By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,167)
It’s no secret if you are paying attention, that the number of buildlig permits has increased dramatically all over the area – particularly on Munjoy Hill – this year. This fact was verified in a front page article of the “Portland Press Herald” today written by Jennifer Van Allen – “Building Permits Spike After A Cold Start.” But that’s half the story.
If you don’t know the permit statistics, no matter. All you have to do is live in the midst of all the banging and clanging early in the morning of construction crews, navigate the road closures due to truck traffic carrying building supplies to their destinations and dodge all of the traffic if you are a walker to know something is different – there’s a building boom on the Hill!
Munjoy Hill has become a desirable place to live now – in fact some prefer it over the West End with its large and stately homes where many professionals and other well-heeled folks live. Back in the day, the East End was not a place where many wanted to live. Lots of college students lived here, but that was it because it was inexpensive and close to their classrooms. It was the drug center of the area and probably the crime center as well. But that changed. The City cleaned-up the Hill. It’s ready for prime time!
The Hill is within walking distance of the Old Port, downtown, the St. Lawrence Arts Center, the superbly renovated Hilltop Superette and much more. The magnificent Eastern Promenade, the East End Beach and great restaurants such as “The Blue Spoon” are so accessible. There is simply nothing in the Greater Portland area that compares to living on the Hill.
Then why aren’t some of the brand new condos selling better than they are? It’s a fact that for the last few months, condos sales have been in a slump. Several businessmen in the industry have confirmed that condo sales are down – way down. Is this a temporary slump or a more serious glitch that indicates a condo glut? No one offers a reason why or prediction as to when it will end.
S. Donald Sussman, billionaire hedge fund owner and contributor to Democratic causes is a recent investor in “118 on Munjoy Hill” – a luxury condominium on Congress Street. Sales of these units are demonstrably slow, a slump the owners hope will reverse itself once the building is built according to a source close to the situation. The last figures mhn.com heard were that four of the twelve units have been sold, with two of them bought internally. Sussman was not one of the unit purchasers, however. He and his wife US Representataive Chellie Pingree (D) have no plans to live there
Are we in the midst of a “condo glut?” Has the condo market been saturated? Did some developers just get into the condo craze just too late? Or is it just a slump that will correct itself on its own? No one in the business wants to utter those scary words or raise the nasty question. but they are certainly lying just under the surface of many developers.
What’s next? Anyone want to rent a high-end condo that didn’t sell?