PORTLAND – A four-story, mixed-use development that would bring dozens of upscale apartments to the West End is scheduled to go before the Planning Board later this month.
Redfern LWS LLC is proposing 39 apartments — with monthly rents ranging from $1,300 to $2,500 — in a 43-foot-tall building at the corner of Pine and Brackett streets. The project, West End Place, would include two ground-floor retail units and an internal parking garage.
“These are upscale, professional-class apartments,” said Jonathan Culley, a principal with Redfern. “The housing stock in Portland is tired and we see a real market demand for new, modern, energy-efficient rental apartments.”
Culley said the building, which would include solar panels and a rooftop deck, would be built to LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — standards.
The Planning Board will hold a public hearing Feb. 26. If the project is approved, Culley said, construction on West End Place will begin in early summer and the building will open in late spring 2014.
Last fall, the city’s Historic Preservation Board endorsed the project, which is in the West End historic district. In addition to refining the design, the board approved the demolition of two dilapidated buildings on the property.
Through the course of four workshops, the board worked with the developer to reduce the building height and break up the exterior design of the building so it would blend in better with the neighborhood, said Deb Andrews, the city’s Historic Preservation Program manager.
“At the conclusion of the review process, the board was pleased with the project and felt it would be compatible and a very positive addition to the neighborhood,” Andrews said.
Rosanne Graef, president of the West End Neighborhood Association, complimented the developers for communicating with residents early in the process and being responsive to their concerns.
“They were very responsive to our group’s concerns about the massiveness of the facade,” Graef said. “It’s going to be a big change, but they’ve gone about it in the right way.”
Redfern originally proposed a modern-looking building, but through the course of the historic preservation review process, the design became more “timeless,” Culley said. “We feel good about the design,” he said.
At a neighborhood meeting hosted by the developers late last year, a few residents expressed concerns about parking.
The city code requires 39 parking spots for a development of that size, but developers are proposing only 34 spaces. Redfern is seeking a waiver for the number of parking spaces, and the width of each space.
In its application to the city, the developers noted the site’s proximity to Metro bus routes. It also provided a series of articles noting that cities with fewer parking requirements are often the most vibrant, and that smaller vehicles are becoming the norm.
Culley said Friday that he is planning to designate a parking spot in front of the development for a car-sharing program.
The West End Neighborhood Association has previously expressed concern over parking waivers for restaurants. Graef said that has not been a concern with this project, since some residents will likely not have vehicles.
Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at: