42 Atlantic Street Developer Engages with Neighbors at Required Meeting Last Night


ThIs Proposed New Rental Building was Met With Mixed Reactions at a Required Public Meeting Last Night at The Hill Arts on Munjoy Hill.

The Hill Arts, 76 Congress Street, Where the Neighborhood Meeting Was Held Last Night.

A Proposal for the Redevelopment of 42 Atlantic Street on Munjoy Hill .was the Subject of a Required Meeting Last Night at The Hill Arts.  The Top Two Floors of the Building were Removed in the 1970s According to Someone at the Meeting Last Night.

Developer Dan Black, a Hill Residenet, Who Wants to Restore Some of the Diversity Lost in Recent Years to Gentrification.

About fifty (50) neighbors of 42 Atlantic Street met with Developer Dan Black and his team last night to learn about very preliminary plans for the redevelopment of the former VFW  Bar, that came up for sale last year.  The proposed 26 units of affordable housing aimed at low-incme renters are bordered by Gilbert Lane on one side.

This high density development is allowed under LD 2003, legislation enacted recently to encourage housing to alleviate its severe shortage in Maine.  Black, an experienced developer who lives on Munjoy Hill, said he wants to preserve housing for a diverse population.  Housing for that diverse population has significantly eroded in recent years because of gentrification.   Affordable housing on the Hill has been famously replaced with high-end condominiums and by out-of-state owners..

The lack of affordabale housing has  added to the homeless population in Portland that has exploded in recent years. Previously, this R6 zone in which this building is located would have permitted the development of a mere thirteen (13) units on this site.  At the meeting, Black, who is a statewide developer,  said this proposal would include 54 bedrooms in the four-story building that is  42 feet high – just below the 45 foot height limit.

In the brief presentation by Kyle Barker of Primary Projects, a Massachusetts based firm, he acknowledged that there would be no on-site parking or backyard for tenants of the building.

Those admissions by the development team sparked concerns by the sophisticated group of neighbors.  Several said bluntly that the size of the building was “out of scale” and “violates the rules of the historic district” in which it is located.  Because of the lack of on-site parking several expressed concern about the street parking on Atlantic Street.  Several with driveways in which to park their vehicles and those of their renters, said they had  no on-street parking concerns.  It was noted that there is no bus service on Atlantic Street; the nearest bus stop is at the corner of North and Congress Streets.

Black acknowledged that 42 Atlantic Street will be a big building.  “I don’t want to diminish that,” he said.  “Some decisions can’t be made yet because we need feedback from the Historic Preservatdion Board.”  Developer Black and his team will be meeting with the Historic Preservation Board at city hall for a 5;00 pm workshop this afternoon.  At the very earliest, construction could start in April of 2025 Black speculated in response to a question from one of those in attendance. The Major Site Plan application will be filed with the city’s planning office in early April 2024.

“These are people we really need in our community,” said long-time Atlantic Street resident Markos Miller.  “This is the kind of housing we need here.  This developer has even added some equity for renters down the road that is very unique.   Miller is also a principal in the Franklin Street Redesign plan that recently received the unanimous approval of the Portland City Council.  One of the Redesign plan’s is to provide land for housing.

The meeting that began at 5:30 pm at The Hill Arts, 76 Congres Street, public comment was  on-going when this blogger left at 6:45 pm.

For more background information on the 42 Atlantic Street Major Site Plan Application, please visit post herein dated February 23, 2024.  For more background information on the Franklin Street Redesign Plan agreement, please visit post herein dated February 26, 2024.