Bayside Anchor Brings New Support to Portland Neighborhood

Bayside Anchor Apartments is aptly named, bringing new stability to its Portland, Maine, neighborhood.

The 45-unit development delivers needed housing opportunities to the poorest census tract in the state and serves as the social hub for the area with large community spaces, a Head Start preschool program, and community policing offices on the ground floor.

“It’s a community resource center as well as mixed-income housing,” says Jay Waterman, development director at the Portland Housing Authority (PHA), which partnered with Avesta Housing to create the property.

The development began as a winner in a 2013 national competition by Enterprise Community Partners and Deutsche Bank that sought ways to lower development costs. Utilizing cost-effective design and construction methods, Bayside Anchor was built at a low cost of about $158 per square foot and $170,000 total development cost per unit, according to developers.

There wasn’t one step to reducing costs. Instead, it was more like 100 steps, ranging from having a polished concrete slab on the first floor to furnishing units with open kitchen cabinets without doors.

Even with a goal of containing costs, the project is loaded with ambition. Bayside Anchor is built to Passive House standards to be extremely energy efficient. The super-insulated building envelope uses a double-wall construction. Panelized outer walls were manufactured off-site while interior walls were built on-site. The project is expected to reduce heating costs by 90%.

The development, which is near public transit lines, is also unique in that it does not have any on-site parking. Instead, residents can park in nearby lots owned by PHA.

Located in a gentrifying neighborhood, Bayside Anchor delivers a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments targeted at residents who earn 40%, 50%, and 60% of the area median income. To serve the lowest-income and formerly homeless individuals, there are nine project-based vouchers. The property also has nine market-rate apartments.

The $7.8 million development is financed with low-income housing and renewable energy tax credits purchased by Boston Capital. MaineHousing and the city also provided HOME funds.

PROJECT DETAILS

Developers: Portland Housing Authority and Avesta Housing
Architect: Kaplan Thompson Architects
Major Funders: Boston Capital; MaineHousing; Bangor Savings Bank; city of Portland