More than 80 people turned out Thursday, Sept. 13, to the former Marada Adams School site on Munjoy Hill to celebrate the construction of Avesta Housing’s 16 condominiums.
Portland, MAINE — More than 80 people turned out Thursday, Sept. 13, to the former Marada Adams School site on Munjoy Hill to celebrate the construction of Avesta Housing’s 16 condominiums.
Avesta representatives and local and federal officials addressed the crowd, with the occasional sound of hammers in the background. The theme of the event was revitalization, as many of the speakers shared their personal connections to the neighborhood and their excitement that a central piece of property will become much-needed quality homes for moderate-income families.
Key project leaders and representatives hold the letters that once adorned the Marada Adams School. First row, from left to right: Dianne Russell, state Rep., D-Portland; Neal Allen, chairman of the Avesta Board of Directors; Andrea Myhaver, president of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization; Bill Burney, state of Maine Field Office director, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Dana Tait, vice president of Norway Savings Bank; John Anton, Portland city councilor; Cito Sellinger, owner of Curtis Thaxter in Portland and Avesta’s lawyer; Gary Quintiliani, senior vice president of commercial banking at Bangor Savings Bank; Debbie Johnson, director of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development’s Office of Community Development; Seth Parker, Avesta Development Officer for the Adams School Project; and Alan Kuniholm, principal of PDT Architects. Second row, left to right: Ethan Boxer-Macomber, Avesta’s director of acquisitions and assets; Richard Egan, Great Falls Construction (in the hard hat); and Dan Walsh, senior vice president of Norway Savings Bank.
Andrea Myhaver, president of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization, has lived most of her life in the neighborhood and attended Marada Adams School. While the families who have lived there have come and gone, the spirit of the neighborhood hasn’t changed. “It’s very exciting to see what’s happening now,” she told the audience. “Welcome to our gem.”
District 1 City Councilor Kevin Donoghue said the project will restore rights-of-way and historic views that once existed in the neighborhood, and maintain a public playground important to the many families who live on the hill. “The chief goal and the big problem is that affordable homeownership is out of reach for many working families,” he said, sharing current home prices in the area at upwards of $450,000. He called Avesta’s project “the exception that will allow a family to not only stay on the hill, but to invest on the hill long-term. This is the real public good.”
Portland Mayor Michael Brennan shared his family’s long history with the school, including his time spent as a substitute teacher there. “My family relished the opportunity to grow up on Munjoy Hill.” He said the project would give other parents the opportunity to raise their children in such a vibrant neighborhood.
Bill Burney, state of Maine Field Office director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said the department’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program turns blighted sites “into something really special, and I’m convinced that’s what’s going to happen here,” thanks to the experience and capabilities of Avesta Housing and its partners.
Gary Quintiliani, senior vice president of commercial banking at Bangor Savings Bank, which provided construction financing, congratulated everyone involved with the project and their efforts to preserve Munjoy Hill as a diverse and inclusive neighborhood. “Thank you for the essential work that you do.”
Dan Walsh, senior vice president of Norway Savings Bank, and Dana Tait, vice president of the bank, also shared their excitement at being part of the project. “We’re excited to offer mortgage products to qualified borrowers to purchase condos at the Adams School site,” said Dana.
The condominiums are expected to be completed by early next summer. For more information on purchasing one of the condos and buyer eligibility, please visit http://www.avestahousing.org/property-development/under-development/adams-school or contact Rita Yarnold, Bay Realty Associates, at 831-8356 or CBayrea1@maine.rr.com.
The culmination of nearly six years of public process, this project will turn the once-blighted Adams School site into 16 affordable condominiums and an adjacent public park and playground. The project received $1.71 million in U.S. Housing and Urban Development Neighborhood Stabilization Funds from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and allocated through the City of Portland, as well as $200,000 in Brownfields grant funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and allocated through the DECD.
Following over 60 years of public use, the former Adams School site is near and dear to many Portland residents. The project will continue this legacy of service to the community by rebuilding and revitalizing the site while providing much-needed quality affordable housing that will help promote a mixed-income neighborhood. All initial and subsequent sales of the 16 units will be made to eligible households earning no more than 120% of area median income as defined by HUD. Income limits vary by family size, but include less than $70,400 for a family of two and less than $95,050 for a family of five.
Contact: Mindy Woerter, Communications Manager
(207) 553-7780, ext. 212; cell: 623-0696