A developer of high-end housing in Portland hopes to build a large apartment building with retail space in the city’s East Bayside neighborhood, an area undergoing a dramatic transformation as new businesses and residents move in.
Redfern Properties LLC wants the city to rezone a half acre lot on Anderson Street, between Fox and Everett streets and across from Kennedy Park. It would be the first step in redeveloping the lot, located on the edge of East Bayside’s residential and industrial areas.
Redfern hopes to build a four-story, mixed-use building on the lot at 89 Anderson St., which is now home to an auto repair business, 3 G’s Tire and Auto Service. The bottom floor would feature commercial space – possibly including a restaurant on the corner of Anderson and Fox – while the upper three floors would feature up to 53 mid-level apartments, according to Redfern’s Jonathan Culley.
“We feel that there is an exciting energy in East Bayside right now, and we are committed to developing a building that enhances the current dynamic,” Culley said.
If approved by city officials, the project would signal a major shift in Portland’s housing market because Redfern plans to charge “market-rate” for all the apartments, meaning none of the units will be set aside as subsidized housing. It would be only the second new construction of market-rate apartment complex built in Portland in two decades. Another company, Developers Collaborative, is converting the former Nathan Clifford School in Oakdale into market-rate apartments that are expected to become available early next year.
The project also shows developers’ growing interest in East Bayside, which has been dominated by industry and is home to subsidized apartments operated by the Portland Housing Authority.
Culley said it was too early to discuss rents for the building, which would likely feature studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. However, Culley clarified on Wednesday that the East Bayside units will target the more “midscale” sector of the housing market than an upscale apartment building the company is building in Portland’s West End, which is expected to feature rents ranging from $1,200 to $2,500 a month.
Redfern is also building an upscale, 29-unit townhouse or condominium complex on Munjoy Hill and developed the seven-townhouse Harborview project near Portland Harbor.
The section of East Bayside where Redfern hopes to build already features a mix of residential, business and industrial buildings. The neighborhood is home to a growing number of immigrant families, primarily from African countries, living in apartment buildings. But the area also features two microbreweries, a distillery, two coffeehouses, an arts center and several small businesses. The lot is across the street from basketball courts at the edge of Kennedy Park.
“We want to embrace the vibrancy in that neighborhood,” Culley said.
The Portland Planning Board has not yet scheduled a date to review Redfern’s application to rezone the land from Residential R-6 to Community Business B-2b, which would allow a multiple-use building. If the rezoning request is endorsed by the Planning Board and approved by the City Council, the company will have to submit a development plan to the Planning Board for approval.
Redfern will hold a neighborhood meeting to discuss the project on July 16 at 6 p.m. at the company’s office, located at 178 Washington Ave. in Portland.