A blog for better streets and public spaces in Portland, Maine.

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Bay House" under construction — a smart growth housing milestone for Portland

I'd had my doubts whether it would come together — the developers were under a deadline to begin construction by the end of September or else lose their zoning approvals — but late last week a couple of diggers showed up and broke ground on the Bay House, the first large market-rate, mixed-use apartment building to go up on the Portland peninsula in decades.

I spoke with Alex Jaegerman from the city planning office this morning, and he told me that the Bay House is having an official groundbreaking tomorrow. They've also taken out a performance guarantee with the city — meaning that, if the project shuts down at this point, the banks will be on the hook for site stabilization and sidewalk reconstruction.

Since that's something that the lenders definitely want to avoid, it's sort of seen as a point of no return, and a sign that the developers have a real construction loan in hand and are really committed to building the thing.

It'll be a welcome addition to my neighborhood, and a more than welcome addition (94 new rental apartments) to Portland's strained housing supply. 

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