The Baxter building was donated to the City of Portland by Mayor James P. Baxter in1883. For the last 130 years, the Baxter Building has been a stand out landmark amongst Portland’s beautiful architectural heritage. The Romanesque Revival structure was designed by the renowned Portland architect Frances H. Fassett whose vision for the building was shaped by a year he spent living in Italy.
The building served as the City’s library for nearly a century, until 1982, when the Maine College of Art acquired the building and turned it into classrooms, administrative space, lecture halls, auditorium space and art galleries
In August 2010, Northland completed the comprehensive $4.6 million rehab of the 24,000 square foot Baxter Library project. Baxter is now the headquarters for the Via Group, LLC, one of the top 100 Advertising companies in the country, and one of Maine’s most successful and dynamic companies. Since moving into the building, VIA has doubled in its number of employees.
- The $4.6 million project was financed through a combination of State and Federal Historic Tax Credit equity debt made available through the New Markets Tax Credit program, a loan from the Maine Rural Development Authority, a Grant from the City of Portland, Seller financing as well as traditional equity from the developer.
- Replacement of all the windows with National Park Service certified historic replica windows
- Installation of all new mechanical and life safety systems in accordance with LEED Silver certifications.
- New electrical and telecommunications infrastructure.
- Creation of an additional stairway as well as an interior elevator.
- Addition of an additional floor in the rear portion of the building and a floating mezzanine connecting the front and rear buildings.
- Complete tenant build out for +/- 75 employees.
- New rear entrance, landscaping and architectural lighting.
In 1990 the building was listed as a local historic landmark and is listed on The National Historic Register of historic places. Today, the building still showcases most of its original exterior flourishes, textures, and details. The interior hosts marble floors, barrel-vaulted ceilings, wood finishes and ornamentation, as well as the original library card cases and shelving installed 125 years ago.