By Carol McCracken (Post #2,552)
About ten (10) neighbors of the proposed 30 Merrill Street condominium project attended a design workshop initiated by the architect Evan A. Carroll, bild Architects last night.
The invitation to the public came on the heels of an October 12, 2016 planning board meeting that tabled discussion, pending upgrading the architectural design of the building.Just because it may not be high-end housing, that is no justification for taking short-cuts in producing quality housing some of the neighbors believe. Numerous neighbors attended the city meeting criticizing the proposed architectural design. .
At an August 14th meeting Carroll presented plans at a required city meeting at East End Community School on Munjoy Hill. Neighbors trashed the proposal calling it an “embarrassment” and recommending that Carroll, representing Banner Properties,LLC, go back to the drawing board. Real estate developer Tom Landry is one of the partners in the LLC. Landry did not attend the August 14th meeting but did attend last night’s meeting at 30 Danforth Street. Landry,a major real estate powerhouse on the Hill, dominated the conversation much of the time. He.tried to justify LLC decisions although the meeting was billed as primarily for neighbors and their input.
And why not? Landry was the real estate agent for the p-a-i-n-f-u-l-l-y slow selling Lafayette Lofts, 33 Lafayette Street on the Hill. The inexperienced architect on in-fill projects. was the architect on the Lafayette Lofts project as well.. Neighbors are still dissatisfied with the final product – charging it does not fit in with its surroundings.
Discussions last night focused on parking issues on the Hill because the development provides for only six on site parking spaces for a seven unit building – that meets the city’s basic requirement for parking. Most of the the meeting considered the facade of the building. The small and understated front door was a source of criticism from the neighbors as well as the proportions of the windows.
Wealthy real estate developer Cyrus Hagge, a Hill resident, tried to minimize some of the issues to those present – including parking concerns. He said that the planning board just wants this “project to go away – to get rid of it.” Hagge is a former planning board member.
Architect Carroll said that he and Banner Properties LLC are still in the process of making changes to the proposal – which is expected to be completed today. The rev
ised plan needs to be filed with the City by tomorrow morning in order to appear on the planning board”s agenda on October 25, 2016.
Carroll and Adams Apple LLC (Peter Bass and Ethan B. Macomber) were the defendants in a lawsuit brought by six plaintiffs neighborhng 65 Munjoy Street; Matt Thayer spear headed the lawsuit. It was resolved this spring when Adams Apple agreed to make concessions to the poor design in exchange for having the lawsuit withdrawn.
Adams Apple was allegedly trying to minimize the amount of negative publicity surrounding the proposal for 65 Munjoy Street by negotiating the resolution of the lawsuit – rather than entering to the court room.
Please visit post # 2,531, dated September 20,2016 for more background information herein.
(editor’s note: mhn.com is a lifelong renter and opposes razing, affordable rental property and converting it into condominiums – too often out of economic reach for renters. A policy that the City of Portland appears to support.)