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June 2, 2021

Biz Bites: Rock Row architect isn't new to Maine; Holy Donut fills some holes

Courtesy / EYP Architects and Engineering A rendering of the cross-laminated timber retail and office building, designed by EYP Architects and Engineering, and planned for the Rock Row mixed-use development in Westbrook.

The firm that's designing the retail and office building at Rock Row, announced this week, is EYP Architects and Engineers, a national company, with offices in Boston. The building will incorporate cross-laminated timber.

The 200,000-square-foot building in the Westbrook development, as well as well as the two that make up Rock Row's medical campus, aren't EYP's first in Maine. The integrated design firm, which specializes in higher education, government, health care, and science and technology architecture, designed Jackson Lab's Ellsworth campus, renovating a former Lowe's into a 135,000-square-foot state of the art research center. It also designed Acadia National Park's new ranger station.

It is the company's first CLT building in Maine, as well as Maine's largest and first commercial building to be made from the timber product. The University of Southern Maine's new residence and campus center will also be CLT, and Avesta Housing is using CLT to build the stairwells and elevator shafts on its new 40-unit apartment building on Brighton Avenue in Portland.

CLT is an engineered wood product that's been used in Europe for more than two decades as an environmentally friendly alternative to concrete and steel. It's not produced in the Northeast, but that will change soon, when North Carolina-based LignaTerra opens its production plant opens in Lincoln, as the anchor business for the town's Maine Forest Products Innovation Park.

Mass timber construction — framing large buildings with wood products — "is gaining momentum as a viable construction method in the Northeast for many reasons – lower carbon footprint, faster construction, occupant health and wellbeing, and more," EYP says on its website.

Anyone interested in seeing more about the new building planned at Rock Row should check out the digital brochure from develper Waterstone Properties and Boulos Co., leasing agent of the 180,000 square feet of office space.

DOUGHNUT BITE: Jeff Buckwalter, CEO and co-owner of Holy Donut, told Mainebiz senior writer Renee Cordes that the company plans to open a new retail location in Arundel, which will open in August. He said the company plans to hire about 15 people for the location, which is in between Biddeford and Kennebunk, as transfer several people from Scarborough.

It'll be Holy Donut's first York County location and fourth overall. In April, it cut the ribbon on a new Auburn store, and it also has stores in Portland and Scarborough. It closed it's Exchange Street store in Portland last year, but Buckwalter told Cordes Wednesday that a new one will open up on Commercial Street, in what had been Bill's Pizza, the first week of July "if we don't encounter too many fit-up setbacks."

Holy Donut bought the 8,741-square-foot building at 1181 Portland Road (U.S. Route 1), in Arundel, from Sandy Grounds LLC. Greg Boulos, Samantha Marinko and Joseph Italiaander, all of Boulos Co., represented Holy Donut, and John Anderson, of Investcomm Commercial Group, represented Sandy Grounds.

For those who want to hear more about what Holy Donut has going on, Buckwalter is interviewed by Cordes on the June 21 episode of the Mainebiz podcast "The Day that Changed Everything."

ACKNOWLEDGING THE BROKEN GROUND: When South Portland holds the groundbreaking for the new $69.3 million South Portland Middle School this morning, it will mark the first state-funded school construction project in the city's history. 

The groundbreaking will also include a Wabanaki land acknowledgment, which is becoming more common for groundbreakings in Maine that are on land that once belonged to the Wabanaki Confederacy.

"Land acknowledgment is a simple, powerful way of showing respect and memorializing the spirit of the people who were originally here," Maria Girouard, executive director of Wabanaki REACH wrote in a December blog post. "It is a step toward correcting stories and practices that have erased Indigenous people’s history and culture. It is a step toward inviting and honoring the truth — truth-telling."

Girouard said it's good, but not necessary, to work with Wabanaki members to craft a sincere land acknowledgement, as the University of Maine did. What's more important is to make sure it's meaningful, and not just a checkmark on an event program. She said ideally, a land acknowledgement reflects "intent, purpose and commitment to action."

"This gets people thinking what is it that they can do," Girouard wrote. She said that those crafting such acknowledgements should do their work  — "What was the original name of the place? What did it mean? Are there issues affecting the land and waterways of Wabanaki, the place we all now call home? Is there something you can do to steward these ancient relatives? To be in right relation with the land and its original peoples? At the same time that you are reflecting, don’t lose sight of its purpose — to acknowledge the land and the original stewards. There is no need for an epic history lesson in doing so."

NEW EDWARD LITTLE HIGH: Auburn officially broke ground May 22 on the new Edward Little High School. The 280,000-square-foot building is expected to be completed in time for the 2023-24 school year. A.C. Dudley, of Standish, is the general contractor and the architect and engineer is Harriman Associates, of Auburn.

At $104.7 million, it's the most expensive school built in Maine to date. It's being built on the 56-acre campus that houses the current high school, which was built in 1961. 

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