The redevelopment of Portland’s Bayside neighborhood will reach another milestone Thursday, January 14, 2021 with Portland-based developer The Szanton Company opening the doors of Furman Block. The new development features 51 mixed-income, age 55+ apartments above street-level commercial space. The seven-story Furman Block is situated in West Bayside, at the corner of Kennebec and Parris Streets.
The Szanton Company has developed three other mixed-income apartment buildings on the Portland Peninsula, but none in the last decade, and never before in Bayside. The company is partnering with Bayside redevelopment pioneer Ross Furman, who owns and manages the street-level commercial space.
Mayor Kate Snyder, who is scheduled to speak at 2:00 PM at Thursday’s outdoor, socially-distanced ribbon-cutting ceremony, applauded the redevelopment of Bayside. “It’s great to see the City’s decision to move the public works department out of Bayside paying dividends,” said Mayor Snyder. The Furman Block was built on a former gravel lot used for parking City dump trucks and snow plows.
Mayor Snyder added, “This building adds vitality to the neighborhood, as well as our affordable housing stock, and makes Portland a more livable city. I’m glad the City was able to provide financial support to make this project a reality, and I’m particularly pleased that the project includes six units set aside for long-term stayers coming out of Portland’s homeless shelters.”
The new development comes amidst a surge in recent bar and restaurant openings in West Bayside. Furman Block is located across Parris Street from a former City public works garage, which has been converted into Batson River Brewing & Distilling, Wilson County Barbecue, The Yard, and Banded Brewing. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Leavitt & Sons Deli and Bayside Bowl are also within one block of the site. No tenant has yet been announced for Furman Block’s ground-level commercial space.
Furman Block’s developer, The Szanton Company, sees the building as a step towards addressing Portland’s housing shortage. “With all the new bars and restaurants in Bayside, the need for affordable housing has become more acute,” said Szanton Company President Nathan Szanton. “We’re delighted to add units of housing at a time when the city has never needed it more.”
The building was designed by Archetype Architects and built by Hebert Construction. Financing was provided by MaineHousing, Evernorth and the City of Portland.