Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Let’s do this.
What we’re talking about
A million-dollar view, more or less, is among the offerings of a new condominium complex planned for Portland’s East End.
The developer of a building proposed for 180 Washington Ave. is hoping to sell the top-floor condominium for at least $949,000. But despite Portland’s surging housing market, condos that have sold for close to $1 million have been relatively rare.
Only six Portland condos have sold for $900,000 or more in the last five years, according to state real estate records. There are another four condos on the market at or above that price, according to listings on Zillow.com. But as the city struggles to accommodate growing demand for housing that has outpaced supply and spiked the cost of rentals, developers suggest that million-dollar condos may become more common.
“The housing demand in Portland has been pent up for so long that you’re really seeing the confluence of two demand cycles: the present one and the demand from before the markets crashed [in 2007],” said Portland real estate attorney Patrick Venne, who is working as a consultant on the Washington Avenue project.
Emblematic of the dramatic post-recession upswing in Portland’s housing market is the city’s most expensive condo ever: a second-floor, seven-room home overlooking Casco Bay. Last November, luxury property company LandVest sold the two upper floors of the building at 130 Eastern Promenade for $1.7 million, or $892 per square foot.
At the time of sale, LandVest employee Karen Reiche told Mainebiz that this price more than doubled the previous record for dollars per foot on the Portland peninsula. Just a few years earlier, The Bollard had featured the building in its column about local “dump[s].”
The majority of Portland’s $1 million-plus condos have come with a view of the water, but around the other side of the peninsula’s eastern tip, the Maine Modern Development building proposed for Washington Avenue will also feature more “affordable” housing (the firm used quotation marks when referring to it as “affordable”). The preliminary price for the bottom-floor, 525-square-foot studio condo is $199,000. — Jake Bleiberg
Here’s another sign of Maine’s slow economic recovery — Darren Fishell breaks down one measure of how slow Maine has been to bounce back from the recession: “Researchers with the Pew Charitable Trusts found Maine was one of 21 states where tax revenue continued to lag the most recent peak, which it hit in 2007, adjusting for inflation.”
The BDN editorial board weighs in on Fazeli — “[Adnan] Fazeli’s story is troubling, but it does not suggest there is a widespread danger of Muslim radicalization in Maine. It should not be used to demonize and target new Americans or to close our borders on a group of people seeking to escape violence and persecution.”
National group calls for feds and state to investigate threat against Westbrook Muslims — MPBN reports: “Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says threats against refugees are especially cruel. ‘It really is disturbing that people who have fled, in many cases, from violence and threats of violence, would be subjected to similar threats here in America.’”
Meanwhile, Westbrook police said this afternoon that they still did not have suspects after pieces of paper reading, “All Muslims are Terrorists should be killed,” were found outside the Westbrook Pointe Apartment complex.
The Big Idea
The robot revolution is nigh — People in Pittsburgh will be able to hail self-driving Ubers in the next few weeks, which of course brings to mind this scene from the classic 1990 film “Total Recall.” The LA Times reports: “The San Francisco-based ride-hailing company will start ferrying Pittsburgh passengers in self-driving cars in the next several weeks. It’s also teaming up with Volvo on vehicles that can incorporate the latest autonomous-driving technology, and it’s acquiring Otto, a start-up that has been looking to develop self-driving trucks.”
RELATED: Gawker (which, BTW, will stop publishing next week) says it’s time for people who drive for a living to start looking for new careers. Also: “Universal basic income is going to look like an increasingly attractive idea as the number of angry, unemployed automation victims goes up.”
Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet @dsmacleod.
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