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Elm Terrace is a certified historic rehabilitation and new construction project, in a gateway location in downtown Portland, Maine.  This project allowed for the historic rehabilitation and repurposing of an important historic building – originally erected as an ell to the Mussey Mansion, the building served as the Children’s Hospital from 1909 to 1948 for the treatment of children with scoliosis, and later used as the Maine School of Law followed by the USM admin offices.

The building is situated within walking distance to all that downtown Portland has to offer, is well connected via public transportation, and offers views of Casco Bay.

WHAT: 38 units of affordable housing for families.


WHAT ELSE: Of these 38 units, 15 are dedicated to the McAuley Residence, a comprehensive supportive program run by Northern Light Mercy.




Elm Terrace was certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification – it was the first affordable multifamily, historic restoration project in Maine to receive this certification. LEED Platinum is difficult for new construction projects to achieve, and even more challenging for historic rehabilitation projects. Overall, the apartments are nearly 30% more energy efficient than typical multifamily properties!


CHOM partnered with Northern Light Mercy to bring its McAuley Residence to Elm Terrace.  The McAuley Residence is a unique, comprehensive program for vulnerable populations facing significant challenges including long term substance use disorder. Roughly 15 holistic support services are incorporated, complementing recovery and wellness while promoting long-term stability and reunification with children.  Amidst record numbers in area homeless shelters, this program expansion noticeably reduced the number of women experiencing chronic homelessness in Portland.  CHOM and Northern Light Mercy are eager to replicate this successful model!


Operational since 2013, Elm Terrace has been a success in many ways – increasing the supply of quality affordable housing, the repurposing and rehabilitation of an important historic building, neighborhood improvement, community investment, removal of environmental hazards, and more than doubling the size of the McAuley Residence, a 25 year-old critical supportive housing program serving very vulnerable women. 

Embedding a supportive housing program such as the McAuley Residence into a larger multi-family affordable housing project has proven to be very successful, for the women who call it home, for Northern Light Mercy, and for the community in general.  Due to its success, this model can easily be replicated in Maine and nationally. 

Additionally, Elm Terrace has received many accolades nationally, including the J. Timothy Anderson Award - Best Historic Rehabilitation Project Involving New Construction, and a “Preservations’ Best of 2013” award from the Preservation Action and the National Trust Community Investment Corporation.  Elm Terrace showcases that green design principles and superior energy efficiency can be utilized in an historic rehabilitation project, and it produces longer-term operational cost-savings.

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