The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Hospice of Southern Maine

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 2020, 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 Pittsfield to Bangor, with each receiving special recognition at MEREDA’s 2021 Virtual Spring Conference on May 20th.

In a multi-part series exclusive to the Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at thSe 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 2020 Top 6 recipients include:

82 Hanover Street, Port Property Management (Portland)
Hospice of Southern Maine, Zachau Construction / SMRT (Scarborough)
Rock Row Phase 1 Retail Center, Waterstone Properties Group (Westbrook)
Solterra, Portland Housing Authority (Portland)
One Merchants Plaza, Sky Villa Properties (Bangor)
Puritan Medical COVID –Building Expansion (P2), Puritan Medical Products (Pittsfield)

Please join us this week in celebrating Hospice of Southern Maine.

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  The nonprofit organization Hospice of Southern Maine headquarters is a $6.75 Million, 14,500 SF building built by construction management company, Zachau Construction, and designed by SMRT Architects and Engineers, Portland-based architecture firm. The building is home to the HSM corporate and clinical teams, as well as, a location for training stimulations, grieving services, and a large community room for gatherings and education. Over 600 donors came together to raise the funds for the capital campaign of $6.6 Million to date. Previously located on Route 1 in Scarborough, this new location provides an energy-efficient facility designed to reduce Hospice of Southern Maine’s energy costs by approximately 96%, which creates a full return on their investment within 18 years.

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project? 

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  The mission of Hospice of Southern Maine is to provide compassion, care and comfort through the end of life. The nature of their programming, people who have terminal illness and wanting to have good quality of life towards the end creates a positive social impact on the communities and families they serve. This new building provides a location for their teams to gather, work together, grieve, train and organize to fulfill this mission. A notable feature in the building is a training room with two-way glass, providing a location for the team to learn and grow their skills in end-of-life care.

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

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  Almost 2.5 years of planning

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

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  The project provided a unique opportunity to blend a welcoming, home-inspired environment for visitors in conjunction with an open, contemporary office space for their employees.  This was achieved by using building forms and materials that reflect the warmth and simplicity found in Maine and the weaving of colors and textures throughout the interior that soothe and comfort.

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

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  How to deliver a project during a pandemic. When we began this project, we couldn’t have anticipated what the last few months of building would entail for this project. The pandemic created challenges in delivery of materials and the workflow within the building. Despite the challenges, we were able to complete the project on time.

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

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  The building utilizes solar and geothermal systems to supply 100% of the building’s energy needs with clean energy and will dramatically lower CO2 emissions. The building is predicted to be net positive and will transfer additional power produced by the PV panels to the Hospice of Southern Maine Gosnell Memorial House. By creating a building that is 100% self-sustaining, Hospice of Southern Maine, a non-profit organization, will be able to use its donations towards programs and staff instead of office facility overhead. The size and layout of the building also allow for the organization to expand its reach and ability to serve more families.

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