One City Center, 4th Floor, Portland, ME 04101 

Phone: 207-879-0347  

Fax: 207-879-0348 

CASE STUDY:

VILLAGE CENTRE

Village Centre is a new construction project, located on land formerly occupied by the State Street School in Brewer, Maine.  This project .

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

WHAT: 48 units of affordable housing for families.

 

WHAT ELSE: Of these 48 units, 12 are supportive housing for Long Term Stayers in homelessness from local homeless shelters.

This is CHOM"s second ‘Inclusive Housing’ project.

 

WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT THIS PROJECT?

 

Village Centre officially received Passive House certification from Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) under the PHIUS+ 2015 standards; this means that  it is a very comfortable and quiet living environment with even temperatures and excellent indoor air quality throughout.  It was the first multifamily certified Passive House in New England, and the second largest certified Passive House in North America at the time of completion.  

 

Beyond being Passive House certified, this building has photovoltaic panels on the roof capturing energy from the sun for electricity used in this property and beyond.  All of these features make this a unique and very desirable place to live. 

The project location is close to traditional “downtown” commercial points, shopping, professional services, medical services, and employment opportunities.  The Brewer recreation center, swimming pool and ball fields are located in the next block.  Village Centre also supports and promotes the use of public transportation, constructing a sheltered bus stop on the existing bus route down State Street, and a designated, curbed pull-off zone in the street, allowing the bus to stop without holding up traffic.  This is an amenity from which the entire Brewer community benefits.

OBSERVATIONS 

Operational since 2016, Village Centre has been a success in many ways, including supporting the Highland Street Community Revitalization Plan goals:  Preserving, enhancing, and strengthening the residential aspects of the plan area; increasing the availability of affordable housing; increasing the availability of community services; and creating a more attractive High Street Community Revitalization Plan area.  This project also contributes vitality to the area, bringing families and young children, an extensive social service program supporting families, a playground and community garden, while adding a critical housing mass.

Beyond being an affordable housing development, Village Centre is an “Inclusive Housing” development, CHOM’s blended Housing First model, which integrates permanent supportive housing into larger, multi-family housing developments.  Village Centre contains twelve units of permanent supportive housing for former long-term stayers at local homeless shelters.  This development markedly reduced the number of chronically homeless in a local homeless shelter, resulting in Bangor (a neighboring city) essentially achieving “functional zero” for its population of people experiencing long-term homelessness – the first community in Maine to achieve this feat.

Village Centre substantially invests in a downtown neighborhood and has had a major impact on the overall Brewer community, fulfilling multiple public purposes:  Increased affordable housing, the revitalization of a downtown neighborhood, significant community investment, and creating a critical supportive housing program to end long term homelessness in the Brewer/Bangor area.

Additionally, Village Centre has received many accolades both in Maine and nationally, including the 2017 Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits Industry Awards, Rural Community Impact Award, the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) Best Affordable Housing Project Award, and the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) Best Multifamily Award.

 

Village Centre showcases that achieving Passive House certification for large, multi-family housing projects even in a cold climate such as Maine is attainable and produces longer-term operational cost-savings.

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