In the fourth of a 7-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, social impact and job creation. Please join with us in celebrating The Bay House Condominiums. A conversation with developer, Reger Dasco Properties.
MEREDA: Describe the building and project
Reger Dasco Properties: The Bay House is the first contemporary condominium project to anchor Portland’s waterfront district, the centerpiece of the city’s most extensive revitalization in recent decades. Inspired by Portland’s past and its emergence as one of America’s best small cities, The Bay House is at the center of a dynamic urban community.
The architecture was designed to complement the spirit of this historic neighborhood, and the project is comprised of 86 single-level residential units ranging in size from 850 square feet to 2200, and 6000 square feet of street-level retail/office space. There are 17 different floor plans and a variety of sophisticated options and amenities including gas fireplaces, custom kitchens, luxurious baths, private outdoor spaces, elevators and underground parking. Adjacent to the bustling Old Port and the vibrant East End, the neighborhood is filled with gourmet restaurants and unique shops.
MEREDA: What was the impetus for the project?
Reger Dasco Properties: There was clearly pent-up demand for new housing stock on the Portland peninsula, especially from baby boomers nearing retirement who loved the idea of single-level low-maintenance homes and a walkable urban lifestyle. The underground garage, landscaped courtyard and private deck space were especially alluring.
MEREDA: That sounds like quite a process. How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?
Reger Dasco Properties: The property had been the site of the iconic Village Café Restaurant and was acquired from the Reali family, the longtime owners and operators. The project took root in 2006 and by 2007 the developers had completed the planning process and had opened a full -scale model unit and sales center in the heart of the Old Port. This marketing concept was the first of its kind for the city of Portland and was well received by the community and by potential buyers. Initial sales were brisk and by the fall of 2008, 40% of the units were under contract.
MEREDA: Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed
Reger Dasco Properties: 2008 saw the collapse of the credit markets just as construction on the Bay House was scheduled to commence. The project was postponed and deposits returned to buyers. By 2012 the market forces had shifted and construction and marketing for the project resumed. Once again sales were handled by Town and Shore Associates and it was immediately evident that the product the Bay House offered was in high demand. The first residents moved into their homes in January of 2014.
MEREDA: Something unexpected you learned along the way?
Reger Dasco Properties: Portland’s peninsula continues to attract both in-state and out-of-state buyers who are drawn to its combination of waterfront proximity, world class restaurants and historic architecture, but we did not expect the high demand for the spacious three bedroom units. The lack of comparable sales in the size range made this demand hard to predict.
MEREDA: Now that it is complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable?
Reger Dasco Properties: The buildings pay tribute to Portland’s past, but emphasize today’s modern lifestyle, and that is a winning combination for the demographic seeking a downtown lifestyle.