REAL ESTATE AND DEVELOPMENT: Bayside developer considering options

The developer of a massive residential and retail development that could transform the Bayside neighborhood and ease Portland’s housing crunch is mulling conditions set by the city’s Planning Board, which gave the project’s site plan unanimous approval Tuesday if the developer adjusts the design.

The board took issue with aspects of the plan, including the monolithic nature of the project’s largest building and the cornices on its rooftop, as well as the exterior material used on the ground floor of another. Patrick Venne, who was representing developer The Federated Cos., said the developer will review the conditions.

The project is planned for 3.5 acres along Somerset Street between Pearl and Elm streets where three six-story buildings with 445 market-rate apartments and an 800-space parking garage will be built with retail space on the first floors of all four structures. The developer will have to return to the Planning Board with a new design before starting construction. Read the story here.

Senior housing complex sold

The Highlands of Topsham, one of the largest and oldest retirement communities of its kind in Maine, was sold Feb. 27 to a private investment group that specializes in senior living communities and health care-related ventures. Sea Coast Management, the largest developer of senior living communities in Maine, sold The Highlands for an undisclosed sum to CPF Living Communities, a subsidiary of Chicago Pacific Founders, said John Wasileski, Sea Coast’s founder and president. The complex is home to more than 450 residents in 350 units of independent living, assisted living and memory care housing on a 75-acre campus. Sea Coast’s other properties, including Highland Green in Topsham and OceanView at Falmouth, were not part of the transaction. Read the story here.

Delay expected in Otten’s Balsams plan

A New Hampshire Senate committee on Wednesday recommended more study of a bill to provide a state-backed $28 million bond to help redevelop a storied North Country hotel, dealing a potential setback to the project’s backers. Last week, Maine businessman Les Otten, who is seeking to turn the shuttered Balsams resort into a world-class, four-season destination, told a gathering in Dixville Notch that his plan was contingent upon getting the state-backed bond. With the money in hand, he said, construction on the $143 million first phase of the project could begin in June. The committee’s vote sends the bill to the full Senate where, if it agrees with the committee, the bill would be on hold for the rest of this legislative session but could come back next year. Read the story here.

LEGAL: Lewiston lawyers win case before U.S. Supreme Court

Two lawyers from a Lewiston law firm are claiming “a major victory” after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in their client’s favor Tuesday in an online sales tax case that originated in Colorado. George Isaacson and Matthew Schaefer of Brann & Isaacson presented arguments before the nation’s highest court Dec. 8 on behalf of their client, Direct Marketing Association, which represents online retailers and data-driven marketing. DMA challenged a 2010 Colorado law that requires out-of-state retailers to report purchases from Colorado customers to the state’s revenue department. The case led to several lower court rulings and appeals, with Tuesday’s U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling reversed the appellate court decision. The case now will return to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Read the story here.

Maine investment adviser facing felony charges in Illinois

An investment adviser with ties to two well-known Maine financial firms is facing felony charges in Illinois that he defrauded clients of more than $1 million while previously running his own investment firm in Chicago. Philip E. Moriarty II, who has homes in Northeast Harbor and Scarborough, according to court records, is accused of six counts of wire fraud related to allegations that he defrauded investors of at least $1.1 million while he was the CEO of First Street Capital Partners in Chicago from 2008 to 2010 and an owner of Teton Acadia Capital Partners, which operated sporting goods stores in Jackson, Wyoming. He’s accused of misleading four investors to believe they were investing in his businesses through the use of fraudulent documentation, and then spending the funds on personal expenses. Representatives of two companies affiliated with Moriarty in Maine – Black Point Capital Management and a subsidiary of Cate Street Capital – said they had previously severed relations with Moriarty. Read the story here.

MANUFACTURING: Maine mill takes on Canadian subsidies

The Coalition for Fair Paper Imports, which includes Madison Paper in Maine, filed a petition Feb. 26 alleging that Canadian producers of supercalendered paper are unfairly benefiting from government subsidies. Madison Paper Industries has joined with a Minnesota-based producer of supercalendered paper to file a formal complaint with two U.S. government agencies against a Canadian mill that they say is hurting the U.S. market. The complaint, filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Commerce, seeks higher import duties on the special publishing paper made by Port Hawkesbury Paper in Nova Scotia. In January, more than 100 employees were temporarily laid off at Madison Paper Industries, and mill officials cited as Nova Scotia’s assistance to Port Hawkesbury as a factor, saying it enabled the rival mill to flood the market with cheaper paper. A Commerce official said the department will keep Maine’s congressional delegation informed of the status of the complaint. Read the story here.

Spring production expected for novel boot dryer

Boothbay-based Biovation II LLC plans to start production of a new product that can be inserted into wet boots to dry them quickly in the field without the use of a heat source. The product got a thumbs up from the U.S. Marine Corps, which tested DryRight for months. The product is rolled and inserted into a wet boot where its anti-microbial materials dry the boot and ensure the foot health of the wearer. The company plans to start production in April and said DryRight will be ready for shipment in June. Read the story here.

N.Y. entrepreneurs bring footwear line to Kennebunk

Two New York fashion designers launched a Kickstarter campaign in Portland Thursday to support their vision of producing ergonomic, recyclable footwear in Maine. The pair, co-founders of Soak, have signed a contract with G&G Products in Kennebunk to start production of a slide sandal for women. One founder, a fashion designer and blogger for the Huffington Post and her partner, a former fashion editor at Elle, hope to have their slides in the market this summer. Read the story here.

BUSINESS: FairPoint reports $43.6M loss

FairPoint Communications attributed a four-month-long strike and bad weather as factors in the $43.6 million loss it reported in its annual report. The North Carolina-based company, which operates the largest land-line telephone network in northern New England, said it lost $43.6 million in the final three months of 2014, compared to net income of $6.1 million during the same quarter in 2013. The company said the loss was largely due to lower revenues, higher operating expenses and a lower income-tax benefit. It also spent roughly $51 million on legal expenses in the fourth quarter for work connected to the strike. The company said its annual loss widened from $93.5 million in 2013 to $136.3 million in 2014. Read the story here.

Hannaford names new leadership

Hannaford Supermarket, the Scarborough-based grocery chain, has named the person who will take over as president when Brad Wise retires from the role June 30.

Michael Vail will succeed Wise, according to a news release from the company. Vail, a 29-year veteran of the company, is chief merchant and supply chain officer for Delhaize America, parent company of Hannaford. His roles with Hannaford have included retail management trainee, store manager, district manager, category manager and director of deli merchandising. Prior to leading the supply chain for Delhaize America, Vail was president and chief operating officer of Sweetbay Supermarkets in Florida. Read the story here.

Incentives targeted in controversial bill

A bill that would penalize Maine call centers and back-office operators if they move work overseas is headed to a work session after a public hearing that pitted business and state government interests against proponents of the bill who want to preserve jobs. The bill, LD 9, would force customer contact companies that use state incentives to locate here to pay back any tax breaks or grants they received if they move a significant amount of work offshore. The sponsors concede they know of no examples of a company doing this, but want a law to make sure it doesn’t. Meanwhile opponents say the bill has muddy language and if passed would establish a claw-back provision that is unprecedented in the state. Read the story here.