Tax Credits

The Inn at Diamond Cove, Portland

The establishment of the US Army’s Fort McKinley on Great Diamond Island was part of larger effort by the government to provide strategic harbor defenses throughout the country at the end of the 19th century. The 200 acres on the northern half of the island was the largest of four Maine coastal forts.

Constructed in 1910, and housing 200 soldiers, the Double Barracks was the largest of 5 barracks built to house the enlisted men. It sits at the north end of the parade ground, and is the only remaining double barracks at the Fort McKinley complex.

The threat of a major attack diminished greatly by the early 1940s and the government halted the build-up of coastal defenses by 1944. Modern warfare tactics of WWII contributed to make existing harbor defenses obsolete, and the government dissolved the Coast Artillery in 1950 and abandoned the forts.

These properties were first offered for sale to state and local governments at undervalued prices before being sold to private interests. Fort McKinley passed through several owners before Bateman Partners acquired the property in 1993 and began efforts to revitalize the property into a resort community, building by building.

The double barracks needed major structural repairs due to water infiltration and decades of abandonment. When the project was 95% complete, a fire broke out and burned all of the interior structure. The brick exterior was all that was left standing. Working with the National Park Service and the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, it was determined that Historic Tax Credits could help the project rebuild.

This decision for salvaging the exterior and reconstructing the rest of the building preserved the physical memory of the double barracks while rehabilitating the space into functional resort inn.

This project defied all odds, transforming a collapsing building into an intrinsic part of the Fort McKinley historic complex.

Press Hotel, Portland

o   The tapestry brick and stone Gannett Building, located in Portland’s historic Old Port District, was constructed in1923 and followed in 1947 by an adjoining structure. The building was designed to house the offices and printing plant of the Portland Press Herald, Maine’s largest newspaper.

Maddy Corson, granddaughter of the former owner of the Portland Press Herald and the Maine Sunday Telegram, recalled, how, in 1945, the building was ‘an energetic powerhouse at the heart of the city.’ Housing the Portland Press Herald, the Evening Express and the Sunday Telegram, as well as a pair of TV stations, the building dominated the newspaper landscape until the Press Herald moved to another location in 2010.

In 2012, Portland real estate developer Jim Brady put the building under contract and announced plans to open Portland’s first independent boutique hotel. Aptly named The Press Hotel, it retains virtually all of the building’s architectural details, including its vintage exterior lettering and the newspaper’s ‘City Room’ repurposed as the Inkwell Bar. Among other unique features, guestroom hallways are lined with custom-printed wall coverings that feature actual newspaper headlines from the Press Herald’s archives.

Many of its artifacts have also been salvaged, including a scale used for weighing the huge rolls of newsprint right down to the ounce. The hotel has its own art gallery, open to guests and the greater public, where collaborations with area museums will be planned and commissioned paintings, sculptures, and textiles from locals will be displayed.

The extensive rehabilitation and adaptive reuse to a boutique hotel was completed and opened to the public in May 2015. With the help of state and federal tax credits, this LEED certified building, rehabilitated a landmark building in Portland, allowing the building to be repurposed while still paying tribute to the property’s publishing legacy.

Saco Central Fire Station, Saco

With the development of massive textile mills in Saco and directly across the river in Biddeford beginning in 1845, Saco grew rapidly, developing an urban center. Several serious fires in the 1840s led to an increasing demand from citizens for an adequate fire protection system in the city. The Saco Central Fire Station was constructed in 1939.  The undertaking was accomplished with financial assistance from the federal Public Works Administration, one of the many programs created under the New Deal legislation, specifically to manage the construction of public buildings with the use of private construction companies.

Design elements, such as the doors with turned half-balusters over the glazing that resemble horse stall doors and the cast stone horse heads on the keystones, recalled memories of the horse-drawn era of firefighting.

The station served as the central fire station from its construction until it closed in January 2011 when it was replaced by a modern fire station at another site. The Saco City Council favored demolition of the historic fire station. Maine Preservation listed the fire station on its Most Endangered List in 2012, and Housing Initiatives of New England purchased the building to rehabilitate it for new use.

The station was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in April 2013 which made the building eligible for Historic Tax Credits.

The original wood bay doors on the façade of the station had been replaced with modern rolling doors. The rehabilitated design included replacing these garage doors, along with new windows, and pedestrian doors in order to match the historic façade of the fire station.

The Saco Central Fire Station currently contains four apartments on the second floor along with a fitness center on the first floor, retaining the original open floor plan. Its restoration and rehabilitation allows the past fire station to continue to serve Saco as residential and fitness spaces while also preserving its historical significance.