MEREDA Welcomes Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development

The Department of Economic & Community Development’s broad mission is to help communities and businesses prosper through a variety of programs providing everything from targeted tax relief to community block grants to tourism marketing. DECD and its partners show companies how to benefit from millions of dollars in tax credits, reimbursements, R & D credits, capital loans, even direct investment.

Join us on June 19th at the Holiday Inn By the Bay to hear about the Commissioner’s first few months in office, and learn about what she sees as opportunities and threats for Maine’s economy, and what may come out of the legislative session to advance the economy.  We’ll also learn what Maine is doing to be competitive and what programs DECD uses to assist development together with specific success stories.

Following her formal remarks, Commissioner Johnson will welcome questions from the audience.

About the Event:

June 19, 2019 – 7:30 – 9:00 AM

Holiday Inn by the Bay
88 Spring Street
Portland, ME

Breakfast: 7:30 – 8:00 AM
Program: 8:00 – 9:00 AM

Our Presenter:

Heather Johnson grew up in Skowhegan and graduated from the University of Maine. She began her career by building a diverse background in the private technology sector including sales, operations and general management roles at Nokia, Gateway and Toshiba. With continually expanding roles she created startup operations inside large companies, developed new products for new markets, and ran a $1.2 billion retail business.

After leaving the private sector, Heather had the opportunity to concentrate on rural economic development at Somerset Economic Development Corporation. During her time as the Executive Director she focused on key economic drivers such as; connectivity, workforce participation, and potential growth markets.

While serving as the Director of ConnectME Heather was responsible for managing a small grant program, mapping key assets, working with communities and businesses to help them identify needs and opportunities to utilize connectivity to enable their goals. Heather was able to able to make changes that positions the ConnectME to move forward into the connectivity space.

As Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development Heather continues to dedicate her career to fostering economic development, both in private companies and in rural communities across Maine.

Registering for this Event: Click Here to Register Now

Your RSVP is requested by June 12, 2019. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted  to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after June 12, 2019.

Ticket Prices:

Members: $45 each | Non-Members: $55 ea
Prices increase by $10 after June 12, 2019

This MEREDA Morning Menu Breakfast Event is Sponsored by Norway Savings Bank.

Visit to register for this event.


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Retail Trends Moving Forward in 2019

Karen Rich, Broker, Malone Commercial Brokers

I was happy to present the Greater Portland Retail portion of the MEREDA 2019 Forecast conference last month in Portland, where we took a look back at 2018 and where retail trends are moving forward in 2019.

Locally, the retail market has remained very strong.  Greater Portland numbers show a vacancy rate just slightly higher than it was a year or two ago at just over 5%.  Vacancy rates in the Old Port and Downtown Portland barely register.  But, that being said, if you keep an eye on trends, you can start to see some slight changes.  Retail spaces in the Old Port tend to remain available a little longer than they did a few years ago.  Of course, the prices per square foot are still extremely high – there are actually prices being paid in the Old Port of $48 per square foot!  Crazy, I know, but typically those spaces tend to be fairly small and in the most well-located places in the City!  Regardless, the retail market in the Greater Portland area remains very strong.

The Greater Portland market is comprised of the communities of Portland, South Portland, Scarborough, Westbrook, Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth.  The retail report compiled by Malone Commercial Brokers tracks over 6.5M SF of retail spaces throughout this area.  Of that square footage, vacancy is only approximately 365,000 SF.  The Per Square Foot average price for those spaces remains high in the $15.00-$19.00 range.    Yes, there are some big box stores that have remained vacant for a few years.  Case in point is the former Bon Ton/former Filene’s space BUT there is talk of repositioning that type of bigger box space into other types of uses.  Uses like medical office and similar that could benefit from a Maine Mall location.  Certainly, the trend with big box retailers is to prototype their stores slightly smaller and use each square foot more judiciously than in the past.

The impact of a flourishing restaurant scene on retailers is self-evident. Portland, Maine (as we all know by now) was named 2018 Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appetit magazine. I’d like to say that it put Portland on the map but the truth of the matter is that Portland has been on the map for a number of years.  It may now be getting all the recognition that our beloved city deserves.   Greater Portland has long been a favorite of foodies and has also become very well known for its breweries and craft beer making which has made it a “must stop” on many travelers’ destinations.  When you factor in all of the new restaurants, amazing chefs, and some of our long-standing favorites that have been with us for 30 years and more, you have an exciting restaurant city that is just going to continue to become more and more popular.   The success of the restaurants which helps bring many of the tourists also has significant impact on local and regional retail shops.

Retail Trends:

One of the aspects of retail that I took at look at for the retail presentation had to do with trends in retail and how retail is faring both locally and nationally and the obvious impact from e-commerce sales.  The one notable and memorable quote that I came across during my research was (to paraphrase) “It is no longer an us vs them mentality” as in e-commerce vs bricks and mortars.  Instead it has become important that bricks and mortars retailers adapt and create an Omnichannel Strategy for their customers.  Retailers don’t really care if you shop online on their website and ship the package to your home, OR if you shop online on their website and pick up your purchase at their local bricks and mortar store OR if you come and shop in their store.  Any of these three variations means you are spending your retail dollars with them!  Hence the Omnichannel Strategy – offers you the option to purchase wherever you want and wherever you feel most comfortable but shop with them!

To make that shopping experience an even more positive one, retailers are developing what is called Experiential Retail.  Experiential Retail is generally defined as a store in which stuff happens in addition to selling, and shoppers do things besides buying. The idea is that a retailer offers consumers a chance to buy an experience rather than just an object or service.   This can be accomplished through any number of activities but typically is also linked to technology and using technological advances in apps that make the shopping experience a fun and convenient one.

The last word is, retailers need to remain flexible and willing to make changes, as well as bring in new systems as they become available.  The key word for Retailers today is Adapt, Adapt, Adapt!

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MEREDA’s Annual Real Estate Spring Conference – The Future of Housing in Maine: Opportunities and Solutions

On May 7th, the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) will host an exciting, informative, and solutions-based presentation for anyone living or working in Maine. Housing is reaching a critical juncture here, and MEREDA’s members are at the forefront, finding ways to respond to existing and changing housing needs, and support responsible development. Our Spring Conference will focus on understanding the various ages and demographics needing housing and their impact on developing appropriate housing stock.

“Housing is a huge issue in Maine affecting individuals, businesses, and communities, and a constant subject of discussion among MEREDA members,” says Gary Vogel, MEREDA President. “We want to be part of the solution. So we’ve decided to focus an entire conference on this issue, to bring together industry leaders to collaborate and innovate on this important topic,” continues Vogel.

Headlining the event we have Lynn Fisher. Lynn, a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, will deliver a data rich baseline of information, encompassing national and regional trends. Martin Ditto, a Washington, D.C. developer deeply involved in the emerging national trend of Cohousing, will share success stories and his process for recognizing innovative housing solutions.

Bringing these inspiring topics home to roost are Matt O’Malia, Hannah Pingree, and Dan Brennan. Matt, a design/build innovator and principal and co-founder of GO Logic, is developing a European insulation product using paper. His product will create savings in both construction and heating, create jobs here in Maine, and take advantage of a natural product we have in abundance. Hannah, Director of the Governor’s Office of Policy and Management, will be speaking to Policy and will tell us how the state and federal government can help. Finally, Dan, with 25 years of experience at MaineHousing, will share his insight and knowledge of both policy and lending products exclusively for funding affordable housing development.

The conference format will be engaging, interactive, and conversational. There will be many opportunities for audience interface and questions. As a bonus to this year’s Spring Conference, we are offering ACCESS tickets, to a private cocktail party following the conference, where the conversations can continue in a small group setting.

The MEREDA Spring Conference will be held on May 7th from 12pm – 5pm. The next edition of the MEREDA Index will be unveiled and MEREDA will also recognize its 2018 Notable Projects Recipients at the event.

This Course has been Approved for 3.00 Hours of Broker, Appraiser, Architect & Legal Continuing Education Credits.

For more information, or to register for the conference, please click here.

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Maine’s Affordable Housing Needs Go Through the Roof, Leading to Call for New State Tax Credit

Greg Payne, Director, Maine Affordable Housing Coalition

Maine is experiencing a fundamental mismatch between its housing stock and its housing needs, and that mismatch is creating enormous problems for our families and our state’s economic well-being. For tens of thousands of Mainers, the price, quality, size and location of the homes available to them are simply out of synch with their needs and resources. This housing market failure affects wide swaths of Mainers, but seniors on fixed incomes, people with disabilities, and lower-wage workers are particularly affected. Housing practitioners and advocates are responding to this dilemma with a new proposal to double the current rate of production of affordable homes in Maine, through the creation of a new state affordable housing tax credit.

Overwhelming Unmet Need

Providers of affordable homes report staggering demand statewide, and an increasing inability to keep up: the aggregate waiting list for affordable housing managed by members of the Maine Real Estate Managers Association, the state’s largest apartment association, has risen to more than 32,000 households; the Maine Association of Public Housing Directors reports that over 17,500 Maine households are now on their waiting lists for federal rental assistance, often for 5-10 or more years; and Avesta Housing, the state’s largest nonprofit housing agency, reports that over 4,000 households applied for one of their affordable homes in 2018, but only 373 received help:

Additionally, recently released American Community Survey data reveals that more than 35,000 renter households, spread throughout all areas of Maine, are severely rent burdened – that is, paying more than half of their incomes for rent and utilities.

While Maine is experiencing this widespread, unmet need for affordable homes, the annual rate of production of new affordable housing units is only about 250 statewide. 

How Affordable Housing is Financed

In Maine and across the country, affordable housing development is primarily financed through the federal low income housing tax credit program (LIHTC), conceptualized as a public-private partnership that has found great success and bipartisan support since it was passed in the 1980s. While so-called “9% credits” are a limited, oversubscribed federal resource that flows to Maine each year based on population size, there is an unlimited supply of “4%” low income housing tax credits available from the U.S. Treasury to increase the supply of affordable housing. However, those 4% credits, which generally cover about 35% of the cost of a typical new affordable housing development, are only available if the state puts some of its resources on the table as well. The graphic below shows the difference between the two types of credits and how they are used to finance affordable housing:


The key to making affordable housing development feasible under either scenario is finding the “Other Subsidy” shown above in green. While the 9% LIHTC is more valuable and requires less additional subsidy, its availability is limited by design and will only support the annual production of about 150 new housing units in Maine. The 4% LIHTC is less valuable than its 9% cousin, but is an unlimited resource to be leveraged by states that can find the resources to fill in the other subsidy required.

How a Maine Affordable Housing Tax Credit Program Can Fill the Gap

Over a dozen other states (including Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut) have adopted successful state affordable housing tax credit programs to help fill the financing gap in projects that utilize federal 4% tax credits to build new housing. The Maine Affordable Housing Coalition and its partners in the aging, community development, construction and engineering sectors are now proposing a similar approach through a bill that has been filed at the state Legislature.

Modeled on Maine’s successful and highly efficient state historic rehabilitation tax credit, the proposal would utilize $80 million in state tax credits over 4 years to leverage federal 4% credits. Adding these two resources to the modest loans and grants already available to housing stakeholders would allow more than 1,000 affordable homes to get built or preserved in Maine over 4 years – a doubling of the state’s annual production of affordable housing. At the same time, it would create jobs and critical economic activity statewide in the construction, engineering and design sectors.

The initiative sets aside 10% of the credits to preserve some of the nearly 2,500 affordable homes located in rural communities throughout Maine, which were originally financed 40 years ago by USDA Rural Development but are now at risk of losing their affordability restrictions.

The proposed program would allow individuals or corporations to invest in the development or preservation of affordable housing, in return for a refundable credit to apply to their state income tax obligations. The credits would be administered by MaineHousing.

The bill, sponsored by Assistant House Majority Leader Ryan Fecteau, is titled “An Act to Create and Preserve Affordable Homes for Workers, Seniors and Rural Communities” and is expected to be referred to the Taxation Committee later this month.

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Join us in Lewiston on April 23 for the Last of our 3 Opportunity Zones Breakfasts

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created a bi-partisan tax incentive program based on economically distressed Opportunity Zones.  Investors in Qualified Opportunity Zone businesses now have the ability to defer, and to some extent eliminate, recent capital gain income, by properly investing their gain proceeds.  Gov. LePage has designated 32 Opportunity Zones in Maine ranging from Saco to Madawaska,  which opens the door for real estate developers pursuing projects in these designated areas to tap into a whole new group of tax savvy investors.

Join MEREDA for the last of its three informational breakfast events, this time in Lewiston at DaVinci’s Eatery on April 23, 2019  from 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM to learn more about these complicated new rules.  Once again, panelists Andy Smith andNelson Toner will offer insights about how the legislation will impact the real estate industry and the tax advantages available to investors in Opportunity Zone projects

About the Panelists:

For more than 30 years, Nelson Toner has practiced law at Bernstein Shur providing tax planning, estate planning and business succession planning to individual and business clients.  Prior to working at Bernstein Shur, Nelson worked in the tax department at the Boston office of Grant Thornton, an international accounting firm during the halcyon days of pre-1986 real estate syndications.  Nelson gives many local and state seminars, including a regular presentation at the Maine Tax Forum each autumn, and for many years taught Estate and Gift Tax at the Maine Law School.  He also writes the S Corporation column for the Journal of Passthrough Entities, a national tax publication.

Nelson earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Trinity College (Hartford), a JD  degree from Case Western Reserve University, and an LLC in taxation from Boston University.

Andrew Smith is a principal at Baker Newman Noyes, specializing in assisting his clients with practical advice and creative solutions to their most challenging business issues, including tax efficient structures for business transactions; fixed asset analysis; succession planning; and tax deferral and reduction strategies. He also works with real estate clients of all sizes on cost segregation studies, like-kind exchanges, and historic rehabilitation credits. In addition to serving clients, Andy is also actively  involved in the firm’s college recruiting initiatives, having begun his career at the firm in 1997 as an intern and leads the tax department’s Multi-Generational Business group.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with concentrations in accounting and finance, from the University of Maine, Orono.

Registering for this Event: Click here to register for this event

Your RSVP is requested by April 16, 2019. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted  to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after April 16, 2019.

Ticket Prices:

Members: $25 each | Non-Members: $35 ea
Prices increase by $10 after April 16, 2019

This MEREDA Morning Menu breakfast is sponsored by Norway Savings Bank

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MEREDA’s Morning Menu – “Planning for Growth: Portland’s Eastern Waterfront”

Come learn about Portland’s economic growth in the East End over the last ten years, including the public-private sector partnerships which support it. In 2004, the Portland City Council approved a plan for the eastern waterfront of the city that proposed a new street grid, redevelopment of the old Portland Company site, and a mix of uses and buildings to integrate with the historic fabric of the area. Since that time, the City has completed new zoning for the area, and a new Comprehensive Plan that sets a framework for growth. Hear from City officials about how this work proceeded from planning, to action, to partnership, and how the City continues to work to manage the impacts of development through innovative strategies to manage mobility, parking and quality of life issues.

Make plans now to join MEREDA on April 10, 2019 from 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM at the Clarion Hotel in Portland.

About the Panelists:

Jeff Levine, AICP, has been involved with land use and economic development planning on the local and regional level for 20 years. In Portland, he has built a team that has led projects such as Portland’s Plan 2030; development of a form-based code for the India Street neighborhood; creation of an inclusionary housing ordinance and robust Housing Trust; and other changes to operations and local ordinances to promote a sustainable city. Before coming to Portland, he was the Director of Planning & Community Development for Brookline, MA, where he managed the completion of the town’s award-winning Comprehensive Plan and a public realm plan for the Route 9 corridor into Boston. Previously, he worked as the Director of Transportation & Long Range Planning for the City of Somerville, MA, and as a regional planner for the Cape Cod Commission. A New England native, he has been involved in a number of land use transformations, including the redevelopment of the Assembly Square district in Somerville; planning for the introduction of a new light rail transit line in Somerville; and redevelopment of John Kennedy’s boyhood church into a mixed-income housing development in Brookline. Jeff has also been involved in Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Boston, on Cape Cod, and in Portland. Jeff is an adjunct faculty member at the Muskie School of Public Service, and was previously an adjunct at Tufts University, at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and at the APA Planning Leadership Institute. He has a degree in economic development planning from the University of Minnesota and an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University.

Greg Mitchell has over thirty-five years of economic development work experience in public and private sectors including non-profit organizations located in South Florida and throughout Maine. He has been the Economic Development Director for the City of Portland for ten years. His present work involves business recruitment and retention, advocacy of business interests in City government, marketing, lead negotiator with economic development projects and City real estate transactions.  Greg has degrees in business administration and economics from Norwich University and Florida Atlantic University.

Registering for this Event:

Your RSVP is requested by April 3, 2019. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted  to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after April 3, 2019.

Ticket Prices:

Members: $45 each | Non-Members: $55 each
Prices increase by $10 after April 3, 2019

Visit to register.

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The Future of Home Buying

Dava Davin, Principal, Portside Real Estate Group

Will technology make real estate transactions a whole lot easier? The number of single-family home transactions in Maine has been flat for the last three years and is not expected to increase any time soon. This is a reflection of the economy, age of Mainers, and an inventory shortage. But could it also be that buying and selling homes is a royal pain in the rear for most people, preparing their homes for strangers to walk through, tons of paperwork, and the terrifying unknowns being able to find their next suitable home? With this in mind some companies are trying to shake things up the way Uber disrupted transportation and Netflix changed home entertainment.

Let’s take a step out of Maine for a moment. $100 billion of commissions are paid per year in the United States. Residential real estate has been sold the same way for decades, but we are starting to see change in other parts of the country as consumers would like to see a simplified method for transacting real estate. Millennials will account for 45% of buyers in 2019. Millennials, and frankly all consumers want information and action ON DEMAND, they don’t want to leave voice mails or send emails and WAIT, they prefer just to push a button on their phone and take an action. So, an enormous amount of money is being invested into technology to get a bite into the real estate industry and that $100 billion of commissions. The historical void of innovation in real estate has opened a world of opportunity for startups that are attracting billions of dollars from venture capitalists.

The VC world is all about PROPTECH (short for property technology) — a relatively new term referring to the sector of startups that create new products or business models for the real estate market. This is the future of real estate market.

The players in this space are VERY powerful. Global venture capital investment in real estate innovation was $12.6 billion in 2017.

One model the proptech companies have launched is the iBuyer. Sellers can trade in their house on-line!  An iBuyer is a company that will make a homeowner an offer on their home online within minutes (or days), sight unseen, using an automated valuation tool. If they choose to accept the price, they can close in as little as a couple of days or pick a convenient closing date. The iBuyers tout the selling experience as quick and easy. No need to paint, stage, repair, clean up, have showings and open houses. Yes, these valuations are less than market value, but for a homeowner that needs to relocate for a job, is navigating a sensitive divorce, or a seller that can’t afford to buy without selling and want to act quickly…this could be the answer!

Opendoor, one of the iBuying companies has raised over $1 billion in VC money. Other competitors OfferPad and Knock have also raised quite a bit of money. It is not just startup tech companies investing in iBuyer technology, the traditional real estate players are also bankrolling new technologies. Zillow, Keller Williams, Realogy, and Redfin have developed their own iBuying arms and investing heavily in proptech.

Who is using these services?

Rental giants that used to gobble up distressed sales to grow their single-family inventory can’t do that anymore as foreclosures have dried up. 1 in 10 homes sold by iBuyers are bought by institutional investors. This number is increasing. It is not just big landlords buying through this method, the tight inventory is causing single family rental investors across the country to look for other methods to find inventory to buy. Rental demand is predicted to stay strong in the next decade.

iBuying is still a niche product. If we look at Phoenix, a city with where multiple iBuyers have been operating for years, the sector has only about 4 percent of the overall market. Would this model work in Maine? No, probably not, we have a lot of variety in our housing stock, the values would be difficult to capture without a human visit to the property.

But the venture capital money is allowing proptech companies to keep developing a solution to simplify the home buying process. The iBuying model (or another automated option for selling real estate) will gain in popularity. And that appetite will likely only grow as consumers skew younger and are more empowered by technology.  It won’t be this exact model, but once the technology is discovered that does catch on, it will be a rapid change – think about quickly Uber changed how we get around and how Amazon changed our shopping experience.

It will be exciting to watch and be a part of these changes as technology is infused in residential real estate and if/when it will creep into Maine’s market.

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How the Right Workspace Can Help Your Recruiting Efforts

by Jessica Estes, Partner, Broker, The Boulos Company

As of August, the unemployment rate was 2.4% in Cumberland County, Maine. At this level, economists will tell you that everyone who wants a job has one. So attracting talent means, in most cases, attracting people who already have jobs. It also means that for many companies, attracting and keeping talent is the first “T” defined in the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. While your reputation, website, salary, and benefits package are all important facets of your recruiting game, don’t overlook your workspace. Here are five things to consider if you’re looking for a new location or planning a remodel:


Despite the seasonal climate here in Maine, we have plenty of cyclists in our midst and the number of commuters via bicycle has grown 51% nationwide from 2000 to 2016, a trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Having the infrastructure to support that kind of commute could be the deciding factor for a potential employee. It also conveys that your company is environmentally conscious.


Does your space accommodate flexible hours? This means excellent outdoor lighting, 7-day-per-week snow removal, parking in close proximity to the building, and HVAC hours that accommodate evening or weekend work if necessary. If your employees value flexible hours, these details are critical. Make sure your people feel safe and comfortable working the hours that fit their schedule.


Provide private space for all employees, especially new Moms. Leaving a new baby with a caregiver to return to work is tough no matter how much a woman likes her job. Make that transition as easy as possible on her and provide a comfortable lactation room. Other private spaces should be made available for people to make phone calls, have sensitive discussions or just shut out distractions while focusing on an important project.


Create a space that illustrates and honors your company’s culture. The little details of design can be overlooked in the grand scheme of building out new space and/or moving. Your operations team will likely be overwhelmed with the process. Hire a consultant to assist with space planning and interior design. These details go well beyond wall color and carpet choices – the small thoughtful touches do make a difference. When you walk a prospective hire through your space, you’ll want to be able to point out the things that make your company a special place to work.


Do you need to be in a downtown location? If so, “What’s the parking situation here?” should be one of the first questions you ask when touring office spaces and it should be factored into the overall budget. Downtown vacancy is at or near an all-time low right now, so parking garages are full as well. Consider whether you want to ask employees to walk several blocks or pay for parking. Maybe you just need a few key people downtown with a larger presence in the suburbs.

There are many logistical decisions to be made when designing your space, but don’t let that stop you from getting creative and thinking outside the normal parameters of what office space can be. You could offer a fully-stocked kitchen, yoga rooms, a pet friendly atmosphere… even nap pods. Picture your perfect new hire. What would entice them to join the company?

Originally published on September 27, 2018. 


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MEREDA’s Annual Spring Networking Social

Thinking Spring? Think MEREDA on March 21! Make plans now to join us at Ri Ra Irish Pub & Restaurant for MEREDA’s Annual Spring Networking Social!

MEREDA’s networking events attract key players in Maine’s real estate industry offering excellent opportunities to interact with the experts.

Join us and other industry professionals on Portland’s waterfront on March 21 from 5 – 7 pm for Hors d’ oeuvres, Spirits, and Great Conversation as we welcome Spring to Maine!

Join us for a cocktail or two, and reconnect with colleagues and friends, both old and new!  This “can’t miss” event sells out every year, so sign up early!

About the Event:

Ri Ra Irish Pub
72 Commercial Street
Portland, ME

Download the Event Flyer

Registering for this Event:

Your RSVP is requested by March 14, 2019. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted  to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after March 14, 2019.

Ticket Prices:

Members: $45 each | Non-Members: $60 ea
Prices increase by $10 after March 14, 2019

MEREDA’s Annual Spring Networking Social is sponsored by Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Drummond Woodsum and Landry/French Construction Co.

Visit for more information and to register.

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MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Event: Transforming the Retail Experience

Rock Row is a transformative 110 acre mixed-use development thoughtfully designed to complement state-of-the-art architecture with the site’s unique natural features. Through careful planning, Rock Row in Westbrook, Maine combines healthy urban living, destination retail, modern workplaces, select and full service hotels, diverse entertainment, and chef-inspired dining in a fun, convenient and immersive experience.

Mark your calendar to join us for breakfast on March 12 from 7:30 AM – 9:30 AM at the Holiday Inn By the Bay to discover how the transformation of the retail experience is taking shape in Maine.

About the Event:

March 12, 2019 – 7:30AM to 9:30AM

Holiday Inn by the Bay
88 Spring Street
Portland, ME 04101

Breakfast: 7:30 AM Program: 8:00 – 9:30 AM

About the Panel:

Josh Levy, Waterstone’s co-founding Principal, is actively involved in all facets of the company including site acquisition, permitting, and development, with a primary focus on Leasing for Waterstone’s 50+ shopping center portfolio and developing strategic leasing/development initiatives.

Before starting Waterstone, Josh served as Chief Operating Officer of a privately held real estate investment company and was responsible for company operations and its Massachusetts portfolio. A graduate of Boston College, Josh holds a Bachelor of Science degree and has pursued continued real estate education through MIT, Boston University, ICSC and CCIM. He has been a guest lecturer at both Harvard University and Boston College, and is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, NH ICSC Next Generation Committee, Young President’s Organization, and Boston College TREK.  Josh is actively involved with the Dakshana Foundation in India and other local Boston organizations.

Trip Schneck is an industry-leading expert in specialty food, beverage (F&B) and entertainment procurement. Prior to the acquisition by Cushman & Wakefield, Trip, and his partner, Phil Colicchio, founded Colicchio Consulting where their work has given them a proven track record in the F&B industry in identifying, evaluating, conceiving, selecting, and contracting with food and beverage providers for food halls, hotels and shopping centers among other concepts. Since 2015, they have been at the forefront of “The Food Hall Movement”‘, advising property owners and universities on the critical need for intelligently programming communal spaces to include authentic food and beverage offerings, markets, beer gardens, rooftop experiences and thoughtfully curated Food Halls. In 2017, they expanded to include the development of live performance.

Registering for this Event:

MEREDA Member: $45 each  | Non – Member: $55 each
Register After March 5:  Member: $55 each  |  Non-Member $65 each

Your RSVP is requested by March 5, 2019. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after March 5, 2019.

This MEREDA Morning Menu Breakfast Event is Sponsored by Norway Savings Bank and Waterstone Properties.

Visit  for more information and to register.

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