March 24, 2019
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Developer proposes nearly 300 housing units on Rufus Deering property in Portland

PORTLAND, Maine — A developer wants to build apartments and condominiums on the site of a lumber company that recently closed after operating for more than 150 years.

Initial plans submitted to the city on behalf of a high-end property group propose erecting three six-story buildings on the historic Rufus Deering Lumber Co. lot between Maple, Commercial, High and York streets. Proposed by Reger Dasco Properties, the mixed-use development would include more than 250,000 square feet of residential space and 380 parking spots.

The proposal is the latest in a line of large-scale, up-market projects that aim to capitalize on the housing crunch that has caused Portland rents to spike and placed pressure on low- and middle-income residents in recent years.

The development would likely include 275 to 300 condominiums for sale and apartments for rent, with units retailing for between $200,000 to $1 million, depending on size, developer Joe Dasco told the Portland Press Herald.

The paper previously reported that Rufus Deering decided to sell the property after 162 years in business because the land had become too valuable.

Renderings of the proposed development by Archetype Architects show three concave brick buildings with retail on the ground floors and courtyards in between. The development would be built in three phases, according to the plan submitted to the city. The developer must first seek approval from the Historic Preservation Board, which will review the project next Wednesday.

Like the 600-unit development proposed for the former Portland Co. complex on the eastern waterfront, this project near the western waterfront would be big enough to trigger Portland’s so-called inclusionary zoning ordinance.

The regulation requires that 10 percent of the units in development of 10 units or more be affordable to middle-income households — approximately $78,000 a year for a family of four.

Developers can buy out of this requirement by paying $100,000 to the city for each affordable unit not built. That money is put into a fund used to incentivise the construction of other affordable housing.


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