Roux Institute ‘Creep’ Leaves Many Untrusting of Its End Game at Meeting


Charles Hewitt, of IDEALS, Facilitated the Meeting.

Presumably this Fomer Baked Bean Plant is 1 Beanpot Circle to Which This Meeting Refers.

The gap between the proposed Roux Institute at 1 Bean Pot Circle and area residents is deep as demonstrated at a neighborhood meeting required by the city of Portland a week ago today.  The purpose of the meeting was to explain the justification for a zoning change request – from an industrial zone to an urban zone with an educational overlay according to Charles Hewitt, of IDEALS, who facilitated the meeting attended by about 100 interested neighbors. The meeting was held at the Ocean Avenue Elementary School cafeteria. Following a brief overview by Hewitt, the floor was opened up to questions.

The B&M Cannery site was not the first choice for the Roux Institute campus.  The site had been considered, but dismissed back in 2020 because it was not in the Old Port and because the main building was not deemed suitable for its purposes.  Other properties were considered off peninsula and offers from Roux turned down.  So Roux developers circled back and closed on the 13 acre waterfront site just last month – March of 2022.

The hope according to Hewitt is to break ground in 18 months.  “The WEX facility was a landing place.  We never intended it to be permanent,” Hewitt said. of Roux’s current space on Munjoy HIll’s Eastern Promenade.

Roux plans to build a hotel that was the subject of concern  by many.  An IDEALS employee, Steve, reluctantly admitted that the hotel would be open to the public, following repeated questioning on the subject.  “Knock it off, it’s not appropriate,” said one attendee.  “Build neighborhood trust.  We don’t need hotels.” Since traffic – egress from the property in particular – was a major concern, the developer was challenged not to build a hotel in order to lessen the traffic flow.

Concerns were expressed about building  heights on the site.  They will include some of the tallest buildings in the state according to one meeting participant. Another meeting participant said that the “height and scale do not respect the neighborhood.” He pointed out that other college campuses in the area do not have buildings reaching such heights – why Roux?

Roux Creep was a concern at the meeting.  A graduate of Northeastern University, Becca, said that “the history of Northeastern with its neighbors is not great.  It took over Roxbury.  I have a hard time trusting the corporation  I don’t trust that this property will be enough.  I don’t trust Northeastern for stopping expansion when you say you will,” she said.  (There is much on-line about Northeastern’s less than popular recent expansion into Roxbury).

Josh said that in the last ten years Portland has come under “economic occupation.”  “The people I want to speak for those who have left.  They can’t afford to live here.”  Chris Reilly, an architect said “This isn’t a nice use of this space.”

“Would you proceed with the project as a scaled back version?” asked one woman at the meeting.  “No.  Northeastern would not have an interest in that,” answered Hewitt.

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 5:30 pm.  This blogger left the meeting just after 7:30 pm and the meeting was still in progress,, although with fewer attendees than initially attended.

One member of the audience requested that at future public meetings, city staff attend.  This blogger remembers that under a past director of the planning office it was said that a city staff member would attend such meetings for complicated projects.  Certainly this project would qualify under that description, but perhaps the department has a short memory.

Meanwhile, a remote workshop on the nomination of the B&M Cannery Building at 1 Bean Pot Circle as an “individually-designated Landmark” will be held on Wednesday, April 20, at 5:00 pm.  Public comment will be taken and written comments may be submitted to  This matter is the third on the agenda, although it can change as well.

Please contact Deb Andrews, Historic Preservation Program Manager by phone at 207 – 874-8726 or email her at: