John Ryan co-owns Wright-Ryan Construction, Inc., a company that builds many projects throughout Maine. We sat down with him to see what interests a businessman like John Ryan in nonprofit development and to better understand how projects like these help the community at large.
Tyler DeVos: How does a typical project impact the work force during construction?
John Ryan: When building a typical property with Avesta, Wright-Ryan (through subcontractors) may employ up to 100 workers on a project, daily, during peak periods. This doesn’t include the work that happens off site. The amount of job creation (spawned by a typical Avesta Housing project) filters out very broadly.
TD: Why is it important to develop housing in neighborhoods with a more concentrated population?
JR: There are a lot of historic projects in desirable neighborhoods happening right now because the tax credit system in Maine is so favorable. You need to try to build housing where the people are. So we ask ‘where are the people who need housing?’ They’re here, in downtown Portland, in downtown Lewiston.
TD: What makes Avesta a good developer to work with?
JR: Avesta has a clear vision. They know they’re going to be managing their properties for the long term and the quality of their work reflects this. Avesta is willing to take risks that most agencies won’t. They’ll think about housing for the chronically homeless, for victims of abuse. Affordable housing has been one of the very few bright spots in the construction economy for the past 3 years.