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October 11, 2023

After pandemic delay, Portland's Time & Temperature Building has a new development team

Photo / Peter Van Allen Nate Green, left, and Chris Marshall will lead redevelopment of the Time & Temperature Building, directly behind them, in downtown Portland.

Portland's iconic Time & Temperature Building, whose redevelopment was stalled during the pandemic, has a new team taking over renovations.

An earlier plan called for converting the 14-story downtown building from commercial space to a 186-room hotel. But in July developer Chris Rhoades said the project had come to a halt.

“In the wake of the pandemic, the global market is experiencing unparalleled shifts due to international supply chain disruptions, escalating labor costs, and a scarcity of skilled labor,” Rhoades said in a statement published by the Portland Press Herald. “These significant changes have prompted us to halt our construction activities on the Time and Temperature Hotel.”

Fast forward to this week. The team named to take over the Time & Temp project will be the duo responsible for developing Yarmouth Commons and the conversion of two former dorms at the old Nasson College in Sanford: Chris Marshall and Nate Green, owners of GreenMars Real Estate.

GreenMars submitted its major site plan/change-in-use application to the city in September

"We have it under contract working through our plan to bring it forward with our new program. We will purchase the property once we’ve finalized our financing," Marshall told Mainebiz. 

The plan at this point

The total size of the Time & Temperature property is 200,000 square feet and includes the central, 14-story tower, an annex on Preble Street and a former bank building to the west of the main tower. 

Many details remain to be ironed out, Marshall and Green told Mainebiz on Wednesday in a meeting from a cafe table across Monument Square. 

Plans won't be finalized before the end of the year. Details about financing, the total cost, the exact number of apartments and who the hotel operator will be are all being worked.

But here's what we know at this point.

Marshall and Green expect to have 120 to 138 apartments, ranging from studios up to two-bedroom units. A hotel property with 120 keys is outlined for floors 7 to 14. An event center is planned for the mezzanine level.

"We'd like to get on the Planning Board agenda by the end of the year," Green said. 

How the deal came together

Marshall and Green had been on the lookout for another project. They finished Yarmouth Commons, with 18 apartments and four commercial spaces, in 2022.

Last year, they took on the redevelopment of three buildings on the former Nasson College campus, converting dorms to apartments. But that project is well on its way, with the apartments in the former Hanscom Hall property expected to be offered by year's end. 

The duo had been working with Josh Soley of Maine Realty Advisors, trying to find property that could be rehabbed or redeveloped for housing. 

"This came up," Green said. 

The team submitted a bid and found out this week that it had been accepted.

Much of the groundwork had been done by the previous development group, which had attained historic tax credits and gone through the planning board process. 

In the meantime, they'd already been lining up partners.

They're working with a financing consultant. For design, Marshall and Green are working with Portland-based Invivid Architecture, which is led by Virginie Stanley.

In previous projects, Marshall and Green have worn the general contractor hat. In this case, they will work with a contractor used to projects of this size, though the process of finding a contractor has not started yet. 

A historic — and old — property

File Photo / James McCarthy
Portland's historic Time & Temperature building.

The Time & Temp building is a Portland icon. It sits on Monument Square. As one of the tallest buildings on the highest part of downtown, it is visible not only in the downtown but also from I-295 and the Back Cove area. 

The Chapman Building, as it was originally known, dates to 1924 and had an indoor shopping center on the ground floor and served as headquarters for Casco Bank for some time. The time and temperature sign was added to the rooftop in 1964 and was grandfathered in to get around a ban on billboards.

In addition to the time and temperature, the illuminated sign has carried advertising and public service announcements.

By various accounts, the century-old building is showing its age on the interior, which is vacant. It will likely need extensive upgrades to heating and cooling systems and other components. It was last renovated in 1996, in an effort led by the Libra Foundation. TT Maine Ventures, led by Chris Rhoades and Drew Preston, acquired the property in 2018 for $9.3 million

Green and Marshall know they'll face a daunting task getting the building back in shape. 

Construction costs have not come down since the pandemic, but they have stabilized.

"It's more predictable now," Marshall said. Higher costs are "the new reality of construction." 

Green added, "Prices are more stable now. You can get a quote that's good for several months."

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