Razor-sharp logic examines development facts vs. emotion

A proposal to build senior housing at a former convent on Stevens Avenue has the Portland Press Herald criticizing the critics. (Photo by Derek Davis, staff photographer @ Portland Press Herald.)

A proposal to build senior housing at a former convent on Stevens Avenue has the Portland Press Herald criticizing the critics. (Photo by Derek Davis, staff photographer @ Portland Press Herald.)

This is our third post in less than six months citing a particularly cogent piece of writing by the chief editorial writer at the Portland Press Herald, Greg Kesich. A couple of weeks ago his piece, “Anti-growth mindset leaves Portland with little to build upon, “cited a couple of compelling facts.

In the last few years, Portland’s population has increased less than 1 percent. In the same timespan, the national population grew at more than 3 percent. “If there is crazy population growth, it’s not happening here,” Kesich wrote.

Particularly in Portland, the tone of anti-development rhetoric is often hysterical and irrational. Kesich is right on it, however, and deftly shreds its inherent pomposity. If you’d like to read his entire column, CLICK HERE.

Bayside re-development continues

Commercial real estate development Portland Maine

Article about the redevelopment of Portland’s Bayside neighborhood. Reported by The Forecaster

By David Harry, The Forecaster, Monday, May 4, 2015 at 2:20 pm

PORTLAND — A developer expects the former Century Tire service center at 45 Marginal Way to be flattened within the next two weeks.

“Our demo guys are ready to roll,” Northland Enterprises principal Josh Benthien said May 1, two days after the announcement his company bought the property and three adjacent parcels on Marginal Way and Kennebec Street.

To read full article in The Forecaster, CLICK THIS LINK.

MAINEBIZ: Developer buys four buildings for Portland’s ‘Century Plaza’ retail project

CLICK ON IMAGE to read the full article by Mainebiz reporter Lori Valigra.

CLICK ON IMAGE to read the full article by Mainebiz reporter Lori Valigra.

(Portland, Maine) Commercial real estate development company Northland Enterprises LLC of Portland said it has bought four properties on Marginal Way and Kennebec Street to make way for a retail mall it has renamed Century Plaza.

Northland bought 45 Marginal Way, a site occupied for 88 years by Century Tire Co. before it closed in February 2014. It also purchased 1 Marginal Way, 200 Kennebec St. and 202 Kennebec St. The total cost to buy the properties and the price to redevelop them will be (CLICK HERE for full MAINEBIZ article.)

Pungent but perceptive observation about Portland, ME

commercial real estate development Portland Maine

Press Herald reporter Tom Bell joked that anti-growth forces are on the lookout for editorial writer Greg Kesich.

On a recent Facebook post, Portland Press Herald reporter Tom Bell wrote an amusing faux headline, after his paper’s editor wrote a column about growth in the city of Portland, Maine.

“Liberal editorial writer goes into hiding after pro-growth screed offends everyone but Ed Suslovic.”

Suslovic is a city councilor, of course. And while Bell was exaggerating, he did manage to put his finger on, and amplify, the central point that editorial writer Greg Kesich wanted to make: “Not changing is not one of your choices.” Bell’s comment recognizes how emotional some factions are about growth. In fact, so strident are they that many do not want Portland to change or grow at all. They like things exactly the way they are, thank you very much; hence Bell’s “headline.”

The Kesich column, “Residents of Portland have to get past their aversion to growth” is right on the money, in our opinion. Kesich also made excellent points back in December, when he wrote, “Not building a city doesn’t just happen – you have to work at it.

When we go to work at Northland every day, we try to honor the essence of every municipality in which we work, and make it better. For example, we were able to do this this very successfully with our Sanford Mill project and The Baxter Library project in Portland. Those who are passionate about what is “right” for a city certainly deserve respect for their point of view. But so do those who agree with Kesich. Because no place on earth can ever be better without change.

Developer contemplates collaboration with artist community

Northland Enterprises would like to collaborate with artists in Portland, Maine.

Northland Enterprises would like to work with the arts community to build studio spaces at 200 Kennebec Street in Portland’s Bayside

(Portland, Maine) Northland Enterprises, a commercial real estate development company based in Portland, announced today that it is seeking creative ideas for a building it is acquiring and redeveloping at 200 Kennebec Street, in the Bayside section of the city.

“Consider this a call for entries,” said Josh Benthien, a partner in the firm. “We’re not absolutely sure we’ll go this route, but the nature of this building might lend itself very well to studio space for artists and fine crafts people. Before we put pencil to paper, we thought input from the artistic community would be a great place to start.”

Benthien said the property at 200 Kennebec Street is about 2,700 square feet. The space will feature all new construction, and ideally the building would be ready in the fall of this year. The building is next door to Team 1 Brazilian Ju Jitsu, and across the street from Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Northland has ample experience developing and managing commercial, residential, and retail properties throughout Portland and across the state of Maine. It has not built artist spaces before, but it has finished several creative renovations, including refurbishing the former Baxter Library in Portland that now serves as offices for the VIA, Portland’s leading creative advertising agency.

“To be completely honest, we don’t know the recognized leaders of Portland’s artist community, but we’d like to hear from them. We’ve had some initial exploratory discussions, and want to learn more about how the real estate market might adapt to the artistic community, rather than the other way around,” Benthien said.

Benthien said anyone willing to advise Northland on how to move the concept forward should contact his colleague Conor Beliveau, via e-mail, at conor@northlandus.com.


Adding to the tax base in Portland, Maine

Commercial real estate development in Portland, Maine.

Portland is buzzing about the construction jobs, increased taxable value and new retail opportunities that this project will bring.

Northland Enterprises has been receiving very favorable feedback after WCSH-TV and the Bangor Daily News reported that the company will be re-developing a vacant building, the former Century Tire building, into Class A retail space. Located on Marginal Way in Portland, the building is well-known because it was home to Century Tire for 88 years.

“We anticipate submitting our plans to the City of Portland in late January or early February,” said Josh Benthien, a partner at Northland Development. “We’re looking forward to working with City staff to make it a great project, and we’ll be releasing a lot of information to the general public along the way so that they understand the process. People are very excited that something positive is happening in that part of Portland, so if anything, we will over-communicate about the process.”

Benthien said folks are curious about the price tag of the project, possible tenants in addition to those that have already been announced, the taxable value of the project, and the number of construction jobs that the development will generate. He said Northland hopes to release as much information as possible by the end of January, on the company’s web site and social media channels, and to the media.

Previous work in Portland by Northland Enterprises includes the spectacular renovation of Baxter Library as new office space for The VIA Agency, photos of which are available in a gallery by clicking “THE LIBRARY” at THIS LINK.

Retail space is still available at the 45 Marginal Way location, and Northland Enterprises has assigned CBRE The Boulos Co. as the leasing agent. If you are a prospective tenant, you may find more information about the project at THIS LINK.

CLICK HERE for story, Bangor Daily News

commercial real estate development portland maine

CLICK IMAGE and then click on “The Library” for photo gallery of signature development project in Portland, Maine by Northland Enterprises.

The lighter side of commercial real estate development in Portland, ME

Greg Kesich is the editorial writer at the Portland Press Herald

Greg Kesich made us laugh with a recent column he wrote for the Portland Press Herald.

Usually commercial real estate is a pretty straightforward business, but sometimes we do get a good chuckle along the way. Like when we read this recent column by columnist Greg Kesich at the Portland Press Herald.

As developers of some of the finest commercial real estate projects in Maine and beyond, Northland Enterprises brings an extraordinarily high level of professionalism and competence to all our work, from concept and design all the way through to execution and completion. Representative projects include the redevelopment of the Baxter Library in Portland, our Sanford Mill restoration, and the re-purposing of the former Kennebec Journal building in Augusta. In each and every case, part of the job is attending many meetings; meeting of select boards, planning boards, city councils, town councils, zoning boards and public hearings. That’s why this Kesich’s column caught our eye. With tongue firmly in cheek, he very effectively captured the many hurdles that confront even the most routine and straightforward commercial real estate project.

He was only writing about Portland, Maine, but the phenomenon to which he refers is what we encounter in municipalities all across the Northeast. And while we think he made an humorous point, Northland actually values the governmental and regulatory processes into which we enter every time we build a project and contribute to economic development. Almost without exception, the process of oversight and review helps us build better projects — which is good for everyone.

Northland makes it to 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi!


Signe Jordan (above) holds Northland sign at 2014 Sochi Olympic games.

Congratulations to all USA Winter Olympians
who made it to Sochi! Northland is proud
to be a sponsor of the USA Ski
Jumping Team!






In Sanford, no-run-of-the-mill success

Officials celebrate a public-private effort that helped restore the historic Sanford Mill and attract tenants.

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Northland wins award for Sanford Mill renovation

Sanford News, Thursday, November 28, 2013

PORTLAND — At an event hosted by Maine Preservation, Northland Enterprises received its second statewide historic preservation award in three years for the successful, nationally recognized completion of its $11.5 million, 66,500-square-foot Sanford Mill development at 61 Washington Street in Sanford. Read More