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May 27, 2021

Plans for Portland 18-story apartment building, Maine's tallest, get green light

downtown portland, looking up temple street, with tall building rendered in background Courtesy / Redfern Properties, Ryan Senatore Architecture A rendering, looking north up Temple Street in Portland, shows the planned 18-story apartment building, in the background at right, across from One City Center and from the Temple Street Parking Garage.

Construction of what could be Maine’s tallest building and the state’s first high-rise in over a decade received approval Tuesday night from the Portland Planning Board.

The board unanimously OK’d site plans to construct an 18-story apartment building in downtown Portland, a $50 million project that would bring 263 units of much-needed housing to the city.

Landry/French Construction, based in Scarborough, will serve as construction manager. Work is expected to begin by September on the site, at 200 Federal St., and to be complete in late 2023.

Plans for the building required a zoning change earlier this year to allow the top 40 feet of the 190-foot structure to be used for residences and other purposes. Previously, the city’s code allowed a building of that height, but only with an “architectural cap” containing mechanical equipment or to enhance design.

In April, the project also received a required approval from the Portland Historic Preservation Board. At Tuesday’s Planning Board meeting, developer Jonathan Culley of Redfern Properties LLC said some architectural modifications will be made in response to give the base of the building a “more traditional” look.

With the Planning Board’s 7-0 vote, Culley is ready to begin seeking building permits.

When topped off, 200 Federal will contain studio, one- and two-bedrooms apartments, primarily market-rate, with rents between $1,200 and $2,200, according to Culley. There also will be two ground-floor commercial spaces, 180,000 square feet of space overall, and an 18th-floor “sky lounge” for residents, with views he described as “phenomenal” in a March interview with Mainebiz.

Among its other distinctions, 200 Federal would be the third-tallest building of any kind in Maine, and the state’s tallest building when measured without architectural caps such as spires. The current holder of that title is another Portland apartment complex, Franklin Towers, which stands 175 feet high.

The highest and second-highest buildings of any kind in Maine both were constructed with church spires. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, across the street from Franklin Towers, rises 204 feet. The Agora Grand Events Center, originally St. Patrick’s Church in Lewiston, is 220 feet tall.

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