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Waterville council OKs tax break for $11 million apartment project in former Seton Hospital

WATERVILLE — City councilors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a tax break and plan for an $11 million project to turn the former Seton Hospital on Chase Avenue into 50 one- and two-bedroom apartments in what officials say makes the project financially feasible for the developer and brings needed housing to the city.

The 7-0 vote was the first of two needed to approve the 20-year tax increment financing plan, or TIF, in which the average rate of reimbursement over that period is about 50 percent. Councilors are scheduled to take a final vote on the TIF at their May 17 meeting.

Developer Tom Siegel, of RME Property Consultants, of Topsham, said 50 apartments would be constructed in the tower of the building, which is six stories, with most of the units two-bedroom and the rest, one-bedroom. The ground level will be 23,000 square feet of office space, and the lower level will be 35,000 square feet of warehouse and storage, according to Siegel.

He said the historic integrity of the building will be retained as much as possible as part of the project.

“We’d like to begin in August, and right now, we’re really trying for 12 months of construction,” Siegel said. “That could get extended for various reasons.”


Avesta wants to raze one building, then raise another

The Portland nonprofit proposes replacing a modest single-family home with a complex of 18 units to help alleviate a ‘crisis’ in affordable rents.
A Portland nonprofit is seeking approval to demolish a small house on the border of the city’s East End and Munjoy Hill neighborhoods to build a four-story apartment complex for low-income residents.
Avesta Housing’s 18-unit proposal is part of a growing number of housing projects in a city with a notoriously tight rental market, especially for people at the lower end of the income spectrum. Greg Payne, development officer with Avesta, said the property at 134 Washington Ave. was selected because it is a large lot located on the peninsula close to services and shopping.
“It is directly in front of a bus stop, and that is important for folks to get around,” Payne said. “And it has a lovely view of the cove.”
Located on the boundary line between the East Bayside and East End neighborhoods, Washington Avenue is a mixed neighborhood of single-family homes, houses divided into apartments and businesses ranging from auto shops to photography and pottery studios.
Avesta purchased the single-family home in May 2013 and recently received approval for low-income housing tax credits from MaineHousing.
Avesta’s application to the Portland Planning Division proposes a $1.7 million building featuring 18 efficiency apartments, each measuring approximately 340 square feet. Standing 44 feet tall, the four-story apartment building would be one of the tallest structures in the mixed-use neighborhood at the base of Munjoy Hill.

Construction begins for Portland's Thompson Point

Apr 11, 2014

PORTLAND, Maine —The road to development has begun for Portland's Thompson Point.  Groundbreaking ceremonies Friday marked the start of construction on roads and trails leading to Thompson Point. 
The $3.8 million project includes improvements to the nearby Interstate 295 exit and widening of the Thompson Point connector road.  The work will make it easier for construction to begin on redevelopment.  "People have described it as the gateway and it really is coming in from the south from 295, coming into the jetport by plane, coming in Amtrak or Concord Coach. It really is the first thing that you see and it should feel like something that welcomes you to Portland and to Maine for many people," said developer Chris Thompson. 

The nation's first circus conservatory may be built at Thompson Point.

Plans also call for more than 30 acres of housing, offices and a 3,500-seat event center which will feature outdoor concerts.


Groundbreaking on Hampton Inn begins near Oxford Casino

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

OXFORD — Groundbreaking on a planned 90-room Hampton Inn began last week, and developers hope to finish the project in time to hook on to the new municipal sewer system, expected to come online this autumn.  The site of the new hotel is on farmland formally owned by members of the Hall family next to the Crestholm Farm Stand on Route 26 directly across from the Oxford Casino.  Construction vehicles from R.E. Coleman Excavation of Portland were at the site Tuesday grading the hillside for erosion control to stabilize the property in preparation for the construction season.  An anticipated start date for full construction is "still up in the air," according to Glen Holmes, director of the Western Maine Economic Development Group, a Division of Community Concepts Finance Corporation.  "They really felt they needed to get on site and get the erosion control addressed so it was stabilized and ready to go for whenever they get ready to start," Holmes said.


Maine regulators OK natural gas pipeline

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine utility regulators are giving their conditional approval to an 80-mile natural gas pipeline to extend from Richmond to Madison.

Kennebec Valley Gas Company LLC managing member Mark Isaacson tells the Kennebec Journal in Augusta ( ) that the Public Utilities Commission's decision keeps the company on track to complete construction and deliver gas in 2013 or earlier. Isaacson says the pipeline will lower costs for residential, commercial and industrial consumers in central Maine.

Kennebec Valley Gas still must return to the PUC for final approval of its financing and engineering plans. Isaacson said the next steps are negotiating agreements with the largest potential users of the pipeline and finalizing tax agreements with the host communities



AUGUSTA, Maine — The Department of Veterans Affairs hospital for Maine veterans has a new 12-room hospice unit.  The $3.1 million unit for end-of-life care opened Tuesday after a wing of the hospital in the Togus section of Augusta was renovated. The Kennebec Journal says that each of the rooms has its own bathroom, mini-refrigerator, microwave and television. There is also a room where families can meet and a common area that includes a double-sided fireplace with gas logs and a flat-screen television. The hospice facility was proposed for 2003, but it didn't receive the needed funding until 2009. Construction began last year and took eight months. 

Kandyce Powell of the Maine Hospice Council says the VA is emerging as a leader in end-of-life care.

Information from: Kennebec Journal, http://www.kjonline.com/