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August 11, 2022

Redevelopment of former Mercy Hospital in Portland clears tons of debris, uncovers history

rendering of building and patio COURTESY / REDFERN PROPERTIES, ACETO LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS A rendering shows a courtyard within the planned Mercy Hospital housing redevelopment.

Since receiving final approvals from the city of Portland a year ago, the redevelopment of Northern Light Mercy Hospital’s State Street building has been underway for some time and now has numbers to show for it.

PBC Environmental, a demolition and environmental abatement contractor, has worked for five months to take down the ambulatory wing, which included the former hospital’s emergency department and entrance, around the corner on Spring Street. 

To do so, that section was separated from the hospital's original building at 144 State St, a seven-story brick structure that dates to 1943. The removal generated 480 tons of metal and 3,668 cubic yards of concrete and masonry sent out in 312 truckloads for recycling, according to a news release.

PBC, based in Kittery, then focused on the interior of the remaining structure. That work continues and includes environmental abatement and the demolition and removal of the building’s 200,000-square-foot interior, back to the structure framing.   

“With 65-plus workers, supervisors, engineers and project managers onsite for five months, this project required focus and constant attention to detail,” said Dean Raftopoulos, PBC’s co-founder and co-principal. 

The job involved taking precautions to protect historic building elements. Throughout the process, the team uncovered previously unknown historic items such as columns and carvings from an old chapel, hidden above ceilings, in walls and under floors. The team worked said it has worked with the owners, developers, construction manager and others to surgically dismantle, expose, preserve and protect the items.

Two Portland-based real estate development firms — NewHeight Group and Redfern Properties — formed a partnership called NewHeight Redfern to carry out the project.

NewHeight Redfern hired Zachau Construction of Freeport as construction manager of the redevelopment of the hospital building. Zachau will oversee construction and hiring of subcontractors.

The redevelopment of Mercy Hospital’s old State Street campus will create 165 market-rate apartments and 95 affordable units in coordination with nonprofits Community Housing of Maine and the Portland Housing Authority, along with commercial retail and self-storage uses.

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