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Updated: July 29, 2020

New Portland condo project targets middle-income market

Courtesy / Architectural Image Solutions Seen here is an architectural rendering of the Goodwin condominium development at 104 Grant St. in Portland. The design borrows from neighboring buildings that feature porches, balconies and staggered facades.

Developers of a new $6.6 million condominium project are looking to provide an affordable home-ownership option on Portland’s pricey peninsula.

Renewal Housing Associates and Tom Watson & Co. received final permit approvals for the development, the Goodwin, which will be at 104 Grant St. in Portland's Parkside neighborhood.

The project is planned to feature 23 one- and two-bedroom condominiums priced between $200,000 and the high $300,000s, according to a news release.

Those prices are below Portland's 2019 average condominium sales price of $444,000, Todd Alexander, a partner at Renewal and the project’s lead developer, said in the release.

“In our view, the single greatest housing need in Portland is home ownership opportunities — particularly on the peninsula — that are affordable to everyday Portland-area residents and workers,” he said in the release. He said the development would "address this underserved market.”

The project is financed with a conventional construction loan of  $4.25 million through Gorham Savings Bank; a tax increment financing agreement with the city of Portland that will support a subordinate construction loan from Genesis Community Loan Fund of $1.05 million; a MaineHousing grant of $270,000; and developer equity.

Other team members include Ryan Senatore Architecture, Hebert Construction, Acorn Engineering, Federle Law, Marsden Real Estate and All Over It Creative Vision + Design.

The project is named for William A. Goodwin, a Portland civil engineer who in 1879 prepared the initial design for Deering Oaks, a short walk from the property.

The project will begin with the demolition of a single-story industrial building — the former office of Port Property Management, Watson’s apartment management company.

Construction is expected to start this fall. A planned 12-month construction schedule is contingent on buyer interest and secured reservations. The team started listing units last week; there’s already one reservation.


Courtesy / Renewal Housing Associates
The current building at 104 Grant St. takes up the entire property. The Goodwin will be sited at the front, with parking behind.

Third Maine project

Tom Watson & Co. is a multifamily housing developer and owner.

Renewal is a multifamily housing development company based in Portland, according to its website. Its principle business is renovating and preserving affordable housing properties that require capital improvements and new long-term affordability restrictions. 

Renewal is led by its two principals, Alexander and David Lakari. Lakari founded Renewal with Wilmington, Del.-based Leon N. Weiner & Associates Inc. in 2001. Before that, Lakari was executive director of the Maine State Housing Authority from 1994 to 1999 and served on the board of the National Council of State Housing Agencies. He holds a law degree from the University of Maine.

Alexander has worked as a multifamily housing developer since 2003. He is a former board president for Community Housing of Maine and the Downtown Portland Corp. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Colby College and a master’s in urban planning from Cornell University.

Although based in Portland, Renewal worked primarily in Ohio and other states besides Maine, Alexander told Mainebiz.

The company shifted its attention to Portland a few years ago, with the development of West Port Lofts, completed in 2017 in partnership with Portland developer Random Orbit. The project created eight condominium units on the site of a former foreclosed house and vacant lot, located at 22 Tate St. in Portland’s West End neighborhood.

That was followed by  a 12-condo affordable home ownership project called Onejoy and located at 1 Joy Place, also in the West End neighborhood. The one-bedroom units were priced to target middle-income Portland residents who make between 100% and 130% of the area’s median income level with prices starting at $202,000 for small units ranging from 515 to 704 square feet.

The Goodwin is their third Maine project.

“As we looked at the market, the greatest unmet need is for affordable home ownership,” said Alexander. “I was focused on the Portland peninsula, where there’s the least amount of affordable home ownership opportunities. We’re trying to provide housing for folks at the median income level. The housing that would normally be available to meet the needs of middle-income households and first-time home buyers just wasn’t there.”

The smaller size of the units, along with efficient design and not a lot of wasted space, helps to keep the purchase price down, he explained.

“We call our units small but sexy,” he said. “That’s the value proposition for our buyers. They can get the amenities they want in the location they want and the quality they want. They have to sacrifice something, and that means sacrificing square footage.”

The average unit size is more than 665 square feet. Eights units are 755 square feet and include a porch, as well as extra flex space that can be used as a home office, den or guest room. All units feature air conditioning, hardwood floors, quartz countertops, stainless-steel appliances, an in-unit washer/dryer and storage.

Courtesy / Architectural Image Solutions
The average unit size is more than 665 square feet and amenities feature air conditioning, hardwood floors and tall ceilings.

The project is designed to exceed Portland’s Green Building Code.  There will be secure bike storage room to support car-free homeownership.

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