Design discussions about Pearl Place helped inform and influence the Maine State Housing Authority’s new green building standards for state-financed housing.
Pearl Place, a workforce housing project located in Portland’s bayside neighborhood, was complete in December of 2007 and created 60 affordable apartments in a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The project owner and developer is Avesta Housing, Maine's largest non-profit affordable housing developer. The project is designed by Winton Scott Architects. The building design uses high-quality, permanent materials such as brick, fiberglass and metal. The buildings are designed to adhere to strict green building standards set by MaineHousing and best practices set by USGBC's LEED for Homes program.
Green features of the buildings include super-insulation and a tight building envelope; unit compartmentalization; energy-efficient fixtures, appliances, and mechanical equipment; low-VOC finishes, air-to-air heat exchange; and demolition and construction waste recycling. The project's site location also adds to its list of green aspects.
Pearl Place is built on a former brownfield site in a blighted urban center neighborhood that is beginning to undergo broad redevelopment and renewal. The project's location in the heart of Portland’s urban peninsula provides Pearl Place's future residents with easy access to goods, services and employment opportunities by foot, bicycle or mass-transit.
Certain aspects of Pearl Place's operations also contribute to its list of green amenities. The project is among the very first multi-family residential projects in the state to provide single-stream recycling. High-speed internet is provided to all residents, free of charge, allowing them to shop and/or telecommute, thereby reducing overall vehicle trips. Like all new Avesta properties, Pearl Place is a smoke-free facility.
Pearl Place is located in a neighborhood adjacent to downtown Portland, Maine. Half of the neighborhood consists of dense single-family and multi-family dwellings and the other half consists of warehouses, industrial uses and more recently, big box retail stores. The housing is within close walking distance of shopping and employment opportunities, as well as Portland's urban trail network. Pearl Place is located on the former site of an F.W. Webb building and directly adjacent to housing, a parking garage and an active scrap metal facility. The apartments are located within a quarter-mile of Portland's downtown transit hub and a similar distance to the interstate highway system.