The Feb. 6 article about the two luxury condominium complexes on Franklin Street neglects to point out that, although the buildings face Franklin, access to the buildings is from the Hampshire Street side of the buildings.

Combined with the recently completed Luminato building, the Verdante project would more than double the number of housing units – and thus cars – on Hampshire Street, adding a total of 55 new units and two commercial spaces. This would radically change this street of mostly residential buildings, many designated as of historical interest in the India Street Historic District and all providing affordable housing for Portland.

The height and facade of the proposed Verdante building are completely out of character with the surrounding architecture and would drive a wedge between the East End, the India Street Historic District and Lincoln Park and the historic buildings along Congress Street. This is a terrible mistake for the East End, adding further to redevelopment mistakes of the past, such as the destruction of buildings to create Franklin Arterial, thus cutting off the East End from the rest of the city. Now a wall of six-story buildings on Franklin Street would further divide the East End from the rest of the city.

Disregarding the buildings of the India Street Historic District, the Verdante high-rise will enclose the Victorian building at 60-62 Hampshire St. completely on two sides, making this possibly the only historic building in Portland enclosed within the L shape and shadow of a looming six-story building, with certain adverse effects to a brick building that has had sunlight and air on its walls since it was built in 1867.

A much more appropriate building for this historic area would be a four-story brick structure with at least some affordable housing.

Judith Allen


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