Maine’s Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit

by Greg Paxton, Executive Director, Maine Preservation

Historic Preservation may be the least understood major economic development strategy in Maine, bringing numerous financial benefits to the state’s communities.  Preservation drives downtown revitalization and neighborhood rehabilitation, enhances real estate markets, grows the tax bases, attracts heritage tourists and new retiree residents, and allows for a more sustainable reuse of infrastructure. But largely through historic tax credits, the understanding of preservation’s impact is growing.

The Maine Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit passed in 2008. Since then, 62 privately developed projects have been completed or are underway, investing over a third-of-a billion dollars ($335million) in construction expenditures. These projects have facilitated creation of …

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Maine Real Estate & Development Association Awards Top 7 Notable Projects of 2014

Projects from Portland to Ellsworth to Farmington Received Special Recognition at MEREDA’s 2015 Annual Spring Conference

2014 MEREDA Notable Project Awards were presented by MEREDA President, Michael O’Reilly to the Hampton Inn by Parallax Partners in Lewiston; The Bay House Condominiums by Reger Dasco Properties in Portland; Falmouth Schools Redevelopment Project by OceanView at Falmouth; Brookside Village by Farmington Land in Farmington; Seaport Village & The Inn at Seaport by First Atlantic HealthCare in Ellsworth; Courtyard by Marriott by J.B. Brown & Sons and Hyatt Place Hotel by East Brown Cow in Portland.

2014 MEREDA Notable Project Awards were presented by MEREDA President, Michael O’Reilly to the Hampton Inn by Parallax Partners in Lewiston; The Bay House Condominiums by Reger Dasco Properties in Portland; Falmouth Schools Redevelopment Project by OceanView at Falmouth; Brookside Village by Farmington Land in Farmington; Seaport Village & The Inn at Seaport by First Atlantic HealthCare in Ellsworth; Courtyard by Marriott by J.B. Brown & Sons and Hyatt Place Hotel by East Brown Cow in Portland.

The Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) recently announced winners of its 2014 Notable Projects Awards at its annual Spring Conference in Portland last week. Each of the selected seven projects fulfill MEREDA’s mission of responsible development, but also involved a significant investment of resources and job creation statewide. All of these “noteworthy and significant” real estate projects were completed in 2014 and are fully tenanted. Projects were selected for recognition based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, social impact and job creation.

“Once again, we have seen the incredible vision and integrity demonstrated by our developers right here in Maine. MEREDA is pleased to recognize these exemplary projects, which have aided Maine’s economic growth,” noted Michael O’Reilly, President, MEREDA Board of Directors and Senior Vice President, Southern Maine Commercial Banking Team Lead, at Bangor Savings Bank.

The recipients of MEREDA’s Top 7 Most Notable Projects of 2014 included:

  • In Lewiston, the Hampton Inn by Parallax Partners: Award being accepted by Chris Thompson with Shari Young of LodgeSys Management;
  • In Portland, The Bay House Condominiums by Reger Dasco Properties: Award being accepted by Gordon Reger and Demetri Dasco;
  • In Falmouth, Falmouth Schools Redevelopment Project by OceanView at Falmouth: Award being accepted by Chris Wasileski and Matt Teare;
  • In Farmington, Brookside Village by Farmington Land: Award being accepted by Buzz Davis and Bill Marceau;
  • In Ellsworth, Seaport Village & The Inn at Seaport by First Atlantic HealthCare: Award being accepted by Craig Coffin & Kenneth Bowden;
  • In Portland, Courtyard by Marriott by J.B. Brown & Sons: Award being accepted by Vin Veroneau; and
  • Also in Portland, Hyatt Place Hotel by East Brown Cow: Award being accepted by Tim Soley.

More information on each of the projects can be found here.

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Maine’s Growing Food Economy & Its Impact on Real Estate: Highlights from MEREDA’s 2015 Annual Spring Conference

Over 280 industry professionals gathered on May 12th to discuss the commercial real estate implications of Maine’s booming food and beverage economy. Maine has become a culinary destination, known for not just lobster, but beer, coffee, organic produce, sea and freshwater products. An exploding foodie culture means a growing need for production facilities, enhanced supply chains, specialty storage and many other real property infrastructure assets, old and new.

Betsy Biemann who directs the Maine Food Cluster Project at Harvard University gave a top-level overview of these trends, stating the number of breweries in Maine has doubled since 2012; there is a growing demand for local, organic food seen by the increasing number of independent grocers and food co-ops; the aquaculture industry remains strong up and down the coastline; and farmers are extending the growing season using old and new technologies and production methods.

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MEREDA Brought National Speaker to Maine for Discussion on Consumer Insights for Residential Development Opportunities by Generation

Mollie CarmichaelA crowd of Maine’s real estate professionals gathered recently to listen to a renowned national speaker present consumer insights for residential development opportunities by generation. The Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA)’s premier breakfast event “Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation” was led by Mollie Carmichael of John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Newport Beach, CA and included data relevant to the New England region.

Residential development opportunities in Maine and across the nation have evolved in interesting ways. Those who believe “one size fits all” will suffer in the overall viability and profitability of their development efforts. Urban in-fill condos in Portland, millennial targeted apartment lofts in renovated buildings in Biddeford/Saco, suburban age-restricted townhouse communities in Falmouth, and family focused single family residential subdivisions in Scarborough all have unique targeted markets. If those markets are understood well and the floor plans and community amenities are thoughtfully created to be “just right”, the chances of project and financial success increase markedly.

Carmichael’s firm pulls annual consumer and product research from over 50,000 consumers and break down the findings for each generation to help find the sweet spots of residential development opportunity and perils that are there, too. Whether it is multigenerational housing, A2B2 (Active Adult, Baby Boom) housing, workforce housing, millennial housing, family housing, single housing, apartments, single family detached housing, or some combination of all of these, there are lessons that the research provides to help tilt the odds of success in our favor.

Carmichael shared an abbreviated version of her in-depth presentation with the group at the April 9 breakfast. Highlights include her “top 10” list of community preferences by generation, with a special focus throughout the presentation on the two fastest growing residential consumer segments: Baby Boomers and Gen Y or “Millennials”. In New England, the largest group for residential opportunity is the mature couples looking to downsize and transition into an empty nest or retirement. However, multi-generational housing is becoming increasingly common as we live longer than ever before. Many will consider accommodating an 18+ year-old child or an elderly parent into their next home purchase. So while the Boomer is the largest segment looking for a new home, 55% of these consumers cannot find what they are looking for. This is a huge opportunity for MEREDA members to continue to help the industry understand what they want and provide solutions to drive further growth.

Gen Y is getting married later, and as lifestyle is a catalyst for home ownership, they are waiting longer to purchase their first home. Today’s younger home shoppers have more pets than children, and treat them as such. Access to dog parks and other amenities for pets is a growing trend sought by the next generation of residential consumers. To learn more about real estate and development in Maine, register for MEREDA’s breakfast events. Topics and an upcoming schedule can be found online at mereda.org.

About Mollie Carmichael:

Mollie Carmichael is Principal at John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Newport Beach, CA. For over 25+ years, Mollie has helped companies increase profits dramatically by understanding the market and consumer first. She is passionate about guiding strategic planning decisions with consumer and market-based methodologies in order to optimize financial results. Mollie has led research efforts throughout the country on master planned communities and individual neighborhood design. She comes to Portland frequently to visit relatives who live here and is excited to present her research findings to those in the Maine Real Estate Community.

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TechPlace an Exciting Project for the State and Region

By Ben Sturtevant, Communications Coordinator, Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA)

In January, the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA) opened TechPlace, Brunswick Landing’s Technology Accelerator. TechPlace supports the business development needs of early-stage companies and startups in a shared and collaborative work environment. It will give entrepreneurs a place to network with others, research and develop ideas, build prototypes, test products, assemble, grow, and become successful manufacturing and technology companies.

TechPlace is located at 74 Orion Street in the newly renovated 93,000 SF former Navy aviation maintenance department. Here, aircraft components from the P3 Orions were repaired in dozens of individual workshops and testing facilities. The building is being converted into shared industrial “maker spaces” and offices. It includes…

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Maine’s Growing Food Economy & Its Impact on Real Estate – MEREDA’s Annual Spring Conference is May 12!

MerEATa The Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) will Host its Annual Real Estate Spring Conference on May 12 in Portland.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
7:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Holiday Inn By the Bay
88 Spring Street, Portland

Food and real estate are inextricably connected in many more ways than just seed and soil, and the Maine Real Estate and Development Association’s 2015 Spring Conference will feature leaders in food/beverage industries. Coffee, beer, organic produce, sea and freshwater products and an exploding foodie culture here and outside of Maine mean there is growing need for production facilities, enhanced supply chains, specialty storage and many other real property infrastructure assets, old and new. Maine’s organic and specialty foods industry is growing and a supply line of food products leads from Maine to the rest of the world, while a steady supply of customers come here to eat and drink, and underneath it all is real estate.

Attendees at MEREDA’s Spring Conference will learn what’s new, what’s old and now new again, what opportunities exist and what challenges and hurdles that stand in the way of making Maine even more of a food and beverage resource and thus create more development and redevelopment opportunities.

MEREDA’s panel of experts will dig into the growing opportunities that exist for Maine and its closely related industries of food and real estate. And as always risks and rewards follow opportunity, so please accept this invitation to MEREDA’s Spring Conference and come harvest some knowledge and plant some seeds of your own with your colleagues and friends.

Panelists Include:
• Moderator, Betsy Biemann, Maine Food Cluster Project, Harvard Kennedy School
• John Piotti, Executive Director, Maine Farmland Trust
• Jen Faigel, Interim Executive Director, Crop Circle Kitchen
• Chris Hallweaver, General Manager, Northern Girl
• Dan Kleban, Founder, Maine Beer Company
• Sam Hayward, Chef/Partner, Fore Street
• Mary Allen Lindemann, Owner, Coffee by Design
• Erik Hayward, Vice President, Libra Foundation

MEREDA will also recognize the Top Notable Projects for 2014 and will unveil the newest “MEREDA Index” number. This metric measures the pulse of the state’s commercial real estate industry, including sale and lease activity, construction starts and other data, aggregated into one figure as an indicator of this important sector of Maine’s economy.

For more information about the Agenda & Scheduled Speakers and to register, visit www.mereda.org.

Application has been made for 3.00 Broker, Legal, Appraiser, and Architect Continuing Education Credits. Approvals are Pending.

Many thanks to our sponsors for their generous support:  NBT Bank, Blais Civil Engineers, Pierce Atwood, Consigli Construction, AAA Energy Service, Co., Verrill Dana, Commercial Properties, PDT Architects, and Mainebiz

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Real Estate Tip: Buyers’ Blues

Rick Smith, Bernstein Shur’s Real Estate Practice Group and Green Building Team

Buyer beware is an old warning. A recent title insurance case reminds us just how wary a buyer must be, even in 2015. In the case of IQ Holdings, Inc. v. Stewart Title Guaranty Co.,  2014 WL 6601148, the buyer thought it could rely either on an escrow agent’s responsibilities, on the title insurance company insuring the closing, or on the title insurance policy itself. The buyer was wrong on all counts.

As is the case in most closings involving a condominium unit, the title insurance policy took an exception for matters that are set forth in the condominium declaration. Reading the declaration and other documents to which it refers is a very …

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Are you ready for IPD?

By Ellen L. Belknap, AIA, President, SMRT Architects & Engineers and Matthew Tonello, P.E. Area Manager, Consigli Construction Co., Inc.

Successful design and construction projects require multiple parties with specialized expertise to work effectively together for the duration of the project. Often, within the constraints of today’s traditional construction delivery methods, parties are not able to come together early enough in the process to realize the benefits of integrated design and construction. When contractors and subcontractors are at the table with the owner and the architect/engineer for all phases of the project, the ability for parties to collaborate effectively bringing value to the owner and achieving project success is measurably improved.

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) removes the barriers traditionally inserted between the parties and binds these parties together from the outset of the project.  The IPD contract establishes…

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Appraising Real Estate in Maine – Important Regulatory Information

By Mark L. Plourde, MAI, Maine Valuation Company

The Maine Board of Real Estate Appraisers (MBREA) was established to protect the public through examination and licensure of persons who wish to conduct real estate appraisals for a fee in the State of Maine as mandated by the federal Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989. The primary responsibilities of the Board are to identify qualified applicants for licensure, to issue licenses and renewals to applicants who have met licensure requirements and to promulgate rules as necessary to ensure protection of the public to enforce the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). Annual license fees are currently $380 and also require 14 hours of approved continuing education per year. The following briefly outlines appraiser license types, scope of practice, and requirements for obtaining a license. 

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Donating Real Estate to Charity

Daniel Burke, Attorney, Rudman Winchell

Donating real estate to a charitable organization can benefit both the charity and the donor.  The tax laws provide several methods for donation of real estate, both during a donor’s life  or through bequests under a donor’s will, or other gifts taking effect at death.

The simplest method is the outright transfer of property during the donor’s life, by a deed conveying the donor’s entire interest in a property to a qualifying charitable organization.  Another method, known as a bargain sale, is the sale of property to the charity for less than fair market value.

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