (east) of Cotton Street, behind the historic Swasey & Co. building. It's too far west and too short to be either 1 City Center or 1 Monument Sq., and it's too big to be anything else.

So what is it? Is this our first glimpse of the next Portland Square project? Is it a building being planned for this block, south of Fore Street, or something being planned for the north, closer to Spring?
Based on the massing and shadows from the top-down rendering, I would guess that the"development by others" are in the 5-6 story range,

As far as I know, the parcel bordered by Spring, Cotton and Fore St. is zoned for 125 feet, so it makes sense for a taller building to be there.
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Old 12-02-2018, 10:33 AM   #3388
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Excited to see the potential transformation of this big surface parking lot into more productive uses.

Related to this project, I saw that the city is hosting a Community Dialogue at the Library Tuesday evening about "the challenges and opportunities along Commercial Street." I anticipate there will be a lot of fired-up NIMBY's, but perhaps there will be some useful dialogue about balancing new development with space for our maritime industry. I'm curious to hear what is planned to accomodate increased commuter traffic heading towards the India Street Neighborhood. Will we get to a point where people want to invest more in mass transit and non-vehicular infrastructure (I hope so)?

Concerning whether we have too many hotels or not, based on the current market it appears we do not. Of course there will be a time when the economy slows and we have excess capacity though. One of the positives of a well-designed building, which I assume the planning board considers, is that buildings can be repurposed. So if a hotel goes out of business perhaps it can be carved up into office and residential space, for example.
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Old 12-03-2018, 09:43 PM   #3389
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Included in the Historic Preservation Board's latest materials is a mockup of the next proposed building in the ongoing development of the block bounded by India/Fore/Hancock/Thames. After this the plans call for a 7-story building on Fore Street opposite the parking garage. (Speaking of which, any word on tenants for the new glass buildouts on the garage?)

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Old 12-04-2018, 09:58 AM   #3390
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

^ Wow, they're proposing slate cladding I don't think the city's had a new slate-clad building go up in at least 100 years. That's going to be a handsome building.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:36 AM   #3391
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Was told on Friday that the 7 story office building will hopefully break ground during the spring thaw and Wright Ryan is bidding for the contract.
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:53 PM   #3392
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

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^ Wow, they're proposing slate cladding I don't think the city's had a new slate-clad building go up in at least 100 years. That's going to be a handsome building.
Unfortunately, the staff memo to the HPB says, "wouldn't you prefer some nice, red bricks?"
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:35 AM   #3393
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey View Post
Excited to see the potential transformation of this big surface parking lot into more productive uses.

Related to this project, I saw that the city is hosting a Community Dialogue at the Library Tuesday evening about "the challenges and opportunities along Commercial Street." I anticipate there will be a lot of fired-up NIMBY's, but perhaps there will be some useful dialogue about balancing new development with space for our maritime industry. I'm curious to hear what is planned to accomodate increased commuter traffic heading towards the India Street Neighborhood. Will we get to a point where people want to invest more in mass transit and non-vehicular infrastructure (I hope so)?
As a visitor to Portland, I've often thought that the entertainment density on the peninsula makes a streetcar loop a very reasonable opportunity. Something like this:


Ideally with both clockwise and counterclockwise trains, although it's short enough that they may not be necessary.

I apologize for my lack of research on this point has there been any effort to improve transportation in such a big way?
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:49 AM   #3394
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

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I apologize for my lack of research on this point has there been any effort to improve transportation in such a big way?
To my knowledge there hasn't been any discussion of this kind of public transportation in Portland in recent years. The focus of local transportation planning seems to have been improving the Metro bus service and adding shuttles to nearby towns like Freeport and Biddeford/Saco.

For a long time I've thought that the Portland Transportation Center would be better positioned more centrally on the peninsula, but now with the buildout of Thompson's Point I think it might be advantageous to have the train and bus station here, to help with the development of this area.
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Old 12-05-2018, 10:02 AM   #3395
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

^ Our local transit agency, METRO, has done a good job of expanding local bus services and growing ridership in the past few years, but their strategy is mostly focused on getting more riders from outside of the city center.

The density of the peninsula is great for transit, especially relative to other cities our size, but the area's walkability ironically makes it a less-attractive place for big transit investments like a downtown streetcar, since lots of potential riders are just as happy to walk and enjoy the sights on the way. Plus, our state government spends less on transit than just about any other state in the nation, so realistically, our small city can't afford a streetcar.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:08 AM   #3396
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

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To my knowledge there hasn't been any discussion of this kind of public transportation in Portland in recent years. The focus of local transportation planning seems to have been improving the Metro bus service and adding shuttles to nearby towns like Freeport and Biddeford/Saco.

For a long time I've thought that the Portland Transportation Center would be better positioned more centrally on the peninsula, but now with the buildout of Thompson's Point I think it might be advantageous to have the train and bus station here, to help with the development of this area.
Good to know thank you! The train station is pretty far outside for a visitor, but I agree: if the area nearby and between the station and peninsula get built up, this is less of an issue psychologically.

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^ Our local transit agency, METRO, has done a good job of expanding local bus services and growing ridership in the past few years, but their strategy is mostly focused on getting more riders from outside of the city center.

The density of the peninsula is great for transit, especially relative to other cities our size, but the area's walkability ironically makes it a less-attractive place for big transit investments like a downtown streetcar, since lots of potential riders are just as happy to walk and enjoy the sights on the way. Plus, our state government spends less on transit than just about any other state in the nation, so realistically, our small city can't afford a streetcar.
I've definitely experienced the compactness part myself except for a few odd instances, I've pretty much always just walked anywhere when I'm in Portland. But a streetcar would definitely make it easier to go a little farther a little quicker.

Re: funding: Sounds like a great opportunity for a federal grant many streetcars were built with TIGER (now BUILD) funding: https://www.transportation.gov/BUILDgrants/about
Of course, the state/region/city would have to contribute to recurring costs like maintenance....
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:41 AM   #3397
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Has anyone heard any news of a Hadlock field major renovation? Seems that it is time for a major over haul. Portland would be perfect for a waterfront ball park too.
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Old 12-05-2018, 12:58 PM   #3398
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Quote:
Originally Posted by 34f34f View Post
Good to know thank you! The train station is pretty far outside for a visitor, but I agree: if the area nearby and between the station and peninsula get built up, this is less of an issue psychologically.



I've definitely experienced the compactness part myself except for a few odd instances, I've pretty much always just walked anywhere when I'm in Portland. But a streetcar would definitely make it easier to go a little farther a little quicker.

Re: funding: Sounds like a great opportunity for a federal grant many streetcars were built with TIGER (now BUILD) funding: https://www.transportation.gov/BUILDgrants/about
Of course, the state/region/city would have to contribute to recurring costs like maintenance....
There has been some vague (emphasis on Vague) talk of using part of the former Maine Central RR mountain division line for a light rail / commuter rail service from the new Rock Row development in Westbrook to the PTC and possibly into downtown, that's the most realistic option for light rail in Portland.

There's also the issue that Portland's compactness makes a modern light rail system difficult, our streets are narrow and any new light rail would most likely have to run in mixed traffic when downtown, which creates huge reductions in speed and efficency. (for comparison, trains on the street running segments of the MBTA green line E branch average less than 5 mph)

Personally, I would like to see a light rail line along for former grand truck right of way from India St. in Portland up through Falmouth and Yarmouth, that would be a great way to coax Portland-bound drivers off of the increasingly choked 295.
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:28 PM   #3399
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Seanflynn, I agree that Hadlock Field could use a makeover. There were talks years ago about extending the first base grandstands towards the Expo/picnic area and removing the aluminum temporary seats that are there now. My vision would involve renovating and expanding the ring of suites at the top and adding a partial roof to protect some of the seating area. This would avoid congestion in the concourse area during rain delays.

Though it would be great to have a new ballpark downtown, there is no available parcel of land large enough (Top of the Old Port lot maybe) to accommodate a stadium/plaza footprint. Parking might not be an issue due to most of the games start after 6 PM on weeknights. The South Portland side of the eastern waterfront with the Portland skyline as a backdrop would be awesome but traffic and parking would cancel that idea.

Hopefully, the Red Sox ownership and the City of Portland will do what it takes to keep improving the current facility and ensure the affiliation remains in Maine. Manchester, Springfield, Providence and Lowell would all love to land the Red Sox AA team! Worcester won the bid for the AAA club and will build a new 10,000 seat ballpark which will add new life to a long neglected section of downtown.
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Old 12-21-2018, 01:13 PM   #3400
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

In case folks didn't see it:

"Future Portland hotel site sold to developer"
https://www.pressherald.com/2018/12/...-to-developer/
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