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November 15, 2021

East End carbon-conscious project breaks ground

Courtesy / Benchmark Real Estate Solaris, pictured here, will feature a solar farm, organic gardens and electric car charging.

Solaris, a carbon-conscious condominium development that broke ground in Portland this week, will feature a rooftop solar farm, organic gardens and electric car charging.

The seven units include six units that are 1,450 square feet each and one workforce-priced unit that is 724 square feet. The development is at 130 Morning St. on Portland's East End.

Four units are already under contract and two others are listed at $1.495 million. The workforce-price unit has not yet been listed. Occupancy is expected in the fall of 2022. 

“Is there a market for this that is both aspirational and inspirational? It’s a very ambitious, world-class building,” said Tom Landry, developer and owner of Benchmark Real Estate. “This is my opus. This is the extension of what I’ve been working on for my entire life.”

The units also feature super insulated, triple pane windows, environmentally friendly building materials, and air exchange systems.

Tom Landry
Courtesy / Benchmark Real Estate
Tom Landry

“In the development world, people often chase after the shiny stuff. Granite countertops, nice appliances. That’s not the legacy I want. I want to build the buildings we should be building now, not 20 or 50 years down the road,” Landry said.

Landry said the project has attracted environmental early adopters, some from other metropolitan areas that have seen buildings like this in their locales and escaping drought or some other climate change and want superior buildings in Portland.

“They have the electric car already, so the charging works for them. But they’re making a conscientious decision to live in a place that is carbon conscious,” Landry said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the project. The number of units dropped to seven from nine to change shared-space configurations, more outdoor decks were added, and more advanced air exchange systems were used, he said. 

The Solaris project has been in the works for three years and was approved by the city planning board about two years ago. Developing another project like this in the East End of Portland would be very difficult due to the historic district and other zoning restrictions put in place, Landry said.

“We’re committed to Portland. We will take this learning and drive costs down and make it more affordable for high net worth to people in the workforce,” Landry said.

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