Avesta Housing pitches 64-unit mixed-use project in West End of South Portland

SOUTH PORTLAND — Avesta Housing submitted a much-anticipated proposal to city planners Thursday for a 64-unit housing project that would be built in the city’s West End neighborhood and target mostly low-income families.

The five-story West End Apartments would be built at 586 Westbrook St., site of Le Variety and the West End Neighborhood Resource Hub, and would include ground-level commercial space for both the convenience store and the social services agency, according to Avesta’s application.

The $13 million project is being developed in collaboration with store owner and entrepreneur Quang Nguyen of Portland, who purchased a small parcel next door last summer because he wanted Avesta to build housing on the combined properties.

Kelley Bouchard

Portland Press Herald

South Portland OKs tax subsidy for Avesta Housing project

SOUTH PORTLAND — An affordable housing plan for Redbank gained traction Monday night when city councilors approved placing the project in a tax increment financing district.

By a unanimous vote and with little comment, the City Council agreed to set aside an acre of land extending from 586-600 Westbrook St. as a TIF district under a 30-year credit enhancement agreement with Portland nonprofit Avesta Housing.

The agency plans to build a 64-unit building, with 52 of the units marketed as affordable.

David Harry

The Forecaster

Two proposed housing projects in Portland poised for $6.5 million in tax breaks

Portland is poised to offer $6.5 million in tax breaks for two separate housing projects that could add 135 units of housing, more than half of which would be considered affordable.

The City Council will vote Monday on the two proposals for Tax Increment Financing, which returns a portion of property taxes generated from new developments to the property owner, rather than providing an upfront cash subsidy.

The Portland Housing Authority would receive $2.1 million in tax breaks for its 55-unit project proposed for Boyd Street, while Avesta Housing would get $4.4 million for its 80-unit project on Cumberland Avenue.

Randy Billings

Portland Press Herald

Portland approves more affordable housing

PORTLAND (WGME) – More affordable housing is coming to the city of Portland.

City councilors gave the green light to two separate proposals to build and renovate buildings in the city.

City councilors unanimously voted for both projects.


South Portland’s ‘The Hub’ set for move

SOUTH PORTLAND — The west end resource center that serves as a clearing house for a range of social services targeted at some of South Portland’s neediest residents is slated for a move to new digs.

City councilors voiced unanimous support for the project at a Nov. 6 workshop and are expected to sign a deal with Avesta Housing that commits the city to move the center, known as The Hub, from a trailer parked at 586 Westbrook St., to a new affordable housing complex Avesta plans to build in cooperation with Le Variety owner Quang Nguyen in its place, at 600 Westbrook St.

“I like what I’ve seen so far, and I’m pleased that Avesta and Kaplan Thompson Architects have been proactive in gathering input from the residents of the neighborhood,” said Adrian Dowling, newly elected to the city council to represent West End District 5, following a neighborhood meeting on the project Nov. 8. “This project, a partnership between a private business owner, a nonprofit organization and the city, could become a model for other Maine communities that are trying to address the problem of unaffordable housing.”


Avesta Housing awards two $1,000 scholarships

Avesta Housing, the Portland-based nonprofit provider of affordable housing, recently announced two winners of its first-ever educational scholarship.

Dina Malual and Pamela Muzika each received $1,000 towards their tuition expenses at Emmanuel College in Boston and Babson College, in Wellesley, Mass., respectively.

Avesta said that the two were selected out of numerous applicants because of their strong applications outlining their commitment to education to improve their lives and communities.


Press Release: Avesta Housing Awards First Educational Scholarships

For Immediate Release
November 13, 2017
Contact: Sara Olson, Director of Development & Communications

Cell: 207-317-3914; Email: SOlson@AvestaHousing.org

Avesta Housing Awards First Educational Scholarships

PORTLAND, MAINE – Nonprofit affordable housing provider Avesta Housing recently announced two winners of its first ever educational scholarship. Dina Malual and Pamela Muzika each received $1,000 toward their tuition expenses at Emmanuel College and Babson College respectively.

Malual and Muzika were among numerous applicants for the scholarship, and were selected because of their strong applications outlining their commitment to education to improve their lives and communities. Malual is a freshman at Emmanuel College and Muzika is a senior at Babson College where she studies business management with a double concentration in accounting and real estate.

Avesta Housing President & CEO Dana Totman spoke highly of the scholarship winners, “Dina and Pamela represent the best of the next generation of thoughtful citizens and global thinkers. Avesta is honored to know these young women and offer our support in furthering their education.”

About Avesta Housing

Avesta Housing is a nonprofit affordable housing provider with over 40 years of experience as a leader in affordable housing development and property management in southern Maine and New Hampshire. The organization is headquartered in Portland, Maine and currently has more than 80 properties and 2,400 apartments in its portfolio. Avesta’s mission is to improve lives and strengthen communities by promoting and providing quality affordable homes for people in need. Its five areas of focus are advocacy, development, property management, home ownership, and assisted living.


Avesta Housing readies West End proposal for South Portland planners

SOUTH PORTLAND — A new housing, retail and community center project on the city’s West End is one step closer to happening.

Avesta Housing officials met with about 16 community members Nov. 8 in the Brick Hill Heights’ community room, 80 Brickhill Ave., to discuss plans for a five-story building at 586-600 Westbrook St. that will include low-income and market-rate housing.

On Nov. 6 a City Council workshop was also held on the proposed project. The next step will be going before the Planning Board by the beginning of December to meet a deadline for Maine State Housing Authority paperwork to be submitted by Feb. 8, 2018.

Melanie Sochan

The Forecaster

Avesta, Portland Chamber oppose Portland’s Question 2 initiative

Avesta Housing and the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce announced on Friday their opposition to Portland’s Question 2, a citizens’ initiative on the city’s Nov. 7 ballot that would allow a zoning change to be blocked if 25% of voters who live within 500 feet of a zoning change file written objections.

The referendum question, however, would provide a way for a developer to override a citizens’ veto — if 51% of registered voters within 1,000 feet of the disputed zoning change approved the rezoning within 45 days.

Avesta and the chamber reviewed recent and current development projects and, based on future projections, determined that if voters approve Portland’s Question 2, in their opinion “it would have a serious and negative impact on growth in Portland and the region.”


Portland’s rent-limit ballot measure conflicts with state evictions law, critics say

Opponents of Portland’s ballot measure to limit rent increases, known as Question 1, have argued that the way it would alter the eviction process for many landlords and tenants in the city would violate state law.

Attorneys who specialize in landlord-tenant issues in Maine disagree on the extent to which the proposed ordinance would conflict with existing eviction statutes. But some agreed that it would create initial confusion and probably be challenged in court by landlords.

Among their criticisms was that the proposed rules would make it impossible to quickly evict serious problem tenants, and that it would force landlords into a mediation process that lacks the authority to enforce its decisions.

J. Craig Anderson

Portland Press Herald