201 Federal Street, at the corner of Temple and Federal streets in the Old Port, is topped out. The windows are in and the cladding, for the most part, is installed. This seems like a good time to say that I am not sure I could be more underwhelmed by the finished product. I will give the builders credit for building what the renders showed; that rarely happens. That being said, I don’t believe this is anything the developers, the architects or the city of Portland should be particularly “proud” of.

It is the tallest building in Maine, they tell us. You sure would not know it from looking at it. Nothing on the exterior expresses the verticality. The vertical elements that are there do not span the entire height. What is expressed are horizontal elements that give a Lego quality to it all.

The Federal Street level facades are out of scale to the street. I am at a loss as to why something other than brick wasn’t chosen for the cladding of these levels. This selection, or lack thereof, has left a monotonous feel to the street. Even some granite would have livened the appearance and connected the street levels to the historic character of the neighborhood.

This building had real potential to bring some new life into Portland’s built environment. I personally feel it was an opportunity missed. What the city has now is a dull, large building that will dominate the neighborhood in a less than pleasant manner.

Darren McLellan
Cape Elizabeth

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