New Portland buildings to be developed, constructed to show post-pandemic reality – Kennebec Journal & Early Morning Guard

11December 2020

Creating and constructing a structure in the middle of a pandemic needs a flexible mind.

That’s what Dan Fishbein learned as developers worked on prepare for the brand-new structure that his business, Sun Life Financial, will move into in 2 years.

A rendering of Sun Life Financial’s planned office complex on the Portland waterfront. Courtesy of Sun Life

Financial Ground was broken this week– an occasion that was gone to practically, of course– on a structure that will house the growing benefits business and, its developer hopes, extend the Old Port eastward. It is one of the area’s first significant business buildings to begin given that the pandemic struck.

Fishbein, president of Sun Life, said the building will continue his business’s capability to adjust to the new workplace that is redefining what “the workplace” implies to employees.

“It was currently created for what we call a nimble workplace,” Fishbein said, noting that the company’s other four major locations in the U.S. are likewise adapting to a labor force that no longer sees the office as the location to be five days a week.

Fishbein belongs to the 98 percent of Sun Life’s workforce that has been working from home because mid-March, he stated, but nearly a quarter of the Canada-based business’s 3,500 employees already were working from another location before the pandemic. That number will increase as the business moves toward a new structure for its workers.

“We were kind of already doing that,” he stated.

The majority of the adjustments to the Portland building are still in flux, he stated, however they will feature an emphasis on bigger conference areas to accommodate social distancing, and more comprehensive innovation to permit employees to participate in conferences without being physically present. He said some of that extra conference area will come from having fewer individual workplaces in the structure than originally envisioned.

The building is intended to be an inviting existence on the city’s eastern waterside, part of the Portland Foreside redevelopment of an area of the city at the base of Munjoy Hill that was primarily industrial land.

The goal, said Casey Prentice, handling partner of Portland Foreside Development Co., is for individuals to connect the Old Port with a stretch of waterside that’s across Franklin Street. The business likewise developed Foreside Marina in the area.

“We’re seeking to develop a nexus point,” he said. “There’s a lot of fantastic things occurring in that area.”

The Sun Life developing “is a critically vital part of the job,” he stated, and is designed to motivate pedestrians, in particular, to continue when they fulfill the end of Commercial Street at the Casco Bay Lines ferry terminal. The strategies also require dining establishments and stores to occupy the ground floorings of structures in the development, Prentice stated, however a new public market and occasion space on the 2nd flooring of Sun Life’s structure are on hold till the coronavirus is brought under control and individuals can collect in big groups again.

Prentice’s business isn’t the only one to modify strategies to address the pandemic. Ed Gilman, representative for Northern Light Grace Medical facility, said the medical center is including 14 additional negative pressure rooms at its new medical facility on the Fore River Parkway.

The spaces are developed for cases in which the healthcare facility needs to take care of clients while likewise reducing the risk of sending pathogens through the air, Gilman stated. The health center recognized the requirement due to the fact that of the rise in hospitalizations for COVID-19 clients.

Airborne spread of health problems is a concern for office settings, as well, Prentice said, and a few of the requirements for cooling and heating systems have actually altered in recent months to recognize the requirement for more filtering of air to lessen the hazard. Sun Life’s structure was set for a heating, ventilation and a/c system that met those standards, so no changes required to be made, he said.

Fishbein said he’s specifically happy that his business’s building will be throughout the street from a new waterfront park the city wishes to build. That will ensure open views of the water in the future, he said.

“The whole concept is developed for public use,” he stated. “We would enjoy for there to be a great deal of activity around the structure.”

The building’s location near Northeastern University’s Roux Institute is also an advantage, Fishbein stated. The brand-new institute simply got a big boost from a $100 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation, however Sun Life has been dealing with the organization considering that its start and presently has 22 workers getting instruction in data visualization, he said.

Given that the insurance coverage industry is based on data, he stated, being able to easily work with the institute can also help attract talented new employees, he stated.

“We’re delighted to be in Portland and working with the city and the neighborhood, and we believe there are going to be fantastic opportunities from the skill viewpoint,” he stated.


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