Portland gets 1st look at hotel plan for Time & Temperature Building

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Plans to turn a historic downtown building into a 186-room hotel with a rooftop bar had their first review by a Portland city committee last week.

While no action was taken at the June 2 meeting of the Board of Historic Preservation, the proposal for the Time & Temperature Building at 477 Congress St. received generally positive feedback from board members.

Developers want to turn the historic Time & Temperature building on Congress Street in Portland into a 186-room hotel with a rooftop bar. (Portland Phoenix/Colin Ellis)

Built in 1924, the property is actually a complex of four buildings on Congress and Preble streets, according to Historic Preservation Manager Deb Andrews.

Project consultant Scott Hanson, senior associate at the Massachusetts-based MacRostie Historic Advisors, said the complex can be considered as a single building for purposes of historic review.

It was constructed as the Chapman Building for Chapman National Bank, and two floors were added in 1962, although Hanson said the addition “made no attempt to relate to the historic building.”

The building today looks pretty much as it did in the 1980s, he said, when the last major renovations were made, including the addition of the time and temperature rooftop sign.

Project architect David Lloyd told the board the goal of the new design is to bring “some of the elegance” of the lower floors to the building’s top floors.

While many of the board’s comments were about concept design and materials, most members expressed support for revitalizing the 14-story building, which is one of the tallest in the city.

After being bought and sold several times since the mid-1990s, and with routine maintenance neglected, occupancy of the Time & Temperature Building plummeted. In 2017, the Portland Fire Department found several safety violations.

It was purchased at auction for $9.3 million in 2018 by TT Maine Venture, which is proposing the renovation. In addition to the rooftop bar, the hotel proposal also calls for a banquet hall, meeting areas, and new retail space.