MEREDA Hosts Conversation Around the Cutting-Edge Concept of Retrofitting and Creative Re-Use Planning at Annual Spring Conference

More than 225 professionals from the commercial real estate sector attended the Maine Real Estate & Development Association’s May 22nd Annual Spring Conference featuring nationally-re­nowned architect Ellen Dunham-Jones, a leading authority on suburban redevelopment as its keynote speaker.

The panel of local experts, coupled with Ellen Dunham-Jones’ renowned contributions, provided hope for Maine’s communities, large and small, as to how they can reach their architectural, cultural and economic potential by making best use of scarce community resources to enhance commerce, walkability and community heritage. Retrofitting is one of the important trends in play all around the country and MEREDA was pleased to be at the forefront of that conversation.

MEREDA also recognized the most noteworthy and significant Maine commercial development projects from the previous year, all of which embody MEREDA’s belief in responsible development. For 2012, four developers were recognized for projects that are fully tenanted, environmentally sustainable, energy efficient, and contribute to job creation, society and the economy.  Honorees included:  Ocean Properties, Ltd. for the West Street Hotel in Bar Harbor, Avesta Housing for Oak Street Lofts in Portland, Park Street School in Kennebunk, and Emery School in Biddeford, The Szanton Company for The Lofts at Bates Mill in Lewiston, and the University of New England for the Harold Alfond Forum in Biddeford.

Also at the event, MEREDA presented its first ever report on the current state of the real estate industry in Maine.  Over the past year, MEREDA, in conjunction with Professor Charles Colgan and his team at the Muskie Institute, has developed the MEREDA Index, a composite index derived from several data sets of three major components: residential, commercial and construction. Once the data is retrieved from available resources, weighted and compiled, it provides a current indicator specifically for determining the relative health and construction activity of the real estate industry in Maine.

The MEREDA Index was developed to increase the awareness and importance of the real estate industry in our state’s economy and to provide valuable information to our members, the general public and our political representatives in tracking historic trends and predicting future growth. Real estate is cyclical and being ahead of the curve is critical for our members’ organizations and for the overall strength of Maine’s economy. Our goal is that over time the MEREDA Index and associated report will be a trusted resource for predicting future growth trends, lead to policy initiatives that encourage growth in real estate, and highlight the intricate link between the strength of the real estate market and the vitality of Maine’s economy.

For more information on MEREDA, the MEREDA Index, or our 2012 Notable Project recipients, please contact the MEREDA office.

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