Three new development projects – estimated to cost more than $16.5 million – are expected to bring new condos, apartments and offices to Portland’s East End in the coming months.

All three were unanimously approved Tuesday by the Planning Board, clear evidence of the continuing construction boom in that part of the city.

Redfern Properties received approvals for up to 53 market-rate apartments in a four-story building at 85 Anderson St. in East Bayside, an up-and-coming neighborhood that is attracting new businesses and residents; while Bateman Partners received approvals for a five-story office building on Middle Street and a four-story condominium complex on Fore Street.

Planning Board Chairman Stewart O’Brien said the projects represent “significant milestones.”

“Redfern being a neighborhood infill project which is comprised of non-subsidized ‘workforce’ rental units,” O’Brien said in an email Wednesday. “Middle (Street) is the first standalone office/commercial mixed-use project in a long while. Seeing new office being proposed is a good sign for the Portland market.”

Jonathan Culley, of Redfern Properties, said his $6.5 million project is fully financed. Construction is expected to begin in July and is projected to be finished by June 2016, he said. The building will include studio apartments, as well as one and two bedroom apartments. Rents would start at $1,050 for a studio and include parking, Culley said. “Redfern Properties is excited to be building in East Bayside,” Culley said in an email Wednesday. “We expect that the 53 new residential apartments as well as a restaurant and retail space will add to an already diverse and dynamic neighborhood.”

Culley said he is still looking for restaurant and retail tenants that “fit well into the neighborhood.”

Nathan Bateman, vice president of Bateman Partners, said his company plans to first begin construction on the four-story, eight-unit condo building at 185 Fore St., where sales prices start at $450,000. Bateman said that prices for a penthouse condo with rooftop decks and water views are fetching $1.5 million.

Construction is expected to start in July and take 10 months to complete, he said, noting that construction on the five-story office building at 16 Middle St. would soon follow. Both buildings are estimated to cost $10 million to construct, he said.

“We are incredibly excited to start work on both of these projects,” Bateman said in an email Wednesday. “These projects are one more piece towards completing the vision for this neighborhood and are happy to be part of it.”

The projects at Fore and Middle streets are the latest in a flurry of development projects in the city’s India Street Neighborhood. The 86-unit Bay House condos were recently completed on Newbury Street and the Seaport Lofts is currently under construction. When finished, the Seaport Lofts will add seven townhouses and 32 more units to Newbury Street.

At 58 Fore St., meanwhile, developers are seeking a zone change from the City Council to facilitate the redevelopment of the former Portland Co. complex, so it can include residences, restaurants and retail. The council is expected to take up that request, which is drawing neighborhood opposition, at its June 1 meeting.

O’Brien said the board was particularly impressed with Redfern’s willingness to work with the East Bayside neighborhood to improve the project, which will replace a former auto shop. In the end, Redfern agreed to work with the Telling Room, a nonprofit writing center for young writers between the ages of 6 and 18, to provide poetry for the artistic screening along Fox Street for the surface parking lot.

“That project is certainly a change for that area but by the end both the Board and the community members, who had been most involved in the process, felt it will be a successful addition,” he said. “The proposed collaboration with the Telling Room on the design of the screening on Fox is an especially creative approach.”


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