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December 18, 2018 at 8:00 am · · Comments Off on The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Huston Commons

The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Huston Commons

In a multi-part series, exclusive to the Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation.  MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, social impact and job creation.

Please join with us in celebrating Huston Commons.

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Huston Commons: Huston Commons is a Housing First development for 30 disabled individuals who have experienced chronic homelessness. Through a unique series of nonprofit collaborations, Huston Commons provides essential 24-hour support services, including a medical care room to accommodate regular practitioner hours and telemedicine services for residents, all of whom have disabilities. Avesta Housing is the developer and property manager for Huston Commons, and Preble Street provides 24/7 support services. The project includes a partnership with Greater Portland Health to address specific health concerns and more generally ensure that residents have access to the health and personal care services that medically-compromised individuals typically benefit from in their homes. The onsite medical care room allows Greater Portland Health to schedule regular practitioner hours and telemedicine services for use in treating residents. Portland Housing Authority provides rental assistance to all of the residents to make the rent affordable.

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project?

Huston Commons: The impetus for this project was an urgent need for safe, affordable, permanent housing for homeless individuals in Portland. The target population for Huston Commons is disabled, medically-vulnerable individuals who are experiencing chronic homelessness. There is an immense need for permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals in the Portland area. The number of people seeking emergency shelter has increased by 20% over the past four years, and City shelters have been full for years, creating the need for the continued maintenance of overflow shelters. These overflow shelters have also become filled to capacity, forcing dozens of people to spend their nights sitting in chairs in local government offices or worse. Maine’s most recent annual Point-in-Time survey identified 1,200 experiencing homelessness statewide, and more than half identified themselves as having a chronic disability. In Portland, 497 people were identified as experiencing homeless, and 48% had a chronic disability. A Task Force on Homelessness was formed by the Portland City Council in December 2011 to create a strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, and one of its key recommendations was the development of three “Housing First” projects with in-house supportive services for residents. Huston Commons represents the first of those three projects. Studies have shown that such Housing First projects achieve savings by reducing the need for shelter stays, emergency room visits, jail stays and mental health hospitalizations.

MEREDA:  That sounds like quite a process.  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?

Huston Commons: We began working with City officials to identify a site in early 2014, applied for and received an allocation for tax credits in late 2014, received planning board approval in July 2015, and began construction in April 2016.

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed

Huston Commons: Huston Commons had a unique development challenge in that the property it sits on had three separate zones running through it. Avesta Housing worked closely with the City of Portland to convert the three zones into one new zone to allow for the construction of Huston Commons.

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was…

Huston Commons: Working with mentally and physically handicapped individuals who have been homeless for as much as a decade prior to moving in presents copious challenges that need to be addressed by the entire team – property management, support services, etc.

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable?

Huston Commons: The number of people seeking emergency shelter in Portland has grown 20% over the past four years. Homelessness is a growing problem with shrinking budgets and solutions. All 30 units are restricted to individuals who have experienced chronic homelessness and have medical challenges. Needless to say, Huston Commons filled up rapidly. Between Avesta’s three Housing First properties in Portland, there are over 100 people on the waitlist – all of whom are homeless today, most of whom have been homeless for quite awhile. The feature of this project that is most notable is its ability to serve our community’s most vulnerable residents with the help of unique organizational partnerships.

 

October 16, 2018 at 12:00 am · · Comments Off on Maine Real Estate & Development Association Announces Gary D. Vogel as Vice President

Maine Real Estate & Development Association Announces Gary D. Vogel as Vice President

PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) is pleased to announce that longtime member, Gary Vogel of Drummond Woodsum, has been elected Vice President.

Currently, Gary also serves as chair of MEREDA’s Public Policy Committee, and is a generous leader of MEREDA’s legislative agenda.  His institutional knowledge and experience with MEREDA’s legislative history, combined with his knowledge of development challenges in Maine from his own law practice, provides MEREDA with a breadth and depth of knowledge that benefits all MEREDA members.

Gary has served on the MEREDA board of directors since 2004, acting as chair of the Public Policy Committee for more than 12 years.   During Gary’s tenure as chair of the legislative committee, MEREDA has realized many legislative accomplishments benefiting Maine and real estate development in Maine.

“We owe Gary a debt of gratitude for his dedication to his voluntary leadership role with MEREDA’s Public Policy Committee, and are excited to have him participate now in this new leadership role as Vice President”, says Shelly R. Clark, Vice President of Operations for MEREDA.

A shareholder (partner) at the law firm of Drummond Woodsum, Gary’s practice is concentrated in real estate, real estate development, financing transactions, commercial transactions, mergers and acquisitions and corporate and commercial law.  His practice often involves developments utilizing the Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Federal and State Historic Tax Credits and New Market Tax Credits.  He has been practicing law in Portland for over 30 years and resides in Yarmouth.

For further information, please contact MEREDA’s Vice President of Operations, Shelly R. Clark at 207-874-0801 or visit www.mereda.org.

September 25, 2018 at 8:40 am · · Comments Off on The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Cliff House Resort

The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Cliff House Resort

In a multi-part series, exclusive to the Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation.  MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, social impact and job creation.

Please join with us in celebrating Cliff House Resort.

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Cliff House Resort:  The iconic Cliff House resort, sitting on the edge of Bald Head Cliff in Cape Neddick, has been welcoming guests since 1872. Leading investment firm, Rockbridge Capital partnered with Maine hoteliers Marc Dugas and Peter Anastos to create RBDD Cliff House Acquisitions, LLC which purchased the property in 2014 and began extensive renovations and additions to capture the best of Maine in every season. Cliff House reopened with newly designed guest rooms and suites, over 25,000 square feet of new meeting and event space, including a new cliffside ballroom, oceanfront dining and bars, indigenous landscaping, and many other enhancements. A new luxury spa and wellness center, family pool, and Lobster Shack added to the already lengthy list of resort amenities.  The greatest highlight is the new collection of oceanfront resort suites which range from family bunk suites to romantic 1-bedroom suites with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean high atop Bald Head Cliff.

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project?

Cliff House Resort: As noted in a 2016 Boston Globe Article:

“With the opening of the Cliff House, the trend of turning modest New England beach hotels into posh escapes is gaining momentum. The shift is happening as hotel owners and investors reason that travelers who are accustomed to stylish, urban boutique hotels will want the same experience in quaint seaside towns.”

MEREDA:  That sounds like quite a process.  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?

Cliff House Resort: The planning and permitting stages lasted approximately one year.

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed

Cliff House Resort: As an operating summer resort, significant construction phasing was required to respect the operation during the summer months. The phasing resulted in a two-year construction schedule which began in 2015. The redevelopment also required incorporation of existing structures which had significant historical sentiment along with respecting residential abutters and proximity to the ocean.  Extensive collaboration with surrounding residential neighbors was required in order to ensure that existing vehicular access was maintained to properties that used Bald Head Cliff Road.  The road, while the main entrance to the Resort, is also the only access to a number of nearby oceanfront properties.

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was…

Cliff House Resort: The previous owner stated that construction of a new wing that was approved 15 years ago was valid in perpetuity. The ownership team was skeptical, but it turned out to be true. The previous owner had the insight to permit the entire site plan with the ability to phase construction over the years.

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable?

Cliff House Resort: Stunning exterior views, coupled with outstanding interior design and world class service right here in Maine.

The ability to fuse two buildings which were very different in both age, style and design into one seamless resort with a complete new addition which nearly doubled the size of the resort was an amazing accomplishment.  The resort appears as if it was built as one property. The depth of vision, skill, and expertise of the architects and designers with ownership coupled with stunning exterior views and outstanding interior design with world class service, is all right here in Maine.

 

 

 

August 14, 2018 at 8:35 am · · Comments Off on The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Aura

The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Aura

In multi-part series, exclusive to the Maine Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation.  MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, difficulty of the development, uniqueness, social impact and job creation.

Please join with us in celebrating Aura.

 

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Aura:  I would describe Aura as a labor of love. The building is the transformation of a successful but tired venue called Asylum. Aura is our new expanded and rebranded 24,500 SF event and performance center, located in downtown Portland. It was designed by WBRC Architects Engineers, built by Consigli, and completed in April 2017. I was recently told by a booking agent that they believe Aura is one of the top three venues in the U.S. for its size!

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project?

Aura:  We (Aura owners Krista Newman, Valerie Levy, and Laurie Willey) were coming up on 20th year in business and needed a change. We had grown, had children, and we wanted our space to better reflect us. We had researched what the local scene needed and saw an opportunity for a larger venue.

The name Asylum has also become a problem. We were hosting more national acts and some of them did not care for that name. It’s also not easy to sell a lunchtime corporate event to a group of professionals at a place called Asylum. We needed something more upscale, a place where we could reach out to a broader audience and host more community events.

MEREDA:  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?

Aura:  I don’t really recall the timeline – it was a whirlwind, I must say. We’d come up with the idea to renovate, and met with Rob Frank at WBRC, and he introduced us our architect, Jocelyn Boothe. We really clicked; I can’t say enough good things about her. She went back and forth with us for weeks, getting to know each other, refining ideas.

Our planning took a major turn when we decided to add a balcony. We hadn’t had one in the original design or budget. Then we took a trip to visit Gracie Theatre in Bangor and saw their balcony. We decided we wanted to add one, but it required going back to the drawing board, and the planning board.

The balcony was probably the best idea of the whole project; it’s amazing to think that it was an afterthought.

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed.

Aura:  The timeframe was the biggest challenge. We have a great staff; many have been here over 10 years. They are like family, and we didn’t want to have to lay people off during renovations or lose anyone to the construction process. Fortunately, we were able to keep the sports bar open during most of construction. It only closed for about a month, in August.

The building construction had to be completed in nine months to start our performance season in April, and we were freaking out near the end. But somehow the Consigli team pulled it off.

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was. . .

Aura:  I learned to rely on the professional knowledge base of the people around us. It was hard sometimes to not to control everything. We had trust that the architect, engineers, interior designer and acoustics people knew what they were talking about. Luckily for us, they did.

Our architect Jocelyn’s attention to detail is amazing and alleviated a lot of stress from of us. While we were still Asylum, she came to a couple of sold-out shows and watched the flow of people. She decided we needed two sets of double doors at the entrance so people could exit quicker. Then she said, “The restrooms aren’t quite big enough, it’s too long of a wait. Why don’t we lose that closet and add an extra restroom?” I don’t know a lot of architects would come to two or three shows to really research the little items that are big items for us.

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable? 

Aura:  It’s such an intimate space now. The balcony and the sightlines are amazing. No matter where you are, you feel like you’re right next to the people who are performing or the person who’s speaking.

The spaces at Aura are really special and unique. There’s a feeling of relaxation here. I love the airiness of it. Right before we opened, a friend came in and said, “This is going to sound strange, but when I walk in here, it feels peaceful, almost churchlike.” I’ve heard other people make similar comments. It has a really good aura, which seems funny to say. We worked with a local branding company called Blaze to come up with the new name, and it was hard to choose one before the space was built. I’m glad we chose Aura. It’s perfect.

July 24, 2018 at 12:00 am · · Comments Off on The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Bayside Anchor

The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Bayside Anchor

In multi-part series, exclusive to the Maine Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation.  MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, difficulty of the development, uniqueness, social impact and job creation.

Please join with us in celebrating Bayside Anchor.

 

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Bayside Anchor:  Portland Housing Authority (PHA) and Avesta Housing were co-developers on this 45-unit, mixed-income, mixed-use Passive House building located in the heart of the East Bayside neighborhood in Portland. The building has nine market-rate units and 36 affordable units targeted for individuals and families making between approximately $23,000 and $49,000 annually. Bayside Anchor is a service hub for low-income residents in East Bayside, giving the project its name as a stabilizing ‘anchor’ for the community. The street level is home to a Head Start preschool program and Community Policing and PHA offices. Bayside Anchor is PHA’s first new development in 45 years, and a first step in revitalizing their properties in this neighborhood. These homes, along with the community services Bayside Anchor offers, will further enrich this already vibrant neighborhood.

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project? 

Bayside Anchor:  Bayside is the most impoverished Census tract in Portland. The unemployment rate is double that of Maine and the U.S.; the poverty rate is triple the Maine poverty rate; the median income is half that of Mainers overall; and the number of households on food stamps is triple the rate of Mainers and Americans overall.

Additionally, Portland is in the midst of a serious housing crisis. The demand for housing is outpacing supply and development, leading to tremendous affordability issues.

Nestled in the middle of a Portland Housing neighborhood with 176 units and 600+ residents, Bayside Anchor is PHA’s first new building in 45 years. It is a symbol of Portland Housing Authority, Avesta Housing, and Portland’s commitment to supporting low-income residents in the face of rapid gentrification. Bayside Anchor was designed to be a social hub for the neighborhood – with large indoor/outdoor community spaces, a Head Start preschool program, community policing offices, and a satellite office for PHA. Of the 45 units, 36 are affordable to households making 40%-60% area median income. There are also nine units with a homeless preference and nine with project-based vouchers.

MEREDA:  That sounds like quite a process.  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started? 

Bayside Anchor:  We started planning for this project in late 2012, when we began work on an ultimately successful application for the national “Lowering the Cost” competition sponsored by Enterprise Community Partners and Deutsche Bank. Avesta and PHA applied to MaineHousing in 2014 for Low Income Housing Tax Credits, but was unsuccessful that year. Applying again in late 2014, Bayside Anchor secured the LIHTC and designed the project for 6 months in 2015. There were challenging requirements from HUD as part of the disposition of the land to the Partnership, so construction did not start on the site until January of 2016. The construction was relatively quick at 10 months; Bayside Anchor welcomed its first residents in December 2016.

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed

Bayside Anchor:  This project had its share of unique challenges. It required a rezone of the site. We also had to navigate and negotiate the parking requirements with the City of Portland, eventually relying on a campus-wide approach with Portland Housing Authority’s other properties. Additionally, we needed to merge uses that were not naturally compatible, such as early childhood education, office space, and private residences. Meanwhile, we were developing one building while considering a potential, but not definite, second phase.

With an eye toward Passive House certification, we were trying to introduce some of the most advanced energy concepts with very strict cost cap requirements. In order to overcome these challenges, the Bayside Anchor development team’s integrated construction management approach reduced professional fees, shortened construction time frames, and minimized change orders. The project team realized savings through compression of construction time and better labor efficiency.

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was…

Bayside Anchor:  Multi-family buildings on Portland’s peninsula really can be built without any parking lot, and still be successful! Well, we did assign parking to the under-utilized PHA lots in the neighborhood, but we only had 19 parking sticker requests for 45 apartments!

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable? 

Bayside Anchor:  While passersby may point to the bright green exterior of Bayside Anchor, the most notable feature is in fact its advanced energy design. Bayside Anchor is the Portland multi-family building designed to the Passive-House standard. We expect certification shortly!

July 3, 2018 at 12:00 am · · Comments Off on The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Tyler Technologies

The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Tyler Technologies

In multi-part series, exclusive to the Maine Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation.  MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, difficulty of the development, uniqueness, social impact and job creation.

Please join with us in celebrating Tyler Technologies.

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Tyler Technologies:  Designed by Mark Mueller and Associates and built by Zachau Construction, the new Tyler Technologies expansion project consists of 5 floors of high-tech office space combined with numerous health and wellness amenities.  Completed in November of 2017,  the 100,000 square foot office building includes new state-of-the-art product demo spaces, (5) new training centers, and an array of collaborative flex-office and private breakout rooms that allow for long-term project collaboration.  The project also includes a new auditorium, cafeteria, fitness center, and an outstanding connection to the outdoors.

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project? 

Tyler Technologies:  For Tyler Technologies, the expansion project represents the heart of a strategic growth plan that includes hiring 550 new employees by embracing Maine’s loyal workforce while positively impacting the community.  The objective was clear; design and build a state-of-the-art office building that would provide workspaces and the technology infrastructure for people to collaborate, work, and play.

MEREDA:  That sounds like quite a process.  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started? 

Tyler Technologies:  Preconstruction from concept to mobilization was just under a year.  The design guidelines were established with deliberate focus on employee health, sustainability, and community.  From employment to the environment, considerations were made every step of the way to ensure that what was right for Tyler Technologies was also right for the community.  To reduce excessive tree removal and site clearing, site retention ponds were eliminated and replaced with a subsurface retention system housed below the parking lots.  Embracing the connection to the outdoors while focusing on interior sustainability such as LED lighting, advanced HVAC and lighting controls, and special consideration to daylighting were paramount to creating an office building with a balance of privacy and collaboration to stimulate creativity and also provide unique quiet spaces for focused planning.

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed

Tyler Technologies:  Like all construction projects, the expansion was not without its challenges; designing and building a state-of-the-art facility within the client’s budget without sacrificing the goals was our primary focus.

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was…

Tyler Technologies:  With such a collaborative preconstruction and planning phase, we were able to eliminate major surprises during construction.  Throughout the design process though, it was remarkable to learn that Tyler Technologies was so committed to their employees and remained the focus of the project.

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable? 

Tyler Technologies:  By doubling their office space capacity, Tyler Technologies is now able to provide high-tech office space to house the more than 550 new employees  expected through 2021.  With robust integration of modern telecommunication technology, both new and existing employees will experience reduced travel and will find more time at home and in the community.  New jobs will range from software development to professional sales, marketing, and financing while increasing and diversifying the local tax base.  As Yarmouth Economic Development Director Denise Clavette said of the expansion “It sets the stage for strategic growth in the market.  It keeps people in Maine and attracts young people right out of college”.

June 19, 2018 at 12:00 am · · Comments Off on The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Luminato Condominiums

The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Luminato Condominiums

In multi-part series, exclusive to the Maine Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation.  MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, difficulty of the development, uniqueness, social impact and job creation.

Please join with us in celebrating Luminato Condominiums.

 

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Luminato Condominiums:  Luminato Condominiums is a newly constructed residential project on Franklin Street in Portland’s East End. It includes 24 market-rate units ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms at prices from the mid $200,000s to more than $1,000,000. The intention was to offer home ownership at a variety of unit sizes and price points in order to support the creation of a diverse residential community. Unit layouts include signature NewHeight Group features such as one level living, ceilings that reach 10 feet, oversized triple glazed windows, and raised rooms that let in light while also creating storage underneath the room.

Luminato offers forward-thinking features that help make day-to-day life hassle free—a dedicated mailroom where deliveries are out of sight and secure, indoor parking that includes storage units above the cars, and shared storage for bikes, skis and sports gear.  Residents share innovative amenities including a fitness room, a guest room for overnight visitors, a lounge, and a roof-top deck with 360 degree views. See luminatocondos.com.

Luminato set a record as all 24 units in the building were under contract more than six months prior to construction completion. Luminato contributed substantively to the city’s tax base, creating 24 housing units on the same footprint formerly occupied by 5 housing units.

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project? 

Luminato Condominiums:  One aspiration that drove the creation of Luminato was to offer opportunities for workers and business owners contributing to the Maine economy to purchase a new home in a well-constructed building at a total annual cost comparable to renting one of the new Class A apartments being constructed in Portland.  We hoped to create a community of diverse owners who shared a sense of engagement in Portland, and we believe this goal was achieved. Buyers include a banker, a scientist, a nurse, an interior designer, a tech worker, and an architect, among others.  Five buyers own businesses in Maine while nine others work for Maine-based organizations. Only one buyer is retired. Buyers range in age from 20-something to 70-something. Five buyers are first-time homeowners. There are no investors.

MEREDA:  That sounds like quite a process.  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started? 

Luminato Condominiums:  We started discussions with the landowner in the fall of 2015 and finalized the land acquisition at the end of that year.  We spent the first quarter of 2016 in the City of Portland approval process, obtaining our subdivision approval in late March.  By May of 2017 all units were under contract.  We broke ground in August of 2016 and delivered the first units in October of 2017. We turned operation of the Condominium Association over to the homeowners in February of 2018.

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed

Luminato Condominiums: Labor shortages proved to be our greatest challenge, something to which we are sure all business owners in Maine can relate.  We were not willing to sacrifice quality for speed, so we worked with Landry/French Construction, our general contractor, to find the best possible tradesmen and keep them on the job until finished. Construction projects in Maine and around the country are competing for skilled labor.  Almost all projects under construction in 2017 experienced a manpower shortage, adding complications to the construction process, timeline, and budget of building state-of-the-art projects.

In addition, being the first to apply under the form-based code and the inclusionary zoning required creativity and engagement of the city planning department and other organizations. The Luminato project team collaborated with Community Housing of Maine to workforce housing units on a contiguous parcel versus contributing to the city housing fund.

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was…

Luminato Condominiums:  We have been thrilled at how the green roof we incorporated not only provides our storm water management system, but also provides a truly beautiful natural surround to the shared roof deck and the private decks on the sixth floor. It changes color by season, but is interesting in all seasons, we have discovered.

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable? 

Luminato Condominiums: In terms of a physical feature, Luminato is the first newly constructed building in the Urban Transition district of the new India Street Neighborhood Form Based Code. It provides the start of what will hopefully be a series of well-designed structures on the east side of Franklin Street, providing an attractive, contemporary introduction to residents and visitors arriving in Portland via Franklin Street from I-295 and elsewhere.

Portland’s use of the India Street Form Based Code as a tool to foster more desirable, dense development of urban dwellings, especially along the city’s arterials and broader urban streets made it possible for Luminato to rise 77 feet above grade. The form-based code encourages taller buildings along Portland’s main thoroughfares of Franklin and Congress Streets and replaces a patchwork of zoning districts with a cohesive approach to achieving the goals of the new India Street Neighborhood Plan.

The form based code replaces inconsistent, and often self-defeating, minimum lot size requirements with requirements relating to the form, character and architecture of a building so that it fits harmoniously into its surrounding environment.  As a result, Luminato creates an interesting facade with angled walls, inset decks, and since it steps back as it gets taller, terraces that are surrounded by green roof. All of these features are unusual among residential buildings completed or under construction in Portland.

In terms of a lifestyle feature, Luminato embraces and promotes the concept of “living light” as part of a shared economy philosophy.  In particular, 12 one-bedroom units under 780 square feet (one-half of the total 24 units) were included in the design. These unit owners find the shared amenities – a guest room they can reserve for overnight visitors, a lounge for quiet time or small meetings, a well-equipped fitness room, and the roof deck – particularly attractive, enabling them to “buy small while living large.”   The goal was to keep the price point reasonable, design innovative layouts, and offer more value by providing owners with access to ample shared spaces within the building.

Finally, we would be remiss if we did not mention that in support of Maine’s creative economy, Luminato engaged local craftspeople such as Westbrook-based furniture maker Furniturea to provide furnishings for Luminato, and three Maine artists, including two Maine College of Art (MECA) graduates, were commissioned to create artworks for the building’s public spaces.

The all-local project team included NewHeight Group, Archetype Architects, Landry/French Construction and Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution. In support of Maine’s creative economy, NewHeight Group engaged local craftspeople to provide furnishings and three Maine artists were commissioned to create artworks for the building’s public spaces.

June 5, 2018 at 12:00 am · · Comments Off on 7 Steps to Make your Business Relocation a Success

7 Steps to Make your Business Relocation a Success

Relocating your business is a complicated process that requires planning, organization and diligence. At CBRE|The Boulos Company we strive to make those transitions for our clients as smooth as possible. Here are seven tried and true steps to make sure your relocation is successful.

1. PLAN AHEAD

Create a feasible time line that will allow for all the necessary stages of your move. For a small office, you’ll need at least three months to prepare and for a medium to large office, at least six to eight months. The key is to start as early as possible. Next, collect all information on the new space. Try to acquire blue prints or floor layouts so you can identify key components such as electrical outlets, storage space, etc. and most importantly, to determine the new office layout. Use your current office to compare; if there are areas that aren’t working, identify them so those issues can be resolved in your new space. Also, make a list of potential problems with the new space, such as a smaller reception area or less storage area or perhaps a larger open space that may require more cubicles or temporary walls. It may be necessary to hire carpenters or painters if walls need to be constructed or painted.

2. PROMOTE BUSINESS IDENTITY

Your business identity is key to keeping your customers informed about who and where you are. Put up signs in your current location, if you have one, about your upcoming move. Update all of your stationery, business cards, signage, and digital platforms before you move to reduce confusion once the move takes place. Make sure your new signage is easily seen from the street of your new location and have updated marketing materials ready at your new location. The stronger your business’ identity, the smoother the transition. 3.

3. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PEOPLE

An office relocation can bring out a multitude of changes for any organization. These changes need to be managed in a sensitive and empathetic way in order to encourage positive behavior and increased productivity within your workforce. When it comes to an office move, there’s an entire labyrinth of tasks to think about; including staff consultation, employment law, changes to employment contracts—as well as the need for a comprehensive internal communication strategy that informs, updates and manages the relocation correctly for staff. Not only is a relocation logistical, it’s emotional. Make sure your employees’ voices are heard by holding employee forums where they can ask questions and voice concerns. These forums are also a great way to inform and promote the new space to your staff, helping them feel part of the plan and the bigger picture.

4. MANAGE THE LOGISTICS

Now for the move itself. Whether you choose to manage the logistics of the move yourself or you hire a professional moving company, there are several things that should be done to facilitate a smooth move. Moving can actually require more work in your existing space than in your new space, including cleaning and discarding unnecessary items, shredding old files, labeling everything, and making sure the space is in good condition once empty. In the new location, it’s important that everyone knows where to go and where to put things. Enlarge copies of floor plans to use as guides for furniture arrangement and post directional signs to help movers and your staff navigate. It’s also helpful to arrange for exclusive use of any elevators, loading docks, or emergency doors during the scheduled move times. Make sure surrounding business are notified if entrances, driveways, or parking will be obstructed during the move.

5. TAILOR YOUR TECH

IT and Telecommunications—this incorporates the management of your entire communications infrastructure when you change your office location. Your new office may require new network cabling, additional phone and ISDN lines or even a dedicated server room. If you do not have the expertise within your staff you will need to hire professionals to make sure all your systems are re-connected and ready-to-go on that first morning in your new office. Printers are sensitive devices just like computers. Remove printer cartridges, tape down covers and scanner lids, and be sure to follow any specific instructions for moving FAX machines, copiers, and printers—improper moving may damage a device and void the warranty. For the move into the new space, make sure to know what equipment (phones, faxes, servers) will be up and running and when so nothing falls through the cracks.

6. ENSURE YOU’RE INSURED

If you rent a truck, opt for the insurance coverage. Although many private insurance policies might cover rental car damage very few cover damages if you get into an accident in a rental truck (which are classified as “equipment.”) If you use a moving company, be sure to ask about insurance coverage options to protect your belongings. You should also ask to see the moving company’s proof of worker’s comp insurance. If you inadvertently hire “day labor” or the truck company does not carry insurance, you could be at least partially liable for moving related injuries to workers.

7. CHANGE YOUR ADDRESS

Change of address is one of the most important pieces of information that needs to be shared in as many different ways as possible. First, make sure to tell all regularly-used vendors about your relocation so that no service is interrupted. Once that’s done, you can move on to everyone else. Along with the usual change-of-address protocols, like notifying the USPS, banking institutions, and insurance companies, you should also make a list of all your professional interactions and figure out the best way to notify them. You can print change-of-address cards for customers and stamp outgoing correspondence with “Note New Address.” Also, make sure to update all search engines and websites that list your address.

So what’s the takeaway here? When it comes to relocating, there’s no way to over-prepare and no way to over-communicate. The more you do of each, the easier your transition will be.

Looking for your next work space? Check out www.boulos.com for all our listings.

Original publication can be found here:  April 30, 2018 – April Boulos Report: https://f.tlcollect.com/fr2/518/56516/7_Steps_to_Make_Your_Business_Relocation_a_Success.pdf

May 15, 2018 at 12:00 am · · Comments Off on 4 Ways to Prepare Your Business for a Storm

4 Ways to Prepare Your Business for a Storm

Here in Maine within the last few years we have had to contend with some severe flooding/storms that have interrupted businesses from operating normally. Some of the businesses ended up having to close their doors as they did not have contingency or action plans in place. Don’t be one of the potential businesses that do not reopen after a disaster.

When flood water enters your building, your first thought may be related to how you could have prevented the disaster. Instead of letting a flooded building ruin your operations for several days, or even several weeks, there are steps you should take to prepare your business for impending storms. 

1. Develop a Plan 

Planning for water damage is the best way to deal with it when it arrives. Decide who is responsible for doing what in the event of a disaster and what you need to do to operate your business from a remote site. You should write out this plan and introduce it to your employees, so they are aware of what to do when flood water entering your building becomes a possibility. 

2. Back Up Your Data

Your business’ data and important information may not survive a flood if it is not backed up to remote or cloud-based servers. Well before a disaster hits, take time to research data backup options and transfer important information from your physical location to electronic files. 

3. Watch the Weather

It’s hard to know if a flood will happen if you aren’t aware of the weather. Pay attention to the weather in your area and put your emergency plan into action if there is a chance your location could flood in the event of a serious storm.

4. Plan for Quick Restoration

Before a storm hits your location, know the names and contact information for your key contractors (Plumbers, Electricians, HVAC Company, Painters, Landscaping, Snow Removal, and Restoration Professional, etc.) Be sure to have all your key utility contact details and ensure your staff know the locations of key shut offs. You should be able to access this information easily if flood water enters your building, so you can protect your operations and clean up the damage a quickly as possible. Failure to eliminate standing floodwater and dry out your building’s structure and materials as quickly as you can, could result in additional damage, lost operation time, and mold growth. 

Getting your own plan together can help prevent you from being one of the 50% of businesses that do not reopen after some sort of storm disaster. If you need assistance putting a plan together, we can assist you with our emergency ready profile. This is a no cost assessment that will walk you through all of these steps and help make it easier for you to put a plan together.  You will receive a hard copy and online access as well as be able to download it within your app store so you can have it with you at all times. For more information, you can contact Barb Rapoza at barbara@servprobb.com or Holly Merrill at holly@servproportland.me.

April 17, 2018 at 2:08 pm · · Comments Off on Bill Shanahan

Bill Shanahan

“The fact that MEREDA has been sensible and balanced in dealing with complicated real estate issues says a lot about the way the organization approaches its mission. Real estate development often gets a bad rap, so it’s important to belong to an organization that can appreciate the perspectives of the various competing interests and strive for some common ground.”