Tallest building in Maine is OK for downtown Portland

The Planning Council last week approved a project that would add an 18-story, largely residential tower at the corner of Temple and Federal streets. Contributed Properties / Redfern

Right now, it’s a small brick plaza at the Federal Street entrance to the United States Postal Services office on Congress Street, but it will soon house the tallest building in the state.

Last week, the Portland Planning Board unanimously gave Redfern Downtown LLC, a grant from Redfern Properties, the green light to construct an 18-story mixed-use building at 201 Federal St. The building, when completed in 2023, will offer commercial space on the first floor. and 266 apartments, 27 of which will be reserved for those earning up to the 2020 zone median income of $ 70,630 for an individual or $ 80,720 for a couple.

The building will have ground floor commercial space and 266 apartments and will be the tallest building in the state. Contributed / Redfern Properties

The plans also include a small plaza that would keep the rear entrance to the post office accessible. The square, which would include benches and a water wall, is still subject to staff review. Jonathan Culley, partner of Redfern Properties, said the square will not be built until 2023.

“I think this project is really exciting,” said vice president of the planning board, Maggie Stanley, ahead of the board vote on May 26. “We have come a long way.”

Currently, the tallest building in the city and state is Franklin Towers, a 175-foot, 16-story apartment building located on Cumberland Avenue and Franklin Street. A downtown across from the development site is a 13-story building, nearly 140 feet tall, and the neighboring Time and Temperature building at 477 Congress St. rises 14 stories. The only structures in the city taller than the new building will be the Town Hall clock tower and the spire of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, which stand about 200 feet above the ground.

Council review of the project began in 2019, and the plans also required action from city council and the Historic Preservation Commission. Council accepted a zoning change for the project because buildings over 14 stories were prohibited in this area. The city’s preservation council was also expected to accept the proposal as the site is in historic Congress Street.

Planning Council member Austin Smith said he was happy to see the accommodation, which will include 117 studios, 146 one-bedroom units and two 2-bedroom units. Rents, according to the Press Herald, are between $ 1,300 and $ 2,000.

“It will be great for Portland,” he said. “I can’t imagine how difficult it is to do this business – a building of this height in such a confined site. I hope you will work with the staff throughout the construction management plans and with the neighbors as well. “

The developers worked with city staff, including arborist Jeff Tarling, to ensure that the new trees on the street would not impact the view from Temple Street towards First Parish Church on Congress. Street. Contributed / Redfern Properties

The size and scope of the project and the parking lot had raised concerns, as well as whether the building would obstruct the view from Temple Street of the First Parish Church, a nearly 200-year-old church that is listed on the Register. National Historic Places. . The development team worked with municipal arborist Jeff Tarling to choose types of trees that would not impact sight, which is protected by law. The property will provide 21 parking spaces for postal customers to use during the day and will have an agreement to reserve 125 spaces for residents of the Chestnut Street garage.

Culley said he intended to apply for a building permit this week and begin construction in August.

Redfern Properties has developed several residential buildings across town including Hiawatha at 667 Congress St., Redfern Mews and 89 Anderson in East Bayside. and West End Place at the corner of Brackett and Pine streets. With NewHeight Group, she is working on the development of the former Mercy Hospital site on State Street.

About Jermaine Chase

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