Historic

The Portland Company site exists as one of the few pre-Civil War locomotive manufacturing sites in the nation that still stands today. We encourage people to envision the iconic perspective of standing on Fore Street, at the top of a beautiful public plaza, that aligns the historically significant facades of the Portland Company Vault (Building 24), The Machine shop (Building 2) which was constructed by John Poore upon the founding of the Portland Company in 1847, and the Blacksmith Shop (Building 6). These iconic historic facades, combined with the character and linear orientation of the alleyways between, will become the heart of the redevelopment of the former Portland Company site, welcoming the public to celebrate and explore the rich history of this site for generations to come.

Concept Drawing for 58 Fore Street, Portland, Maine

Since purchasing the property in July of 2013, CPB2 has been collaborating with the City of Portland and Historic Preservation Board to create a Historic Core that will celebrate the extensive historical significance of this property and reinvigorate the former Portland Company.  Please see the attached timeline of the thorough Historic Preservation review to date

Concept Drawing, 58 Fore, Portland, Maine

This Historic Core concept is focused on the following elements;

  • Adaptive reuse and celebration of the oldest and most historically significant buildings of the former Portland Company
  • Discovering creative new uses that will invite the public into this Historic Core realm, such that their historic significance will be enjoyed for generations to come.
  • Feature the character of the alleyways and the spaces between the buildings, inviting the public to these new spaces, to support local craft, retail and commercial uses.
  • Creation of a public plaza that invites and encourages public access from Fore Street directly to Portland’s waterfront and features the iconic Greek Revival façade of Building 2, constructed by Portland Company founder John Poor in 1847, the oldest and most historically significant building of the former Portland Company.
  • Incorporation of significant hard-scape design features commemorating the history of the Portland Company Complex.

Current Status: On October 27th the Portland Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend the designation of a local historic district for the 58 Fore Street site. The district boundaries, as recommended, would include;  

  • All seven structures of the former Portland Company listed as “contributing”
  • The two alleyways between these contributing structures
  • The entire footprint of Building 1 as well as a portion of the footprint of Building 4, both of which the Planning Board has recommended being non-contributing structures.  

In addition, the Planning Board recommends acceptance of a permanent public access easement, through the site, from Fore Street to the waterfront City owned property, to replace Building 1 in the future.  This easement is the legal mechanism designed to fulfill the public plaza vision that has been a cornerstone of CPB2’s desire to highlight and welcome public into the Historic Core of the former Portland Company site.

The CPB2 team is fully supportive of the unanimous Planning Board recommendation to the City Council and we encourage the community to show your support for the City Council adopting the Planning Board recommendation on February 17th at the City Council Public hearing. 

“We continue to follow the Historic Preservation Board nomination process, which has been ongoing for the past year. It’s worth noting that both structural reports, one commissioned by the HP Board, and the other by CPB2, very closely align in their assessments of the structural condition of the buildings. These reports are an important guidepost in determining what realistically can be preserved on the 58 Fore Street property and allow for an economically viable rehabilitation effort. Our vision has always been, in balancing the many objectives of the City’s Eastern Waterfront Master Plan, to preserve a historic core of the Portland Company so that it can be celebrated for generations to come." 

- Jim Brady, Manager CPB2 LLC

Prior to the October 27th Planning Board unanimous recommendation, Historic Preservation Board public hearing occurred on June 22nd where the Board voted unanimously 7-0 to send the Historic Preservation Board’s recommendation to the Portland Planning Board. 

The initiation of the designation of the former Portland Company site as a potential local historic district occurred in February of 2015. The Historic Preservation’s Board’s review has been thorough and extensive, including;

  • Two 58 Fore Street site visits
  • Three Historic Preservation Board public workshops
  • Review of Tremont Preservation Services’ Inventory of Historic Buildings
  • Review of a Historic Significance and Integrity Report by Sutherland Conservation and Consulting’s
  • Review of Becker Structural Engineering Evaluation of Existing Buildings Report 
  • Review and presentation of Resurgence Engineering Building Condition Report 
  • Two Historic Preservation Board Public Hearings

For additional details associated with the Historic Preservation Board’s review of the designation for a local historic district on the 58 Fore Street site, please visit the City’s website.