Each year, the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) recognizes some of the state’s most “noteworthy and significant” real estate projects, completed in the previous year. The exemplary projects from across the state, completed in 2021, not only embody MEREDA’s belief in responsible real estate development, but also exemplify best practices in the industry, contributing to Maine’s economic growth by significant investment of resources and job creation statewide.
This year, MEREDA honored projects from Portland to Biddeford to Bangor, with each receiving special recognition at MEREDA’s 2022 Spring Conference on May 24th.
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, difficulty of the development, uniqueness, social impact and job creation.
MEREDA’s 2021 Top 7 recipients include:
Harold Alfond Hall, Husson University (Bangor)
Thornton Heights Commons, South Portland Housing Development Corporation (South Portland)
Harnois & Emery Apartments, Westbrook Housing, Westbrook Development Corporation, and Anew Development (Westbrook)
Riverdam Mill Complex, Port Property (Biddeford)
40 Free Street, JB Brown & Sons & Ryan Senatore Architecture, (Portland)
Deering Place, Zachau Construction & Avesta Housing, (Portland)
Children’s Museum + Theatre Maine, Zachau Construction (Portland)
Please join us this week in celebrating Deering Place.
MEREDA: Describe the building and project.
Deering Place: Deering Place: Deering Place preserves, redevelops, and expands aﬀordable housing in a highly desirable and accessible location within Portland, Maine. Deering Place is a 75-unit, mixed-income development that includes a major renovation of 13 existing units and the construction of two new residential buildings on lots adjacent to the existing building. Upon completion, there are 62 new units. Amenities include a new community room, laundry rooms, and indoor parking that will be accessible to residents in all buildings. There will be easily-accessible walkways and sitting areas. There is currently a community policing office onsite that will remain. Deering Place comes at a time when the need for affordable housing in Portland is greater than ever.
MEREDA: What was the impetus for this project?
Deering Place: Deering Place: Deering Place set to preserve, redevelop, and expand aﬀordable housing in a highly desirable and accessible location within Portland, Maine. The development site contained three contiguous lots in a highly walkable area in the historic Parkside neighborhood in downtown Portland. Deering Place is in close proximity to daily amenities and services within the downtown area, which makes it a prime location for housing. MaineHealth, Deering Oaks park, a pharmacy, bus stops, schools, grocery stores, shops and restaurants are all within a half mile.
Deering Place: Deering Place is a 75-unit, mixed-income development that included a major renovation of 13 existing units and the construction of two new residential buildings on lots adjacent to the existing building.
Deering Place comes at a time when the need for affordable housing in Portland is greater than ever.
MEREDA: That sounds like quite a process. How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?
Deering Place: Deering Place: As the construction management partner on the project, we were in the planning stages with Avesta Housing for about a year and a half.
MEREDA: Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed.
Deering Place: Deering Place: Budget constraints required creative scope adjustments to deliver high-quality, energy-efficient buildings that meet design requirements within national historic district and performance standards from the City, MaineHousing, and HUD. The capital stack included seven sources and nine financing partners, including some entirely new to Maine. Additionally, Deering Place was a complex construction project on a tight urban site in an historic district mixing occupied rehab, adaptive reuse, and new construction.
MEREDA: Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable?
Deering Place: Deering Place: Deering Place offers affordable housing in downtown Portland, putting residents at the center of services and jobs. The desire for this level of housing is so great that Avesta Housing had over 800 applications for 75 units. This location is close to public transportation, food, services, and health care. In addition to this project being noteworthy in its ability to fill a void in downtown Portland for low-income housing, the construction of the project itself was notable in that it was an occupied rehabilitation. This tight location has 3 buildings, one of which had to meet historical renovations standards to fit in with the Parkside neighborhood.