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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MEREDA’s “Morning Menu” Breakfast Event – The Historic Tax Credit Effect: How these Credits Have Transformed the Feasibility of Historic Rehabilitation


The percentage of historic buildings in Maine is one of the highest in the country, with these buildings comprising a significant proportion of the state’s real estate portfolio. For years many communities and building owners were faced with trying to repurpose vacant mill buildings, abandoned schools, and other historic buildings whose original purposes were obsolete and adaptive uses not feasible. The passage of the Maine Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit in 2008 has provided a new tool to recalibrate pro formas for income-producing projects. The 25% state credit is also paired with an additional  20% federal historic credit. Since 2008, 62 privately developed historic rehabilitation projects using these credits and investing more than a third-of-a billion dollars have been completed or are under construction in Maine.

What buildings are eligible for these tax credits? What are the rehabilitation requirements? Which buildings have used the credits and for what purposes? How is the financing for various projects structured? What are the requirements and limitations?  This program will outline the key elements  of the credit, provide examples of how it has been used and how projects have been financed, discuss the tax consequences for the users and reveal the results of the just-completed economic impact report from Planning Decisions and Maine Preservation.

Join MEREDA for breakfast on April 14, 2015 from 7:30 – 9:00 AM at  DaVinci’s Eatery in the Bates Mill Complex in Lewiston to learn how Maine’s Historic Tax Credit has transformed Historic Rehabilitation in the State.

Buffet Breakfast: 7:30 - 8:00 AM  |  Program: 8:00- 9:00 AM

For more information and to register, visit

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Green Building Systems – What is out there

By Asha Echeverria, Shareholder, Bernstein Shur

With continued national concern regarding energy costs and environmental efficiency, green building systems allow owners and the public to increase, assess, and understand the environmental and energy efficiency of a project. Green building systems offer both cost savings to owners and benefits to occupants, including reduced operating costs, increased property value, reduced construction waste and greenhouse gas emissions, reduced energy and water consumption, healthier air quality, and possibly tax and financing incentives. Several systems exist, and examples of these systems can be seen in projects around Maine.

  • LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was developed in 1998 and is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is the most widely used and known rating system for commercial buildings. LEED provides standards, and assesses points, for environmentally sustainable building construction and operations in several broad categories, including sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and air quality. LEED certification is available at four levels: certified, silver, gold and platinum. LEED’s market success has resulted in several municipalities, institutions, such as colleges and hospitals, and the federal General Services Administration requiring LEED certification for new building construction. Example projects: New Portland Jetport Terminal (Gold), Elm Terrace in Portland (Platinum) and Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ Bosarge Family Education Center in Boothbay (Platinum).
  • Green Globes™ US is a web-based interactive self-assessment protocol offered by the Green Building Institute (GBI) for commercial buildings. The U.S. program was adapted from the Green Globes Canada rating system in 2004. For certification and receipt of a rating of one to four Green Globes, GBI requires third-party verification by a GBI-approved trained professional. The Green Globes protocol focuses on life cycle assessment and provides immediate feedback of a project’s sustainability strengths and weaknesses. Though the protocol evaluates projects in several areas, the primary emphasis is on energy efficiency, which accounts for over one-third of the possible points in the system. Green Globes is not as widely used as LEED, in Maine and throughout the country, but it is less expensive than LEED, making it a viable alternative for smaller projects. Example projects: Several Buildings on the VA Maine Healthcare System Togus Campus in Augusta, including the Primary Care Building 205 and the Theater Building 210.
  • ENERGY STAR is a free program developed for existing buildings by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Unlike other systems, the ENERGY STAR program focusses exclusively on energy performance. The system compares a particular building’s energy performance with that of similar buildings. Using at least one year of utility information, the ENERGY STAR system models a building’s energy consumption based on building size and type, occupancy, and location. With one hundred points possible, projects with 75 points or more can apply to receive the ENERGY STAR label. Projects can continue to utilize the system to monitor utility consumption and performance during the life of the building. ENERGY STAR example projects: Brookside Village (32 units in certification process) in Farmington, ME and four, soon to be eight, Habitat for Humanity homes in Freeport.
  • Living Building Challenge was launched in 2006 by the International Living Future Institute. The challenge determines rankings based upon achievement in seven “petals”: site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. Within each petal, various criteria must be met. After one year of operation and use, a project can be certified as “living” if it proves it meets all program requirements. A project can also receive Petal Recognition, or partial program certification, if it achieves all of the requirements of three petals or more, one of which must be either the water, energy or, materials petal. In relation to the challenge, the institute also publishes a Materials Red List, identifying, and hoping to eliminate from building construction the worst chemicals and materials from a human and ecological health standpoint.
  • Other green building systems, such as Net Zero and Passive House, are also active in Maine. Net Zero buildings minimize energy use through high-energy efficiency and then offset any remaining energy needs through on-site renewable energy production, usually photovoltaic solar cells. The goal for a New Zero building is that over the course of its lifetime, it will produce as much energy as it consumes. Net Zero example projects: BrightBuilt Barn in Rockport, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ Bosarge Family Education Center in Boothbay, and Viridescent House in Falmouth (Net Positive). Passive building utilizes design of airtight envelopes, superinsulation and high performance windows and doors, resulting in buildings with exceptionally low energy use, even for heating and cooling. Passive House example projects: Go Home Passive House in Belfast and Viridescent House in Falmouth.
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Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) Announces Additions to its Board of Directors



Tanya Emery, Mike Galeucia, Rick Harnum

Tanya Emery of Hampden, Mike Galeucia of Scarborough, and Rick Harnum of Hampden have been elected to the board of directors of the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA), a statewide organization of commercial real estate owners, developers and related service providers.

Tanya Emery is the Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Bangor. In this role, Tanya oversees the Economic Development, Community Development, Code Enforcement, and Planning divisions of the City. In this role, Tanya is responsible for many of the development projects that make Bangor a great place to live, work, and play.

Tanya attended Trinity College in Hartford, CT, earning a Bachelor’s in Political Science with honors. Prior to joining the Bangor team, Tanya was Deputy Director of Economic Development for the City of Brewer for five years. Tanya also serves on the board of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce.

Mike Galeucia leads Macpage LLC Consulting Services, which include Financial Strategies and Services, Information Assurance Services, and assisting clients with value creation and preservation. He responds to business needs and advises on a range of issues based on over 23 years of experience managing the complexities of family-owned businesses, corporate strategy, operational efficiency, business process analysis, exit and
succession planning and organizational development.

Mike earned a BS in Management from Bentley College and a Master of Business Administration degree from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. He is a former board member and active supporter of the Ronald McDonald House of Portland, Maine.

Rick Harnum is Vice President of Real Estate for the Webber Group in Bangor, Maine. He is responsible for leasing, managing, and development of assets in the real estate division.  Rick began working at Webber in 2012 after running his own real estate investments specializing in residential housing for six years.

Rick graduated from the University of Denver with a major in Business Management and 3 minors in marketing, finance, and real estate. Rick is also a member of Webber’s Board of Directors.

“Both Tanya and Rick add to the geographic diversity of the board which aids in our efforts to promote responsible development statewide, and both they, and Mike, bring a wealth of knowledge and welcome expertise to the Board”, says Shelly R. Clark, MEREDA’s Vice President of Operations.  “We are excited to work with all of them.”

For further information, please contact MEREDA’s Vice President of Operations, Shelly R. Clark at 207-874-0801 or visit

About MEREDA (   Founded in 1985, MEREDA is an organization of commercial real estate owners, developers and related service providers, whose mission is to promote an environment for responsible development and ownership of real estate throughout the State of Maine.



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Market Conditions Are Driving Company Value Up

By John Hammett, Managing Director, Minneapolis Office, Corporate Finance Associates

Private company owners nearly always focus on the inside attributes of their companies when they think about selling. Do I have a management team that will add value in a sale? Are my margins good? Do I have a problem with customer concentration? How good is my intellectual property? How much growth can I project in the next five years? How good are my control and reporting systems? Are my sales people driving revenue?

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MEREDA’s “Morning Menu” Breakfast Event: How Should Portland Address its Workforce Housing Needs? What is the problem and is Inclusionary Zoning the right solution?

BreakfastLogoInclusionary Zoning is a policy that requires a certain percentage of units in any housing development over a certain size to be offered at affordable rates for median income households. Usually, Inclusionary Zoning is offered with a package of other incentives to offset the financial impact to developers and the occupants of the market rate units.

The City of Portland is proposing the adoption of Inclusionary Zoning with minor consideration of incentives to offset the impact. Without sufficient offsets, Inclusionary Zoning has the potential to reduce new housing supply. Other cities with Inclusionary Zoning have adopted offsetting incentives such as Tax Increment Financing Districts, height, density or other zoning bonuses, municipal bond financing, and allowing the required affordable units to be built off-site but elsewhere in the city.

Does Inclusionary Zoning address the root causes of high costs of housing such as high land costs, lack of available sites, cumbersome permitting processes and other burdens on economical development? Is it logical to predict that Inclusionary Zoning without offsetting incentives will stall and deter housing development in Portland? Is Inclusionary Zoning even with incentives the most effective policy to accomplish more median-income housing in Portland? Should we also consider other methods?

What exactly is the problem, and what are “right sized” solutions that will work best for all?

Please join the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) at its next “Morning Menu” breakfast event for an informative discussion of these questions and more on March 12 from 7:30 – 9:15 AM at the Portland Regency Hotel in Portland, ME.

Our Panelists include:

Caroline Paras, Economic and Community Planner, Greater Portland Council Of Governments – Author of “2030 Workforce Housing Demand”

Jeff Levine, City of Portland, Director of Planning & Urban Development Department

Jonathan Culley, Redfern Properties, Developer

Jim Brady, Local Real Estate Developer

Chris O’Neil, Portland City Hall Liaison, Portland Community Chamber

Our panel of experts will be moderated by Andrea Cianchette Maker, MEREDA Public Policy Counsel, and Partner and Chair of Government Relations Practice at Pierce Atwood.

For more information and to register, visit

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Maine Real Estate & Development Association Announces Date for its Annual Spring Networking Social

SocialGraphicAt this time of the year, who isn’t already thinking about Spring? Make plans now to join us on Portland’s Waterfront on March 26, 2015 from 5:00 – 7:00 PM at Ri Ra Irish Pub & Restaurant for MEREDA’s Spring Social!

MEREDA’s networking events attract key players in Maine’s real estate industry making this an excellent opportunity to interact with the experts. Join us and other Industry Professionals for Hors d’oeuvres, Spirits, and Great Conversation as we welcome Spring back to Maine!

Join us for a cocktail or two, and reconnect with colleagues and friends, both old and new!  This “can’t miss” event sells out every year, so sign up early!

To register or for more information, visit 

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Fires Spark Needed Landlord-Tenant Discussions

Tony Payne, Business Development Director, Clark Insurance 

The recent tragedies of lost lives in Portland and destroyed property in Biddeford due to fires have landlords and tenants talking about safety. The Southern Maine Landlord Association (SMLA) recently met in Portland to take a deeper dive into both building code standards required of landlords as well as tenants’ vigilance about safety in their rented apartments. In Northern New England, about half of all multi-unit dwellings are 50 years or older and require safety updates. So, what are the expectations of living safely in a multi-unit building?

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Maine Real Estate Industry Leaders Recognized at MEREDA’s 2015 Forecast Conference

A record of over 750 of Maine’s real estate professionals gathered recently to hear experts give statewide economic projections for 2015 at the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA)’s annual Forecast Conference, sponsored by TD Bank, in Portland.

In addition to a daylong event featuring economic overviews by region and by industry, the 2015 MEREDA Forecast Conference included an awards ceremony to recognize four outstanding industry professionals. With just one full-time staff person, the Maine Real Estate & Development Association depends heavily on the support of its members and volunteers. “The annual awards are a way for MEREDA to say thank you to some of the many people who have kept the organization so strong and vital,” said Michael O’Reilly, MEREDA President, as he announced the 2015 recipients.

From Left to Right – 2015 MEREDA Recognition Awards were presented by MEREDA Vice President of Operations, Shelly R. Clark, and MEREDA President, Michael O’Reilly, to President’s Award recipient Gary Vogel of Drummond Woodsum, Volunteer of the Year award recipient Drew Sigfridson of CBRE | The Boulos Company, Robert B. Patterson, Jr. Founders’ Award recipient Jamie Whelan of Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution, and Public Policy Award recipient Rick Stauffer of Preti Flaherty.

From Left to Right – 2015 MEREDA Recognition Awards were presented by MEREDA Vice President of Operations, Shelly R. Clark, and MEREDA President, Michael O’Reilly, to President’s Award recipient Gary Vogel of Drummond Woodsum, Volunteer of the Year award recipient Drew Sigfridson of CBRE | The Boulos Company, Robert B. Patterson, Jr. Founders’ Award recipient Jamie Whelan of Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution, and Public Policy Award recipient Rick Stauffer of Preti Flaherty.

This year’s Robert B. Patterson, Jr. Founders’ Awardwent to James Whelan of Scarborough, Saco and Biddeford Savings Institution. This award acknowledges members of MEREDA who have distinguished themselves by making significant contributions to the real estate industry over many years. Jamie was instrumental in the organization beginning to take on legislative issues, which were seen as impediments to responsible real estate development. He was a dedicated past President having served a 3-year term, rather than the customary 2-year term.

The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has enthusiastically shares their time and energy working hard to support MEREDA and ensure the organization’s success. The 2015 Volunteer of the Year, Drew Sigfridson of Portland, CBRE | The Boulos Company, consistently goes above and beyond for MEREDA. During his time as MEREDA President, Drew spearheaded many initiatives, including a campaign to increase MEREDA’s media and public awareness, as well as orchestrating a new organizational plan, which allowed MEREDA to grow and become a greater voice in discussions about Maine’s economic development.

This year’s President’s Award was given to Gary Vogel of Yarmouth, Drummond Woodsum. This award acknowledges a member of MEREDA who has significantly stepped up to the plate on behalf of the organization over the past year. As chair of MEREDA’s legislative committee, Gary is a generous leader of the organization’s legislative agenda. His institutional knowledge and experience with MEREDA’s legislative history, combined with his knowledge of development challenges in Maine from his own law practice, provides MEREDA with a breadth and depth that benefits all MEREDA members.

The Public Policy Award is presented to a MEREDA member whose efforts have had a significant impact on public policy decisions for the benefit of responsible real estate development in Maine. The 2015 Public Policy Award recipient is Rick Stauffer of Portland, Preti Flaherty. Rick has been instrumental in MEREDA’s Legislative Affairs Committee over the past year. His active participation, offering his intellect and political strategy prowess, has not gone unrecognized. Rick also served on MEREDA’s Board of Directors for many years.

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MEREDA Elects Jennifer Sirois to Board of Directors

Jennifer Sirois head shot 2011Jennifer Sirois of Saco has been elected to the board of directors of the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA), a statewide organization of commercial real estate owners, developers and related service providers.

Jennifer Sirois is a Relationship Manager for the Commercial Real Estate lending group at TD Bank, N.A.  She has been with TD Bank since 1998, working in retail, Private Banking, and Commercial Credit Underwriting prior to moving into Commercial Real Estate in 2008.  Jen has been a Board Member of the Risk Management Association since 2005, Board Member of Junior Achievement of York County since 2009, and is a member of the Young School Construction Committee for the Saco School Department.   She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor Degree in Business and Marketing, and from Suffolk University with an MBA.  Jen resides in Saco with her husband and two young daughters.

According to Shelly R. Clark, Vice President of Operations at MEREDA, “TD Bank has been a great supporter of MEREDA over the years and Jen will be a welcome addition to the MEREDA Board.  We are excited to begin working with Jen and look forward to her active participation.”

For further information, please contact MEREDA’s Vice President of Operations, Shelly R. Clark at 207-874-0801 or visit

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