By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,289)
Developers of The Exchange, received approval last night from the Historic Preservation Board to convert the former offices of the Portland Press Herald into a 110-room hotel with a restaurant on the premises. The hotel entrance is to be on Exchange Street with the restaurant entrance on Congress Street. The developer is Kevin Bunker of Portland.
The overall parcel is comprised of two lots approximately 0.23 acres of land. Parcel One is located along Congress Street and has a building that that once held offices. This parcel has a main entrance on Congress Street to be used for the restaurant entrance mentioned previously. The buildng was constructed in 1947. The second parcel is bounded by Federal, Market and Exchange Streets. A portion of the basement of this buiding lies below the sidewalk. There is a main entrance on Exchange and Federal Streets. The building was built in 1925.
Bunker told the Board that the day before the meeting, February 5th, he’d received a letter from MaineMediaToday signed by its new editor Lisa DeSisto and the company’s attorney David Gilman stating Bunker could not use the plaques and other signage on the building referring to the Portland Press Herald and the Maine Sunday Telegram. To do that, they suggested would give the impression that the newspapers had left the building and gone out of business. The signage is copyrighted.
Bunker told the Board that he’d like to keep some of the signage on the boutique hotel because of the history behind it. Some of that history will be detailed inside the hotel as well. “It’s not a hill for us to die on at all,” Bunker said.