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  • Laurie Schreiber

Construction begins on $27M affordable housing project in Portland’s Libbytown


COURTESY / THE SZANTON CO.

In Portland’s Libbytown neighborhood, the Szanton Co. has broken ground on a 63-unit affordable housing apartment building, shown here in a rendering.



Originally published at MaineBiz April 18, 2024, by Laurie Schreiber.


The Szanton Co., a Portland-based developer, has broken ground on a 63-apartment affordable housing complex in Portland’s Libbytown neighborhood.  


The cost of the project, called 45 Dougherty Court, is expected to be just over $27 million, a company spokesperson told Mainebiz.


The project is financed through MaineHousing, using 4% low-income housing tax credits. It also received American Rescue Plan Act money through the city’s housing trust fund as well as affordable housing tax increment financing from the city. Tax increment financing defers property taxes for a specific time period.


The 45 Dougherty Court project will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units, along with a fitness center, community room, laundry room, secure indoor bike storage and EV charging stations. The building is expected to open in the fall of 2025.


The site is bordered by Congress Street and Douglass Street, and also next to the Dougherty Fields Complex, which includes ball fields, a large skate park, a newly finished playground, basketball courts, the Kiwanis pool and a community garden.


“We’re excited to be bringing new affordable housing to Portland,” said Nathan Szanton, the company’s president. “But we’re even more excited to be building it next to all the recreational opportunities of the Dougherty Complex. Those are amenities we can’t usually offer.” 


The units will be reserved for households earning up to 60% of the area median income. Rents will range from approximately $1,130 to $1,550. The building is being designed to LEED Silver standards and offers a highly energy-efficient design. Apartments will be heated and cooled by mini-split, air-source heat pumps. 


The median income for a one-person household in Cumberland County in 2024 is $89,250, according to MaineHousing.


The 45 Dougherty Court project will take up part of an approximately four-acre site that was once home to West School, which was built there in 1962. The school closed in 1997, and was torn down in 2015. 


The site had been sitting empty ever since.


Plans are in the works for Maine Cooperative Development Partners of Portland to develop the rest of the four acres with 20 affordable condominiums and 42 affordable rental units, adjacent to the Szanton project.



COURTESY / MAINE COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS

The large building at the top of this site plan is Szanton's 45 Dougherty Court affordable housing project. Maine Cooperative Development Partners is developing adjacent components of the project. Douglass Street is along the bottom, Congress Street to the right, along with a new playground and beyond that Dougherty Fields.


Maine Cooperative Development Partners and the Szanton Co.’s joint proposal for redevelopment of the acreage was selected by the city in 2020. The parcel was chosen by the city in 2019 for redevelopment into a range of affordable properties.


The two companies paid the city $475,000 for the site through a competitive request-for-proposals process.


The Szanton Co. has built 13 apartment complexes throughout southern Maine and seacoast New Hampshire, including the Furman Block, which opened 51 units in 2021 in Portland’s West Bayside neighborhood.  

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