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Updated: July 8, 2024

A Look Back: Portland’s East End saw a real estate surge in 2005, but not everyone was happy about it

Mainebiz Archive

A story from the May 2, 2005, issue of Mainebiz looked at the impact of the development of Portland’s East End.

It’s commonly accepted that one turning point was in 1994, when Shipyard Brewing Co. opened in a rehabbed factory building on India Street.

But the story in 2005 looked at a few other key changes.

In December 2001, a lease expired on Bath Iron Works’ drydock facility. One East End business owner told Mainebiz in 2005, “the [BIW] dock put a lot of people off the area,” though that same business owner said he was able to buy his building for $150,000, so perhaps there were tradeoffs.

Nonetheless, the shift away from the dry dock eventually opened up waterfront space for the Ocean Gateway, which went hand-in-hand with the plan to attract more cruise ships to Portland.

Proposals for hotels and condominiums also developed out of the change on the waterfront.

The prospect of a $500,000 condo might have seemed high in those days, but may be considered a bargain today.

Still, there were naysayers.

Even in those early days of development, one local retailer was worried about the effect of too many visitors: “I hope it doesn’t get too touristy,” the shopkeeper told Mainebiz.

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