Philanthropist Donald Sussman owns many of the properties on Hampshire Street at the bottom of the Hill and he wants to upgrade some of the properties in a way that will have a positive impact on Portland, attorney Thomas B. Federle told the Downtown Creative Portland members at its monthly meeting last night at city hall.
Sussman, owns 11 properties along the Hampshire Street corridor – from Congress Street down to Newbury Street. About 7 of the buildings along that route are vacant or in disrepair. The idea of converting them into artists’ live-in studios emerged as the favorite from the many people that Federle has consulted with since last fall. Most importantly, he says the recently formed India Street Neighborhood Association enthusiastically supports the concept.
To facilitate the planning process at the least, the board is in the process of hiring ArtSpace, Minneapolis, MN., to spend two days in Portland scheduled for September 29th and 30th to conduct a Preliminary Feasibility Assessment Study on the concept. A large number of interested parties in Portland would be involved in public meetings, etc. during this visit. Other sites in the area are expected to be part of the ArtSpace Feasibility Study. Shortly after the visit, a written report of its findings will be issued by ArtSpace.
“Donald has absolutely fallen in love with Portland and wants to do something really good for the community. We are going to keep working on this and do something that will be beneficial to the city,” said Federle following the meeting at city hall. (See above photo.)