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New use considered for historic Portland office high-rise

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People’s United Bank Building, 467 Congress St., Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

A landmark Portland skyscraper filled with office and commercial space for more than a century, it may have a future as a residential area.

The People’s United Bank Building at 467 Congress Street overlooking Monument Square was sold to two out-of-state real estate investment groups in June 2019.

But the owner – The Alta property, located in the capital cities of Newton, Massachusetts and the Connecticut River in Lebanon, New Hampshire, now has another use in mind for the 10-story building, according to documents. It was submitted to the city’s Historic Preservation Commission last month. The developer has outlined plans for 56 one- and two-bedroom residential units on floors two through ten. People’s United Bank, acquired earlier this year and now known as M&T Bank, will remain on the ground floor.

The owners are proposing to build a new 140-foot-tall staircase at the rear of the building to comply with building code requirements for residential use, which requires Preservation Board approval. The Historic Preservation staff writes that repurposing the upper floors is “the most viable avenue for owners.”Building renovations are at least partially funded by historic tax credits.

When Alta and Connecticut River purchased the property, they envisioned significant upgrades to the lobby, elevators, exterior and ventilation system to serve a niche in the market for high-end office space at an affordable price. .

But now that vision may be changing.

Connecticut River Capital principal Jeff Cora said owners are still looking for commercial tenants, but that progress has been slowed by the pandemic.

Of course, we are also aware of the urgent need for additional housing in Portland and the related concern that the current housing shortage … may be impacting the momentum of economic development efforts,” he said. I was. “So, with the city and other local partners, we are also assessing the feasibility of housing using parts of the building, but those efforts are still in the very early stages.”

The developer will submit plans for the stairs to the board on Wednesday.

Built in 1909, the building is on the Portland Landmarks Register and was the city’s first “skyscraper.” It stands opposite Preble Street, another landmark. A building of time and temperature that is being redeveloped as a luxury hotel.

A few blocks away on Federal Street, developers are planning construction. tallest building in maine, is an 18-storey building complex offering ground floor commercial space and 266 apartments. Of these, 27 will be reserved for affordable housing.

The People’s United Bank Building has changed owners several times over the years and was formerly known as the Fidelity Trust Company Building.this Luxurious details include a marble-accented lobby with vaulted ceilings and columns, limestone exterior decorative accents, and expansive views.

“The importance of this building rests not only on its original novelty, but also on the excellence of[architect George Henri]Desmond’s design,” the Portland Historic Resources Inventory wrote in conference materials. “It is still a key feature of Portland’s skyline and an important visual anchor for Monument Square, which documents the city’s commercial history,” it wrote.

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