Grand Trunk Office Building
1 India Street, Portland | Nominated to Places in Peril in 2012
This three-story neo-classical style brick building, built in 1903, is the only building which survives from the extensive Grand Trunk Railroad complex in Portland. It originally served as offices for the railroad and for the transatlantic steamship operators that used their wharves and sheds. The Grand Trunk (and later Canadian National) was an important source of Portland’s prosperity between the 1850s and 1960s, serving as Canada’s main shipping route in winter between Montreal and the ice-free port of Portland. The vacant building is deteriorating, with broken windows, rotting trim, and damaged masonry. Ownership of the building by two different private parties, complicated a transfer of ownership to interested buyers willing to restore the structure.
The Grand Trunk Office Building is located in the Old Port Historic District. It is situated on a highly visible site at the foot of India Street which is an important gateway to the City. The location has played a central role in Portland’s history as a hub of commercial activity, shipbuilding, and railroad and steamship transportation. The site has early history as the site of Fort Loyall which defended the city from 1680-1690.
The challenge for the Grand Trunk Office is how to incorporate a landmark building of a modest scale that is situated in a desirable urban location into a viable redevelopment. Greater Portland Landmarks advocates for the following opportunities:
The location adjacent to an oversize lot, and favorable zoning, density and height allowances could stimulate interest in a creative, compatible, mixed-use development which incorporates this attractive structure as a signature element.
An additional option for reuse would be to rehabilitate the Grand Trunk as a free standing office block.
State and federal historic preservation tax incentives could provide critically important financial investment to support rehabilitation of the building.
Gorham Savings Bank is using historic tax credits to restore the building for banking offices. Work on the interior and exterior of the building is underway!
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