The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Hannaford Center, Hampden

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.

Our 2019 Top 7 recipients include:

62 Spring Street, Auburn, Anew Development / Auburn Housing
Founders Place Campus, Bangor, Bangor Savings Bank / CJ Developers
Cape Arundel Cottage Preserve, Arundel, Arundel-Kennebunkport Cottage Preserve, LLC
WEX Global Corporate Headquarters, Portland, Jonathan S. Cohen – 0 Hancock Street, LLC
Hannaford Center, Hampden, Good Shepherd Food Bank
Southgate, Scarborough, Avesta Housing
Station Square, Gorham, Great Falls Construction

MEREDA’s Board intended to honor the award winners at the 35th Anniversary Gala. Originally scheduled for the end of March 2020, the Gala was postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19. Though they may have their formal award delayed, these projects have only gained practical significance as they serve their communities–especially under additional strain and stress of these unprecedented times.  We look forward to formally recognizing these recipients at a future MEREDA event.

Please join us this week in celebrating Hannaford Center in Hampden.

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Good Shepherd Food Bank:  This project included the renovation and conversion of the old Bangor Daily News printing press building into the northern distribution center for Good Shepherd Food Bank. The 40,000 square foot Hannaford Center now houses state-of-the-art refrigeration systems, warehouse style storage for dry goods, and new loading docks for receiving and distributing goods.

Not only does the building have a mass amount of storage space for goods, it was built with the larger community in mind. The second and third floors feature meeting and pre-function space, breakout rooms, and prep kitchen areas. The Onion Room has a seating capacity of 32, the Tradewinds Markets Room seats 10, and the Freeman Ellis Family Room seats 14. Each of these rooms features smart televisions and power integrated into all the tables. Good Shepherd Food Bank envisions these rooms as a hub for the nonprofit and business community at large.

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project? 

Good Shepherd Food Bank:  Strategically located, the new Hampden Distribution Center, will allow Good Shepherd to purchase and distribute more food, more frequently, and more efficiently to northern, central and Downeast Maine. This facility is fundamental to achieving their bold goal: By 2025, all Mainers struggling with hunger will have access to the nutritious food they need to thrive, when and where they need it. Good Shepherd Food Bank knows that they need to provide an additional 8.5 million meals annually to meet the goal. This is on top of the 25 million meals the Food Bank already provides each year, the Hampden location will be instrumental. This project was completed under a $5 million Food For All capital campaign, which actually exceeded the target donation amount and was funded by more than 900 donors.

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

Good Shepherd Food Bank:  Good Shepherd Food Bank purchased the building in December of 2015. We dug in and started planning right away in 2016, but the construction for the project actually began a couple years later in 2018.

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

Good Shepherd Food Bank:  There are many, many challenging aspects of completing this size project but one of our major challenges was running the food bank while construction was happening in the same building.

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

Good Shepherd Food Bank:  With every construction project, there will always be surprises. Ours was finding that some concrete was 10 feet thick in the area where the printing presses were located.

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

Good Shepherd Food Bank:  This project repurposed a long vacant and unproductive building into a modern, state-of-the-art food distribution and community center. Having this location, improves the timeliness and efficiency of providing nutritious foods to meet the needs of Mainers struggling with hunger. One of the greatest obstacles to meeting the Food Bank’s long-term goals was the limited capacity of the Auburn-based distribution center and cold storage. Now, even during non-growing seasons, the Food Bank can distribute healthy produce for longer periods of time because of the new freezer and cold storage units. The increased capacity then allows Good Shepherd to invest more into Maine’s agricultural economy to help supply Mainers with the nutritious, fresh foods they need to thrive.

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