Portland Foreside, almost ten acres of valuable waterfront property on Munjoy Hill, has several projects underway simultaneously. For a long time, progress on the redevelopment of the property was not visible. But lots of behind the scenes work was conducted. But that has changed now.
A powerful excavator has been chipping away at the brick on building 1 seen in the above photo since last week. Only a skeleton of the building remains and according to Lee Follett, Superintendent for Consigli, it will take another month or so to totally demolish the building. The brick is gone and the steel framework is still standing.
Building 1 was built in 1918. It’s construction replaced earlier versions of building 1 that were smaller in scale, constructed with wood and used as the Erecting Shop by the Portland Company. The earlier versions of building 1 were built in 1871 and 1880. The last locomotive produced by the Portland Company Complex was in 1906 so that production occurred prior to the construction of the current version of building 1 in 1918. Earlier versions of building 1 functioned as the last phase of the manufacturing process, from the Foundry to the Machine Shop to the Erecting Shop where assembly could take place on tracks to then be transferred to the Grand Trunk Rail Yard according to information provided by Kevin Costello, managing partner, of the property. The current building is also located in front of arguably the most historically significant structure on the site, being building 2, Machine Shop, one of the first buildings built by John A. Poor and the Portland Company in 1847 Costello concluded in his description of the building.
The disassembling of building 12 is ongoing and is about 10% complete according to Follett. It will take another month to complete that work. Bricks removed from 12 are being stored in building 2. That’s where several Consigli employees are going over each brick – cleaning and sorting them for reassembling them in time. Eventually, the building will be reassembled in another location closer to the water. In a surprise statement, Follett said that 100% of the century year old bricks will be reused. (See two photos above).
Meanwhile, on the waterfront Cianbro is still putting in docks to accommodate 150 slips for the new marina. According to one source, a few of those slips are expected to be ready for use by May 15th. Cianbro is in the process of “setting anchor blocks” according to an engineer. Concrete docks are used as “wave attenuators” to calm the waters in the docking area. It is expected that the dock will extend 500 ft. out into the Harbor and extend 1,000 ft. across or perpendicular.
Buildings 30 and 11 will be the next ones to be demolished.
“When the roofs go and the windows go, the old buildings get an infiltration of the outside world – birds, plants, and the sea air will eventually destroy these old buildings if they are not maintained,” said Brian Palmer of Wells. He was walking along the temporary road beside the demolished area earlier this week. The temporary dirt road is positioned where building 7 once stood and is hard to locate! They have stood mostly vacant and unmaintained for years except for an annual boat show and flower show produced by the Phin Sprague, Jr. family.
Please see two posts here for more background information; April 3 and April 19, 2019.