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Old 08-05-2010, 02:01 PM   #881
Patrick
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Thanks for the clarification, I thought I remembered hearing it would be on the North side a few years ago. That would be a huge improvement. Riding my bike that way is pretty much a waste of time right now...

From the renderings I have seen, the train would go on the side (as opposed to the middle) of the street (the waterside of commercial), where the old tracks used to be. I know the tore up many of the rail ties in the 1980s when commercial street was widened by the Maine State Pier, and I believe they tore up some more recently when doing site prep work for developments in the eastern waterfront, but I think some of the old rails are still there on the western portion of Commercial. I wonder if any of them would be usable at this time. I doubt it. Still, the tracks that are there currently are on the south side, and I would think that any new train would stick within the existing right of way rather than hop over to the middle. Then again, I don't have a picture of the area in front of me so I could be confusing where the pre-existing tracks already are. The regional director of Amtrak has expressed a willingness to discuss creating a commercial street drop off, but as you said, it is just an idea at this point. Portland North has also considered the same area for a commuter train drop off. Perhaps they could share the cost between state/federal/and city dollars? Also, Pierce Atwood should kick in a little bit. Maybe the fee in lieu ordinance, once it is passed and enacted again in corrected form, would be a useful tool to use in this area. Think of all the vacant parking lots in the Gorham's corner area. Build on those, skimp on the parking, pay a fee in lieu which could be used toward rail...that could be just the sort of catalyst we need to get a platform in the pipeline...
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:25 PM   #882
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

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Old 08-19-2010, 07:57 AM   #883
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/19/us...d.html?_r=2&hp
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:13 AM   #884
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Interesting article--I'd like to hear some local takes on it. I worked at a camp on Sebago Lake during summers in high school, and I remember initially thinking that Portland seemed a bit gritty or dirty when visiting the waterfront. My opinion changed after a few visits though, and especially after living in Boston for the past seven years. Maintaining a working waterfront keeps the city's history alive in a way that a museum never can. Additionally, the idea of cleaning up the waterfront by way of condominiums, high end restaurants and the like is highly suspect to me. For reasons beyond but including this, Boston's waterfront is completely foreign to most in the city, hardly visited and often overlooked. This is unfortunate, and I think it has something to do with the tangible loss of a reason for why the waterfront and city exist in the first place.
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Old 08-19-2010, 12:48 PM   #885
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

The fishing industry is either over or close to it. As a natural resource, it has been over-exploited for centuries, and now fish stocks are depleted. People will continue to fish, but as a driving industry, it won't be able to sustain a regional economy. Cities need to adapt. Historically, that's what they have always done. Only today do we see cities trying to maintain historical roots to a high degree. Given urban renewal failures and the monotony and genericity of towns created by suburban sprawl, this is hardly surprising. However, I do think it should be balanced. While Boston's waterfront may not be the "Boston" you see on postcards, neither is it crumbling into the sea. There is investment there, and it creates a handsome entrance to the City. In Portland, we label it a working waterfront, but in reality it is a parking waterfront. 75% of it is devoted to parking. Of the remaining space, some of it cannot be maintained on revenues generated by a dwindling industry. It would be turning a blind eye to reality to say Portland could sustain its waterfront on the money generated by fishing. The fishers rent the piers, they don't all own their own. If they did, it would be a different story. But they don't. So, in effect, by requiring this area to remain all marine related, we are asking private property owners to subsidize the desires of the rest of us for a caricature of our historical image. This isn't right. Moreover, tourism is huge in Maine and, despite what people might like to see on postcards, they would rather stay in a condo on the water than go to work on a lobster boat. Balance is needed, and that's exactly what the proposed zoning changed recommend. Not all land would be given up to commercial development, only some of the land closest to the street, parts of ground floors, and the upper floors of pier spaces. That doesn't sound too bad to me at all.
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Old 08-19-2010, 04:42 PM   #886
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Good points Patrick, I do agree. I think that in most cases allowing non-marine uses in the upper floors and marine related use in the lower floors makes good sense for the waterfront district.

It's interesting to compare Boston and Portland harbors. If I recall, Boston harbor has been filled-in much more than Portland's over the last 200 hundred years. The places where marine industry once thrived in Boston have long ago been buried and replaced with non-marine development while more of Portland's waterfront is still intact (as far as I know). Anyhow, the working harbor was the lifeblood of Boston and what still remains does seem overlooked. Most of Portland's marine traffic is now oil tankers and Boston's appears to be cargo ships and oil tankers also. Both those types of marine vessels bring in lots of money and don't require the type of working waterfront that we once had (they require huge empty lots away from human life) so it makes economic sense that land formerly used for marine purposes are being recycled.
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:16 PM   #887
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

corey as far as I know portland used to be practically an island. all of bayside and the current central waterfront zone is fill. Proportionately it is probably similar in boston, especially in places like back bay.
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:43 PM   #888
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

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corey as far as I know portland used to be practically an island. all of bayside and the current central waterfront zone is fill. Proportionately it is probably similar in boston, especially in places like back bay.
This is hardly evidence, but I remember an elementary school teacher telling us that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's house in Portland was on or at least near the water, but no longer is due to landfill.
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:50 AM   #889
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Your teacher was absolutely correct. The house in which Longfellow was born (not the more famous one where he grew up on Congress street, which is still standing) is no longer there, but there is a plaque that reminds people where it used to stand. Currently there is a Marriot Residences Inn on the site, which is located on Fore Street, so named because it used to parallel the "Fore River", which is what Portland Harbor consists of. In fact, on another part of Fore St., there is a controversial piece of public art which consists of metallic waves rising from a grassy area that is supposed to resemble where the actual shore used to be (with the long grass sounding like waves when it blows in the wind).

Here is a very interesting image of the topography of the "original" Portland waterfront, superimposed on the land area that is there now:
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:42 PM   #890
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

From Saturday, not much happening lately. I'm still bummed about the parking garage being added on here.





I like the narrower road due to construction, it keeps traffic in check.
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:53 PM   #891
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Corey, although I sympathize with your disdain for additional parking garages, which are anything but an ideal urban use, these structures are necessary if the projects which depend on them are to be viable. Also, remember that with this new parking garage, townhouse and condos will be built on top, but without it, the site will remain a vacant surface parking lot, with no additional tax revenue to the city generated, no new residential vibrancy, and no new building stock. There was an article in the paper the other day about how everyone was complaining about parking garages in the eastern waterfront district, but remember also that parking garages are not always failures. If designed correctly, they can add to the street almost as much as a non parking structure. The emphasis, then, should not be on banning parking garages, but designing them correctly. Personally, I would rather see a new parking garage if it allows new residential on top any day. I can't stand surface parking lots.
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:19 PM   #892
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

^ That would be nice, but the local business owners and landlords who actually own buildings and do business in that neighborhood DO NOT WANT additional parking, because it's undermining their neighborhood's reputation and appearance as a pleasant, walkable extension of the Old Port. See:

http://www.pressherald.com/news/so-l...010-08-19.html

and

http://munjoyhillnews.com/2010/08/11...-in-6-8-weeks/

The developers of this parking deck are from suburban New Hampshire, and seem to be operating under the ridiculous assumption that their hotel will need twice as many parking spaces as the typical interstate rest-stop motel. Meanwhile, the high-rise Ocean Gateway garage across the street can't even give their parking spaces away. If parking garages are "necessary" for new development, then why haven't we seen anything go up next to the half-empty Ocean Gateway garage?

Building yet another new parking lot on the old Jordan's Meats lot is going to a) lose money and b) complicate the future construction of any other new buildings on the same lot. Both of these factors will make it more difficult for the developers to build anything there in the future.

Finally, whose business sense are we going to trust more - a suburban New Hampshire developer doing business in downtown Portland for the first time ever, or business owners and landlords who have been there for years? This parking garage is going to be a blight on the whole neighborhood, and that's going to make future development in the area even less attractive.
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:53 PM   #893
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

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the local business owners and landlords who actually own buildings and do business in that neighborhood DO NOT WANT additional parking
First, speaking of those who actually own businesses in that neighborhood, aren't we forgetting one such important group: the Opechee Construction team? They own property and do business in that neighborhood, and why their thoughts on appropriate land use should be disregarded simply because they weren't the subject of a local newspaper article is beyond me.

Furthermore, I work in a law office on India St., and the statement that business owners in that area don't want additional parking just simply isn't true as an across the board generalization. Sure, some are in step with smart urban planning ideals, but get real, most people drive cars. It's ok to be a visionary, but you must be practical too. If not for this new parking garage, the proposed second phase of development (more condos and townhouses, in addition to those already under construction) would compete for the spaces already approved for the Hampton. Unless and until Amtrak drops off on the peninsula, those utilizing the Hampton hotel most likely will need somewhere to park (I hear its a long hike from Massachusetts).

Thanks for posting the article to which I referred in my previous post, above.

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The developers of this parking deck are from suburban New Hampshire, and seem to be operating under the ridiculous assumption that their hotel will need twice as many parking spaces as the typical interstate rest-stop motel.
This is a destination hotel, with residential and restaurant components, not a rest stop. Also, as I said above, the options are either a new (relatively SMALL) parking garage with residential on top, or a vacant surface parking lot. And speaking of "walkability", as part of the development permitting process, the developers agreed to add 22 new bike parking units and a new perimeter brick sidewalk. They also agreed to narrow the vehicle entrance area and add a new trail crossing that allows pedestrian permeability of a block that was previously fenced off. What more can be asked for? These developers have done a tremendous job responding to the City planning staff's recommendations and should be commended for a job well done. They shouldn't be held accountable for the blunder that is the nearby Oceangateway garage (which by the way is only such a failure because the units for which it was built sunk following the financial meltdown and a lawsuit regarding land ownership). If the riverwalk (watermark) and India street office building had risen, (and in time they will) the same people in the article you posted would currently be complaining that there is too LITTLE parking (as they do practically everywhere else in the city when a new building is proposed). Even during the planning board meetings on the FIL ordinance, which is a great idea as it would relieve developers of unnecessary parking spaces, people were up in arms about the prospect of losing additional parking. And for the new avesta housing project which is an adaptive reuse of a pre-existing building on Munjoy Hill, the project sailed through with one exception: neighborhood complaints about loss of available parking. People just like to complain about anything new. One day its too little parking, the next its too much. Well, in a country like America, which adheres to principles of private property ownership, those decisions are left up to the entity which owns the land, unless they impede on the public safety, health, or welfare or otherwise cause some sort of a nuisance. And in anticipation of the argument that a new parking garage would itself be a nuisance, successfully making that argument would require showing that it would be MORE of a nuisance than a surface parking lot with no additional residential units above (the only alternative at this point), which, quite frankly, it wouldn't.

City governments and federal administrations created the status quo, where parking is necessary due to prevailing transportation planning and land use policies. It is important to remember the context within which modern day developers work. Cities have for a long time required certain minimum parking requirements for new developments. This increased the attractiveness of living in the suburbs, and therefore perpetuated the problem. The developers of the Jordan's Meats site shouldn't be rejected because of the externally imposed financial constraints that operate on their business decisions.

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Meanwhile, the high-rise Ocean Gateway garage across the street can't even give their parking spaces away.
First, this has NOTHING to do with the demands of target customers at the Hampton. This is a case of mismatched supply and demand, which is common in parking scenarios. Intermed and the now-going-defunct student housing project on Marginal Way worked out a positive alternative wherein spaces in the intermed garage are utilized by residents in the student housing complex after hours. This can't always be the case, though, because it depends on cooperation between private landowners of a sort that cannot be imposed by city government.

Second, "High rise" as a designation typically includes structures over 12 stories in height, which is about twice as tall as the Ocean Gateway garage. The garage is about as tall as most commercial structures in historic European cities that are known for their charm and which were built before the elevator and advances in steel technology allowed high rises.

And when was the last time you drove from east bayside to park at the oceangateway garage? I'm guessing its not often. Ever tried to find a spot at the Casco Bay garage on a summer weekend day? No chance. The only alternative is to park at the Ocean Gateway garage, which I have had to do on more than one occasion when taking a cruise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cneal View Post
If parking garages are "necessary" for new development, then why haven't we seen anything go up next to the half-empty Ocean Gateway garage?
[/quote]

You must have misunderstood my comment. I said structures like the one proposed are necessary if the projects which depend on them are to be viable. I did NOT say that from parking, development naturally flows. In most cases, you cannot have development without parking, but that in no way means that just because you have parking development necessarily must follow.

And to answer your question about Ocean Gateway's garage, I could point you to a number of your own posts about the global financial meltdown and subsequent credit crunch. THAT is why we haven't seen anything go up next to the Ocean Gateway garage.

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Building yet another new parking lot on the old Jordan's Meats lot is going to a) lose money and b) complicate the future construction of any other new buildings on the same lot. Both of these factors will make it more difficult for the developers to build anything there in the future.
Wrong. The site plan review has already approved a surface parking lot. Now the developers are proposing replacing the surface lot with a two tiered parking deck with townhouses in front and condos on top. Neither the townhouses nor the condos would be attractive to buyers without parking. Of course, that's not how I wish things were, but it's how they are. Changes in prevailing norms come through incremental changes, not someone saying "ok, no more cars or parking." If that happened in a place like Portland, the city would fade away. In fact, it already happened. For all the crap Franklin Street gets (all of which, I think, is well deserved), it is also what enabled the City's rebirth. Portland had fallen on rough times, and was considered a decaying old sea port. The Arterial enabled increased trucking to and from the MSP, and it also allowed projects like the Golden Triangle and adjacent high rises, and the civic center, old port rejuvenation, and waterfront renewal. It is a horrible design, but it's purpose was served. Now that Portland can stand on its own again, it may be the right time to think about reassessing to what degree we are willing to put up with the arterial.

So, after that tangent, I return to the point I was about to make. I don't understand how you can say that a new parking structure will complicate further development on the site when it is precisely BECAUSE of planned future development that the structure is being proposed. The garage is to be built simultaneously with new residences if pre-sales allow for this, or, if not, then as soon as financially viable. I realize the speculative nature of this, which presents us with the possibility that no new residences will be constructed, and the neighborhood will have yet another parking garage that is little more than a vestige of larger failed projects, but the alternative is to retain a surface parking area, which will be more "suburban" (to use your condescending term for the NH developers) than anything else. And suburban parking lots aren't any more pedestrian friendly than garages. At least a garage will present the opportunity of an informed and respectful pedestrian oriented design. A surface parking lot is nothing more than the name itself suggests. With a garage, there is opportunity to do things right. Its not the garage itself that people should hate, its the usual way in which they are designed (drab, ugly, monotonous), and this can be, and in many instances has been, changed through community feedback. See the garage on Cumberland ave that was retrofitted by the Eastland Hotel.

Lastly on this point, how can you say this will lose money? If a garage is built on the easterly section of the Jordan's site, it will be classified as an improvement to the land, and will therefore result in additional taxes for the developer, paid directly to the city. So city revenues will rise and city services will be less strained. And, if for some odd reason the developers themselves were to lose money on this deal, say through faulty calculations or parking demand projections, why should anyone other than them worry about it? If the complaint of neighbors is that they want a more pedestrian friendly extension of the Old Port, then lets stick to that, and not discuss irrelevant cost-benefit analyses of the developers. I'm quite confident that if they were off the mark that often, they would have gone out of business the day before yesterday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cneal View Post
Finally, whose business sense are we going to trust more - a suburban New Hampshire developer doing business in downtown Portland for the first time ever, or business owners and landlords who have been there for years? This parking garage is going to be a blight on the whole neighborhood, and that's going to make future development in the area even less attractive.
First, these developers are not new to Maine or Portland. They built the AAA headquarters on Marginal Way that kick-started the rejuvenation of the Bayside neighborhood and which currently houses GPCOG, an organization dedicated to smart planning. And this garage will not be a blight on the neighborhood. If anything, the neighborhood will be a blight on the garage. The vacant Jordan's building was a blight. The boarded up brick buildings exuding disinvestment are a blight. The not-through streets and franklin arterial and rundown grassy walkways are a blight. India street was the City's first downtown "core" and it has since become a peripheral area for downtown and the old port. This development may change that and revert things back to how they used to be a bit.

lastly, I just have to add that, if they (surrounding business owners and landlords) want a more pedestrian friendly atmosphere so much, why don't they pay for it? Buy the site and put up a community garden. Oh wait, they probably can't afford it, otherwise they would have just located in the Old Port to begin with. When the Village Cafe, which started out in one bay of a nearby mechanics garage, sold out to developers in 2005, I think it spoke pretty loudly for the owners and landlords in the area. When the largest parking garage ever considered for Portland (on the site of the Top of the Old Port Parking Lot) was proposed in 1987 by a local resident who lived on what later became the Village Cafe site, I think that spoke pretty loudly for the residents in the area. Moreover, the city, which consists of elected representatives, not only approved but encouraged this sort of development in their plans for the eastern waterfront. If the residents don't like it for whatever reason today, the proper forum in which to address their concerns is not the paper, its the voting booth.

lastly, if parking is so bad and not needed, why do businesses on upper India constantly have patrons from the bike shop (of all places) stealing their slots. Why do you see parking lots behind buildings if they are so bad? Why don't the people who are complaining about this new structure turn their parking areas into green spaces. Change starts with those who want it. Naysayers and NIMBYs do a terrible disservice to this City. This isn't Robert Moses bulldozing through Jane Jacobs' yoga studio, this is a committed developer who has a proven track record offering to build something the City ASKED for.
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:01 PM   #894
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Correct me if I am mistaken, but I thought the townhouses that may be built over the future parking structure have been proposed but it's not a sure bet that they will be built. If some sort of parking structure was built as part of the new housing development, it would be easier for me to accept a few new parking spaces.

The issue of parking garages and parking spaces in general seems to parallel the issue of highway building and expansion. It is pretty accepted fact (from some books I've read at least) that adding lanes to an already over-capacity highway does not help clear up the traffic congestion and actually leads to more congestion. Similarly, one could probably argue that adding more and more parking spaces to an area is not going to solve parking problems. I unfortunately have no viable solutions to offer to the issue and while I live without a private automobile by choice I understand why most people chose to live with one or two.
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:56 PM   #895
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

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Correct me if I am mistaken, but I thought the townhouses that may be built over the future parking structure have been proposed but it's not a sure bet that they will be built. If some sort of parking structure was built as part of the new housing development, it would be easier for me to accept a few new parking spaces.

The issue of parking garages and parking spaces in general seems to parallel the issue of highway building and expansion. It is pretty accepted fact (from some books I've read at least) that adding lanes to an already over-capacity highway does not help clear up the traffic congestion and actually leads to more congestion. Similarly, one could probably argue that adding more and more parking spaces to an area is not going to solve parking problems. I unfortunately have no viable solutions to offer to the issue and while I live without a private automobile by choice I understand why most people chose to live with one or two.
Corey, the parking garage has been proposed as part of a larger development of townhouses and condos. In documents submitted to the City in May, which I've read (planning documents for major siteplan review), the developers are seeking approval of the two tiered garage, fronted by 4 townhouses and underneath 6 condos. People get confused, however, because although in an ideal situation the garage and residences will be built simultaneously, in all likelihood the garage will be built first.

The developers will pay for the garage from internal funds, but will pay for the residences with a bank loan. The reason the garage is first is two-fold. The first reason is because they have the immediate funding to construct it (whereas a bank loan for the residences will depend on marketing and signing contracts for them), and the second reason is because it would just be logically backwards to construct residences dependent on parking before such parking is in place. According to a conversation with a city planner, the site is too valuable to justify using it for parking alone. Initially, the Hampton and Portside condos were approved as phase I, with a surface parking lot of approximately 90 spaces, to be buffered from the street by ugly shrubbery of the sort that gets Andres Duany all upset. However, before that parking lot was ever even begun, the developers came back to the city, seeking approval of phase II (the new condos and townhouses), which explains why the additional parking would be required. If you look at the latest rendering posted of the project in the portland renderings thread (reposted below), you will see a super-adjacent structure superimposed and almost impossible to see above the parking garage. That is a massing model for the proposed new residences.

Here is a picture of the dreaded parking garage without the residential component:



here is the picture with a massing model superimposed on top of it (note the faint outline above the garage):



And here is what it all might look like once completed:



Everything on the right hand side of the above picture is proposed phase II of the project (new condos, townhouses, and a garage which you can see is far less imposing than the nearby Ocean Gateway garage).

So yes, the garage is proposed to meet additional demand anticipated because of new residences.

And, you are correct in what you have read. Street widening increases congestion. Similarly, constructing parking increases driving. However, the burden of fixing the problem of over-reliance on driving is a society-wide one, and shouldn't fall on the shoulders of individual developers. Unless and until some sort of viable public transportation system is in place, virtually all developers must provide a certain amount of parking, particularly when their target clients are coming from out of state (traveling tourists).
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:26 PM   #896
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Patrick, you continue to impress me with your logical approach to planning issues and you always back up your opinions with competent responses which may not always please everyone, but surely appeals to the masses in my opinion. No slight to cneal, but I definitely prefer the parking garage without the residential addition over the "dreaded" surface parking lot.

Fans of downtown Portland should be content with any developer that attempts to construct a quality project during this economic down period as long as it meets the sometimes overzealous planning hurdles and zoning requirements. Not every new development is going to be embraced by everyone, we all have different tastes and ideals for how we think Portland should be shaped in the future.

I personally would still like to demolish 511 Congress Street and start from scratch if I could. Not my cup of tea in design, materials and building footprint. But last week I was talking to an individual who though the same ugly ass building was Portland's most attractive high rise which goes to show that you never know what what works for someone else!

Props to the ongoing construction of the terminal expansion at PWM along with the 1100 foot future lengthening of runway 36/18 and the new de-icing apron which is almost complete. Construction of the mega berth is supposed to begin late fall with a next summer completion date. The airport and port are crucial to Portland's economic future we are finally making progress in these important areas.

Now if we can bring the USS John F. Kennedy to the waterfront in 2012 we will finally have bragging rights that no city of Portland's size can claim. By the way, Wilmington NC does have a battleship but it is not in the same league as our country's last and largest conventional powered aircraft carrier!
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:32 PM   #897
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

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Patrick, you continue to impress me with your logical approach to planning issues and you always back up your opinions with competent responses which may not always please everyone, but surely appeals to the masses in my opinion.
Thank you. Reed and Reed is the team that has been chosen through the competitive bidding process to build the Megaberth, and the project came in at almost half the projected cost (in the vicinity of $4.5 million). It will DOUBLE the number of cruise ships which visit, or which can visit, the city each year. I agree that this, along with further jetport expansion, is a key development in the accessibility and economic growth of Portland and the surrounding region.

Speaking of 511 Congress St., I was reading the 1979 Portland Land Use plan that you loaned to me the other day and came across a very crude rendering of the Sun bank high rise planned for that area. Was it supposed to be on the site that 511 Congress was built on? All I could see is that it was relatively tall, had a Coca Cola light up sign on top, and was in the middle of Congress Street somewhere. This, along with a planned 12 story residential tower in Oakdale, is one of the few planned high rises in Portland about which I know next to nothing. Do you have any further information on either?
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:39 PM   #898
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Wonder what will become of the remaining 2 million dollars left over from the approved/allotted 6.5 million dollar bond? Have you seen the final mega berth plans? There were concerns about the pier having ample width to allow emergency and delivery vehicles access to the moored ship. This plan was supposedly scrapped due to cost constraints but if the project came in way under budget I hope this desire was addressed.

The proposed Sun Savings and Loan Tower was (if I remember correctly) planned as a 8-10 story structure with a couple of parking levels and was slated to go up on the corner of Congress and Forest where The Empire Bar is now located. Also may have required demolition of the Strand Building which irked a few people at the time. I think there is mention of the rough plans in the Congress Square UDAG Study I gave you yesterday. Sun Savings and Loan backed out of the project in the mid to late seventies and eventually moved their headquarters into the Fidelity Building (People's United Bank) until they vanished off the face of the earth!

Did not give much attention to the proposed Oakdale project due to it's uncertain status at the time and also because so much new developments were happening downtown which is where my attention was diverted. From what I remember the building was going to look similar to the Deering Pavillion but with a more modern "balcony looking" exterior. Sorry Patrick, residential proposals is not how I roll
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:47 PM   #899
Patrick
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

Quote:
Originally Posted by Portlander View Post
Wonder what will become of the remaining 2 million dollars left over from the approved/allotted 6.5 million dollar bond? Have you seen the final mega berth plans? There were concerns about the pier having ample width to allow emergency and delivery vehicles access to the moored ship. This plan was supposedly scrapped due to cost constraints but if the project came in way under budget I hope this desire was addressed.

The proposed Sun Savings and Loan Tower was (if I remember correctly) planned as a 8-10 story structure with a couple of parking levels and was slated to go up on the corner of Congress and Forest where The Empire Bar is now located. Also may have required demolition of the Strand Building which irked a few people at the time. I think there is mention of the rough plans in the Congress Square UDAG Study I gave you yesterday. Sun Savings and Loan backed out of the project in the mid to late seventies and eventually moved their headquarters into the Fidelity Building (People's United Bank) until they vanished off the face of the earth!

Did not give much attention to the proposed Oakdale project due to it's uncertain status at the time and also because so much new developments were happening downtown which is where my attention was diverted. From what I remember the building was going to look similar to the Deering Pavillion but with a more modern "balcony looking" exterior. Sorry Patrick, residential proposals is not how I roll
haha, that's ok, I can still get my juicy commercial development details from you. Deering pavilion is hideous, so its probably better the Oakdale project failed. Any idea where it would have gone?

The empire restaurant site, from what I understand, has some historic value as the State's first Chinese restaurant (hence the name of the current venue there, "Empire"). The site was later used as a bank, although I'm not sure if the bank building (which is currently there) is the same one in which the restaurant was previously located. I assume it is not.

The large parking lot to the north of Empire would make a great place for some infill development.
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:08 PM   #900
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Re: Portland, ME - New Construction Continued

The Portland National/Savings Bank operated a branch in that building through the sixties and seventies before the Whitt's End bar took over sometime after the bank branch closed. You are correct, the state's first Chinese restaurant was on that site but not in the current structure.

Found a couple of articles showing that the winning bid on the mega berth came in close to 4.9 million dollars. I still want to know where the remaining money goes? How about a Patrick for City Council campaign fund!

The Oakdale Building was going to be located on Oakdale Street near USM.

Last edited by Portlander; 08-24-2010 at 10:25 PM. Reason: Typo
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