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Updated: January 25, 2021 Building Business

Building Business: Former doughnut shop on the move in Freeport

Photo / Tim Greenway Freeport Historical Society is renovating the former site of Frosty’s Donuts.

The former Frosty’s Donuts in Freeport is literally on the move. Its former site, in a freestanding building just off Freeport’s Main Street, not far from the L.L.Bean flagship store, has been moved off its foundation. A new foundation has been laid, and related work is being handled by Curtis Custom Carpentry of Durham.

The building is owned by the Freeport Historical Society, which is renovating the building as part of a larger makeover of the historic Harriman house and grounds. Well before it was a doughnut shop, the building served as the stable for the Harriman family and is known as the barn. Keith McBride, economic development director for the town of Freeport, calls the historical society’s site a “jewel on Main Street.”

For now, the cedar-shingled barn is sitting on blocks in the Bean parking lot. Clayton Copp & Sons Building Movers in Cumberland Center handled the move.

The historical society’s work on what it calls the barn includes stabilizing the floor so that it can bring in a new vendor or tenant into the space. The work is part of a wider upgrade of the society’s downtown property.

The Citizen underway in Brunswick

A former single family home in Brunswick is being converted to condos. The Citizen, as the project is known, is at 36 Pleasant St. and will have eight luxury condominiums. Six of the units will be new construction, with covered parking, elevator and single-level living. The other two will be part of the renovated historic building, with covered parking, according to Brit Vitalius of Portland-based Vitalius Real Estate Group, which is handling sales.

The project will include geothermal heating and solar energy. Marcie and Steve Normand, former owners of the Brunswick Bed & Breakfast, are leading the effort. General contractor on the job is Rockport-based Penobscot Co., which worked with two Portland design firms, Ryan Senatore Architecture and landscape architect Anthony Muench. The project will be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.

A Portland developer fears chill on market-rate housing

Chip Newall, whose NewHeight Group has developed the condo buildings Luminato and Verdante at Lincoln Park, among others, said he looks to 2021 “with anticipation and curiosity.” He told Mainebiz the pandemic made construction “much more challenging.” There was demand from out-of-state buyers eager to flee cities. He is optimistic that the rollout of the vaccine will “slowly return things towards a new normal.” But, like many in the real estate industry, he’s concerned that referendums passed in Portland “will severely rock our boat.”

He was referring to rent-control measures and adoption of Green New Deal mandates that will require union labor on projects, which many developers fear will drive up costs and put market rate housing out of reach of most buyers. “While I understand that the intentions of the proponents of these referendums we’re good, I fear that the poorly conceived laws will provide major hurdles to the desire many of us share to improve the housing situation in Portland,” Newall said.

Newall expects subsidized housing developments, like Community Housing of Maine’s effort to build 100 affordable housing units at the Mercy Hospital site, will go on unaffected. But, he added, “I fear that market rate housing will grind to a halt. The additional requirements relating to inclusion rezoning will make the production of rental and for sale multi-family buildings larger than nine units in Portland virtually impossible.”

Figuring out how to work with the new rules will require “creativity and resiliency” from the development community, he says.

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