MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Event – “Darkness into Light: Cannabis and its impact on Commercial Real Estate in the Post-Prohibition Era.”

breakfast-logo-for-press-releases-social-mediaIndustry experts suggest that no new-to-market use has had as large an impact on Maine’s commercial real estate landscape in recent years as has cannabis cultivation. Starting as a niche industry five years ago, the marijuana growth business has morphed into a well regulated and complex professional system in some respects and an unregulated and “wild west” environment in others.  Rapid growth has put a significant strain on Maine’s existing industrial inventory and regulatory systems (both state and municipal).  And with the 2016 election legalizing adult use recreational cannabis, further stressors are anticipated.  Beyond adjusting to industrial impacts, Maine’s retail corridors need to prepare for inevitable retail store and further cultivation facility demand.  Importantly, efforts to implement the recreational cannabis program will provide Maine with an opportunity to “get it right” and enact a safe, robust, and fair regulatory system giving Maine the opportunity to establish a unique and successful economic sector in which many professionals will be comfortable operating. 

Join MEREDA for breakfast on February 16 from 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM at the Holiday Inn By the Bay for a panel discussion and presentation on how this industry has evolved, where things stand today and what the future may hold. The panel will be moderated by Justin Lamontagne, a Partner at NAI The Dunham Group specializing in commercial industrial brokerage. It will feature presentations by Dan Walker of Preti Flaherty and Gretchen Jones of Eaton Peabody, two legal experts with extensive experience in representation of both cannabis landlords and end-users.

Discussion points will include a legislative update on current laws, an overview of financial and insurance hurdles, and pros and cons for property owner Landlords to consider. We will also have perspective from cannabis industry experts with Jacques Santucci from Opus Consulting Group and Brett Messer General Manager, Caregiver at Brigid Farm completing the panel.

About the Event:

February 16, 2017 – 7:30AM to 9:00AM

Holiday Inn by the Bay
88 Spring Street
Portland, ME

Buffet Breakfast: 7:30-8:00 am
Program: 8:00-9:00 am

Registering for this Event:

Member: $45 pp | Non-Member: $55 pp 
Prices increase by $10 after February 9

Your RSVP is requested by February 9. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after February 9. 

Visit www.mereda.org for more information and to register.


This MEREDA “Morning Menu” Breakfast Event is Sponsored by Norway Savings Bank and Preti Flaherty.

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Surprises expected in reveal of Maine’s real estate performance on Jan. 19

Real estate industry to gather for annual conference

 

MEREDA_Index_80The economic indicator that measures the health of Maine’s real estate sector will be revealed on Thurs., Jan. 19 at a day-long conference of the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA), expected to draw more than 700 from the industry. “We expect this edition of The MEREDA Index to reveal changing market conditions and emerging trends for the first time in a while,” said Paul Peck, president of the board of MEREDA and an attorney at Drummond & Drummond.

The MEREDA Index is compiled biannually and is widely regarded as the primary tool for insiders to track changes in the market. “Maine’s economy is very dependent upon the health of the tourism sector and small businesses, both of which rely heavily on a real estate infrastructure, so this update will have reverberations for the entire state,” explained Peck.

The conference will also feature more than half a dozen forecasts of future market activity by property type and geography. Presentations are expected from top experts in the following categories: Maine’s vacation and hospitality industry; southern Maine industrial, office, retail and residential; plus specific forecasts for the midcoast, Bangor area and central Maine markets respectively.

Additionally, MEREDA’s popular member showcase will offer an excellent opportunity for marketing of commercial real estate-related products and services.

The annual conference brings together the largest gathering of commercial real estate professionals in Maine, and is well-known as a “must attend” for anyone involved in, or touched by, the real estate industry.

Registration is now open for the 2017 MEREDA Forecast Conference, set for 9:00 am on Thurs., Jan. 19 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.The event has been approved for 4.0 hours of real estate broker, legal, architect and appraiser continuing education credits. For more information and to register, visit www.MEREDA.org.

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MEREDA’s Morning Menu: Maine Legislative Update: MEREDA’s top policy initiatives and how you can help!

breakfast-logo-for-press-releases-social-mediaEvery year, the Maine Legislature and Governor consider over a thousand bills, and chances are high that some of them threaten to impact your business.  Savvy business leaders today stay informed of the current issues, and know how to engage individually and through MEREDA to influence the outcome of issues that could impact their business.  Additionally, MEREDA continues to propose policy changes to improve the real estate development environment in Maine in big and small ways, helping to pave the way to your business success.  Come to this session to learn more about how to be informed about the issues that matter, and how to engage effectively individually and through MEREDA to influence the outcome of those issues of import.

MEREDA is well-known and well-respected in Augusta for representing commercial real estate interests. Our Legislative Committee and Public Policy Counsel work together closely during Legislative sessions to protect your real estate business interests, and to advance them.

MEREDA will be assembling a panel of members and legislators to take part in this forum that will be moderated by MEREDA’s Public Policy Counsel, Andrea Cianchette Maker, Partner and Government Relations Practice Group Leader at Pierce Atwood, LLP.  Additional details will be posted to our website as they become available.   In the meantime, make plans to join us for breakfast on February 7, 2017 from 7:30 – 9:00 AM at the Hollywood Casino Bangor to hear more about how we do it, as well as how you can easily remain abreast of policy developments and become more involved.

About the Event:

February 7, 2017 – 7:30AM to 9:00AM

Hollywood Casino Bangor
500 Main Street
Bangor, ME

Buffet Breakfast: 7:30-8:00 am
Program: 8:00-9:00 am

Registering for this Event:

Member: $25 pp | Non-Member: $35 pp
Prices increase by $10 after January 31

Your RSVP is requested by January 31. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after January 31.

Visit www.mereda.org for more information and to register.

This MEREDA “Morning Menu” Breakfast Event is Sponsored by Bangor Savings Bank, Bowman Constructors, City of Bangor, Epstein Commercial Real Estate and Pierce Atwood.

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Tenant Funded Leasehold Improvements: Hidden Risks

By Raymond A. Pelletier, Esq., Verrill Dana LLP

In most cases, significant tenant fit-ups and renovations are financed by means of a per square foot tenant improvement allowance paid by the landlord and amortized over the term of the lease. Occasionally, however, a landlord may not be willing to take on the financing of the improvements for a variety of reasons, and the tenant may consider contracting and paying for the improvements itself.  Doing so creates a number of risks for the tenant beyond the risks ordinarily assumed in having construction work performed. These risks stem from the nature of the leasehold relationship and the typical form of commercial lease. Depending on the amount expended by the tenant for these improvements, these risks can have disastrous financial consequences.

Termination Provisions.  Virtually all leases contain provisions that can result in a termination of the lease in certain situations. Examples include default, events of fire or other casualty, or takings by eminent domain. A termination of the lease will result in the tenant forfeiting the money it has spent on leasehold improvements.  In some cases, the tenant may be able to negotiate a modification to certain termination provisions that would allow it to recover from the insurance or eminent domain proceeds the depreciated value of its leasehold improvements. The tenant’s degree of success in such negotiations may depend partly on whether the improvements are of the type that generally benefit the landlord’s property, rather than improvements unique to the use to be made by the tenant.

Mortgage Foreclosure.  A foreclosure on the property by the landlord’s mortgagee also could result in a termination of the lease. Just as in the case of a termination pursuant to a provision in the lease, a termination caused by a foreclosure of a mortgage would result in the tenant forfeiting the money it has spent on leasehold improvements. It is always advisable for a tenant to obtain a so-called non-disturbance agreement from the landlord’s mortgagee when it enters into a lease in order to prevent a termination of the lease in the event of a foreclosure. The issue is much more complicated, however, when the tenant has expended large sums of money for leasehold improvements. The reason is that even with a non-disturbance agreement in place with the landlord’s mortgagee, the lease might be terminated pursuant to a lease provision, rather than due to a foreclosure of the mortgage. For example, suppose there is a fire or other casualty that results in the lease being terminated. Perhaps the tenant has managed to negotiate a provision in its lease that allows it to recover the depreciated value of its leasehold improvements in such a case.  The landlord’s mortgage, however, is sure to contain provisions giving the mortgagee the right to decide what happens to those proceeds. Therefore, a tenant investing significant sums toward leasehold improvements will want the mortgagee to agree to honor the provisions in the lease, allowing it to recoup the depreciated value of its leasehold improvements. Obtaining such an agreement from the lender may be very difficult.

Title.  If the tenant is making a significant financial investment in the property, the quality of the landlord’s title to the property becomes a concern. The risks are analogous to a purchase of real estate, and a title search becomes more important than it would be in a more routine leasing situation.

Conclusion.

Tenants should think very carefully about the risks they will be taking before investing significant sums of money in leasehold improvements. If at all possible the transaction should be structured with a “tenant improvement allowance” paid for by the landlord and amortized over the lease term. If the tenant feels it must go ahead with a transaction in which it will be paying for the improvements, it should consult with legal counsel to discuss the risks more fully and try to address them in the documentation.

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Where Healthcare Credit meets Retail Rent: Why you should be adding Urgent Care Facilities to your Tenant Mix

By Cameron Woodford, Associate Advisor at SVN | The Urbanek Group

In the last few years the “urgent care” or “quick care” industry has been on fire and with good reason. Key market changes resulting from the Affordable Care Act as well as shifting consumer expectations with regard to healthcare, have created an environment for these businesses to thrive making them a great addition to any tenant roster.

The requirements of the ACA have forced further specialization within the industry.
The financial and administrative costs of providing urgent care in an emergency room setting have become prohibitive and both the medical field and consumers are looking for alternatives. Existing urgent care clinics are able to service a portion of the emerging market this has created, but it is only the beginning. Only a small percentage of the 136.6 million annual ER Visits require hospital admission (1), and every year more and more patients will turn to urgent care specialists to save time and money.

Consumers put more priority on convenience than their relationship with their doctor.
Many young people simply do not have a connection to their primary care doctor, never signed up at a new practice when they relocated or they never had one at all. For a quick prescription refill, employer drug test, physical or travel medicine, quick care providers will be able to schedule an appointment sooner and take care of patient needs faster.

The facility requirements can make use of otherwise marginal pads.
Most quick care companies want “corner of Main and Main” visibility so they can remain top of mind for their current customers and use their signage as a marketing opportunity. Many providers only need between 2,000 and 4,000 square feet and prefer stand-alone buildings. Since they do not have the parking requirements of traditional retail they can make use of pads that might be too small for other more traditional tenants.

Your other tenants will thank you…

Especially in grocery anchored or neighborhood shopping centers. Quick care facilities are a destination type use and will drive traffic to shopping centers. Time previously spent in the waiting room can be used to catch up on errands in the center or do some more impulsive shopping at specialty retailers. Sales should increase across the plaza which is only a good thing when it comes time to renew a lease.

(1) http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/emergency-department.htm

Original article can be found here: http://theurbanekgroup.com/why-you-should-be-adding-urgent-care-facilities-to-your-tenant-mix/

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MEREDA’s 2017 Annual Real Estate Forecast Conference & Member Showcase

forecast-conference-2015-artwork-buildings-w-arrowOver 700 of the state’s leading real estate experts are expected to attend MEREDA’s Signature Event, the TD Bank sponsored 2017 Annual Forecast Conference & Member Showcase being held on January 19, 2017 at the Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland. This unique conference brings together the largest gathering of commercial real estate professionals in Maine, and is specifically geared toward developers, brokers, architects, bankers, attorneys, accountants and other industry professionals. Each year MEREDA assembles some of Maine’s top real estate leaders to provide an economic overview and outlook on the profession’s key economic indicators, along with the popular market overview by property type, focusing on both commercial and residential real estate forecasts.

This event is well-known as an annual “must attend” for anyone involved in, or touched by, the real estate industry.

Supplementing the conference each year is MEREDA’s popular Member Showcase with MEREDA members exhibiting their products and services.  The exhibition has become an integral part of our annual event providing a unique opportunity to network with MEREDA’s members.

Mark your calendar now to attend one of Maine’s premier real estate conferences! 

Registering for this Event:

Your RSVP is requested by January 12, 2017. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after January 12.

Ticket Prices: 

Members: $100.00 ea | Non-Members: $175.00 ea
Prices increase by $15 after January 12
Special pricing is available for municipal officials ($50.00 ea) and students ($25.00 ea).

Visit www.mereda.org for more information and to register.

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Sustainable Stormwater Infrastructure = Sustainable Growth: Perspectives on Stormwater Service Fee Programs and Credits

By Maura Ryan, Marketing Director at St.Germain Collins | Sentry EHS®

At MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Event in November, a panel discussed stormwater service fees—why they are needed, and what measures property owners can take to reduce their fees.

Stormwater Utilities
Scott D. Collins, Managing Principal and Senior Engineer at St.Germain Collins kicked off the discussion with an overview of the stormwater utilities that are currently in place.

Almost 1,500 stormwater utilities have been identified nationwide and in Canada; the smallest in Indian Creek Village Florida with a population of 88, and the largest in Los Angeles with a population exceeding 3 million. [1]

In Maine, there are currently three municipalities with stormwater utility programs:  Bangor, Lewiston and Portland. Each municipality offers ways to reduce stormwater fees for property owners who take (or have taken) steps to reduce or treat stormwater runoff.  There are at least a half dozen other municipalities and counting throughout New England who have already implemented stormwater fee (and credit) programs also.

City of Portland
Douglas A. Roncarati, Jr., Stormwater Program Coordinator at City of Portland, Maine went into more detail about the City of Portland’s need to implement their stormwater service charge program.

There are three wastewater systems in Portland dating back to the late 1800’s:

  • Stormwater – stormwater that goes directly to streams, rivers and coastal waters
  • Combined – wastewater and stormwater combined
  • Sanitary – wastewater only that goes to treatment plant

Through the years there have been updates to the systems including: establishing the East End Treatment Plant; increasing capacity in the sewer systems; adding combined sewer overflows (safety valves) to redirect wastewater and excess stormwater in the combined sewer system to prevent backups and localized flooding; and more recently, separation of sewers and storm drains and storage systems to address the water quality impacts of combined sewer overflows.

As Portland developed and automobiles became the primary mode of transportation, the amount of impervious area (i.e. paved roads, parking lots and roof tops) within the City grew rapidly, resulting in more stormwater runoff. The sheer volume of  stormwater running off the landscape can overwhelm the combined sewer and storm drain systems causing sewers to back up, streets to flood and can also contribute to combined sewer overflows.  Stormwater runoff can also pick up bacteria, sediments, herbicides and other pollutants from streets, yards and parking lots carrying them to streams and other natural waterways.

2016-12-06_rei_intext

Figure 1:  On undeveloped land only about 10% of stormwater runs off as 40% is evaporated and 50% infiltrates the ground. On more developed properties there is approximately 55% run off.

Until recently, the primary source of funding was a sewer fee for all sewer and stormwater management and Clean Water Act compliance programs in Portland.  However, the costs of managing stormwater runoff and its impact on both the combined sewer and storm drain systems was the real issue driving up the costs of these programs.  In fact, the Portland invested over a hundred million dollars to address combined sewer overflows and flooding and was struggling to pay for it with the sewer fee.

The City recognized that this approach to paying for wastewater and stormwater management was simply unsustainable, so over the last several years it explored how other communities were dealing with these challenges and in 2016 implemented a stormwater service charge program. The intent was to more equitably share the costs of stormwater management by tying them directly to the sources of stormwater runoff and pollution. The fees are calculated on the amount of impervious area (i.e. rooftops and pavement) on the property. Currently those fees are $6.00 per month for every 1,200 square feet of impervious area.

Stormwater Credits
Justin Pellerin, P.E., Stormwater Project Engineer at City of Portland, Maine discussed the City’s stormwater credit system and how stormwater funds are spent.

Credits
When the City implemented the stormwater service charge in January 2016, they also implemented the stormwater credit program which can reduce the amount a property owner has to pay.

The stormwater credit is a conditional reduction in the amount of the stormwater service charge if the property owner documents existing or implements new stormwater management and pollution prevention systems and maintains them.

Focusing today on the non-residential (commercial properties) stormwater credits, the credits are awarded for:

  • Water quality treatment systems
  • Water quantity management systems

Systems must meet the requirements in the Stormwater Credit Manual (http://www.portlandmaine.gov/DocumentCenter/View/9714) and an application with documentation  must be submitted to the City of Portland’s Water Resources Division.

To date there have been 28 non-residential applications for credits, with 23 being approved. The largest credit was a savings of $340 per month. It is possible to get a 100% credit, so far the range has been 10% to 60%, with the average monthly reduction at 30% off the stormwater service bill.

How the City of Portland Spends the Stormwater Service Fees

The stormwater services fees are used for:

  • Cleaning a minimum of 3,000 of the 6,000 catch basins each year;
  • Completing 70 to 75 green infrastructure projects and ongoing inspections and maintenance;
  • Street sweeping approximately 260 miles of Portland’s streets—which cleans up sediments from street surfaces before they can be washed off in stormwater runoff;
  • Significant stormwater infrastructure maintenance;
  • A portion of combined sewer separation projects;
  • Drainage and flood management projects;
  • Watershed protection and water quality restoration projects.

Property Owner Perspective
Brian DesMarais, Area Environmental Protection Manager at Waste Management discussed the stormwater service fee and credit program from his commercial property perspective.

Waste Management of Maine, Inc. has managed stormwater at their Portland location for several years and are already regulated under the Maine Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (MPDES) Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP).

Waste Management received the first stormwater bill from the City of Portland in January 2016. Because the property’s building and surface impervious area totaled 221,276 square feet, this new monthly stormwater fee of $1,104 prompted them to look for stormwater credits for their existing stormwater control and treatment systems to reduce the bill.

After confirming the City’s assessment of impervious areas, the first step to seek credits for their existing stormwater systems was to document that the existing stormwater infrastructure was functioning as designed and was properly maintained. perform standard annual maintenance on stormwater systems. Waste Management also wanted to confirm the impervious areas that were calculated by the City. They hired St.Germain Collins who determined what credits Waste Management may qualify for:

  • Performed an inspection of existing systems – City Form 4;
  • Computed Basic Water Quantity Waiver Credit;
  • Computed minimum Water Quality Credit (for Waste Management’s existing wet pond);
  • Determined new total billable impervious area; and
  • Submitted the Non-Residential Stormwater Credit Application – City Form 3

In just a matter of weeks, Waste Management received a condition of approval for existing credits (25% for Minimum Water Quality Credit; and 10% Basic Water Quantity Waiver Credit) for applicable portions of the property. These credits—which are retroactive to January 2016—reduced their monthly charges to $894, which is an annualized savings of $2,520.  In order to continue receiving these credits, continued maintenance of stormwater infrastructure and submitting a Best Management Practices (BMP) Inspection Form (City Form 4) each year are required.

Maintaining older systems can be costly, so Waste Management is also considering improvements to their stormwater systems. These improvements could earn them additional credits and cost savings. Waste Management is evaluating options that could approach 100% credit, including: conversion of an approximately 12,000 square foot gravel area to pervious lawn; providing bio-retention cells near two parking areas;; and enhancing the existing stormwater detention basin to a wet pond that meets or exceeds current Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Chapter 500 standards.

Maintenance and Inspection
Scott Collins closed the discussion with a few pointers on staying qualified for stormwater credits.

Structural controls are only effective if maintained. An annual inspection by a qualified 3rd party inspector is required. By June 30th each year, the City Form 4 must be submitted to the City of Portland. The City of Portland has a right to inspect properties to ensure stormwater systems are as reported.

For More Information on Sustainable Stormwater options please visit http://stgermaincollins.com/mereda-stormwater-event/

[1] Campbell, C. W., Dymond, R., Kea, K., Dritschel, A. (2014). Western Kentucky University Stormwater Utility Survey. Retrieved from https://www.wku.edu/engineering/civil/fpm/swusurvey/ 

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MEREDA Thanks Its Valued Members

During this Thanksgiving season, the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) pauses to thank our over 300 members who employ thousands of Maine citizens and invest millions of dollars in the Maine economy each year.  MEREDA is the only voice for the real estate development industry in Maine and has established itself as a forceful, credible advocate.  Our success is dependent upon bringing together the many different trades that are vitally interested in promoting positive growth in our great state, and we thank each and every one of you for your continued support.  Thank-you!

Our members have shown that they are invested in what we do, as we continue to host timely and informative events throughout the year that attract members and other professionals who have an interest in working with us. We also have been more visible in the news media, speaking out on important issues and promoting the importance of our industry to the state of Maine as part of our effort to raise the profile of our organization and its members.

MEREDA continues to advocate for legislation in Augusta that encourages responsible development and sensible planning.  Recently, MEREDA passed legislation to expedite the land use appeals process in Maine and help facilitate development throughout the State. This new law, LD #775, “An Act to Streamline Judicial Review of Certain Land Use Decisions,” represents progress for the real estate and development community.  Another achievement was the passage of LD #395, “An Act to Amend the Site Location of Development Laws”, a bill that grandfathers existing storm water treatment systems when a prior municipally-approved project proposes an expansion that now falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Protection. The passage of this legislation allows for the resurrection of a project to expand an affordable senior housing Development in southern Maine, and will have a similar positive impact on developments around the state.

Our directors, staff, and volunteer committee leaders are all committed to providing our members with the highest level advocacy, professional development, and networking opportunities – all designed to promote responsible development in Maine and to help your business succeed. We take great pride in our mission and our accomplishments.

Thank you for being part of MEREDA’s success!  We wish you a safe and joyous holiday season and look forward to working with you in the new year.

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Passive House Pushes [& Seals] The Envelope

By Cordelia Pitman, Director of Preconstruction Services for Wright-Ryan Construction

Multifamily housing projects around the state have contributed to an improvement in construction activity post-recession. Hidden among the number of multifamily projects, two developments in particular are helping lead an emerging national trend in affordable housing – Passive House. The design standard offers a new path for project teams seeking out ways to build better while providing higher-quality, more affordable options for the communities they serve.

Two of the largest commercial Passive House developments in the U.S. are both affordable housing projects. One of those is Village Centre Apartments in Brewer, which added 48 units of much-needed workforce housing to the greater Bangor area in May, 2016. Another project of note in Maine is Bayside Anchor in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood, adding 45 units of mixed-income housing.

Both Bayside Anchor, developed by the Portland Housing Authority and Avesta Housing and designed by Kaplan Thompson Architects, and Village Centre, developed by Community Housing of Maine and designed by CWS Architects with sustainability consulting by Thornton Tomasetti, are built to Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) standards, a rigorous design standard which results in ultra-efficient buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling. Once the exclusive domain of custom home building in the U.S., technically adept developers, designers, and builders are seeing Passive House standards as a way to make affordable housing more affordable.

Achieving Passive House certification is all about results. The allowable air tightness limit for Bayside Anchor and Village Centre was 0.05 CFM50/ft2 – an aggressive target. Passive House buildings feature continuous insulation, ensure limited thermal bridging throughout the entire building envelope, and are incredibly airtight to prevent undesirable exchange of interior and exterior air. High performance windows and doors, balanced heat-recovery ventilation, and minimal space-conditioning systems are incorporated to maximize efficiency. Passive House projects also take advantage of solar heat gain, through strategic building siting, and internal heat gain to further reduce dependence on limited systems. Solar exposure is managed through glazing or shading to provide heating benefits in the winter and cooling benefits in the summer.

The application of Passive House design and construction principles means lower operating costs for building owners supporting the
long-term viability of properties.

Village Centre is estimated to be over 60 percent more energy efficient than a code building, with a targeted site energy use intensity of 22 kbtu/sf/yr. These are simply the results that can be achieved within the fixed budget (roughly $139/sq. ft.) defined by the project requirements as a publicly-funded development under the Maine State Housing Authority. Many cases demonstrate that Passive House buildings can offer energy savings from 75% up to 90% when compared with average new buildings or typical building stock.

The benefits for residents and other end-users, chiefly comfort and energy efficiency, are even more important. In many cases, the energy savings realized by building owners may be passed on to tenants, with individually metered units and segmented utility bills.

The lowest number often rules in the construction industry. It can be far too easy to lose sight of what’s most important – real value and the overall quality of life for the building occupants and end users. The Passive House standard holds up critical human elements of comfort and environment as its top priorities. The growing presence of Passive House work and the increasing knowledge-base in Maine will only serve to benefit our state and its residents as a whole.

Cordelia Pitman is Director of Preconstruction Services for Wright-Ryan Construction, a member of the Maine Real Estate & Development Association. For more info go to wright-ryan.com. Wright-Ryan served as the Construction Manager for Village Centre and Bayside Anchor.

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Maine Real Estate & Development Association Elects Michael Lane to its Board of Directors

Michael Lane of Richmond, a partner at Preti Flaherty, 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.

Mike LaneMike practices with Preti Flaherty’s Real Estate Group. He has represented clients in all aspects of real estate and land use law, including acquisitions, dispositions, obtaining federal, state and local regulatory approvals; commercial and public financing; title and conveyancing matters. Mike has built a strong timberlands practice representing mills, land management companies and industrial land owners in complex timberlands transactions, including acquisitions, sales, operating agreements, wood supply agreements, underwriting timberland titles, Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) development compliance and permitting. He routinely appears before municipal planning boards, LUPC and the Department of Environmental Protection to permit residential, commercial and industrial projects.

Mike also serves as Vice President and General Counsel to Charter Title Company, LLC, Preti Flaherty’s wholly-owned subsidiary, a respected agent for a number of nationally recognized title insurance companies. He has substantial experience in underwriting and negotiating title insurance coverages involving multisite, multimillion dollar commercial transactions, particularly energy, industrial and timberland properties, covering Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

MEREDA’s Vice President of Operations, Shelly R. Clark says, “We’re anxious to begin working with Mike at the board level.  He brings with him great expertise and a wealth of industry knowledge.”

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

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