Hardypond Partners with Shalom House to Build a New Home for Mainers with Mental Illness

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Hardypond recently completed a multi-year project for Shalom House, a non-profit that provides affordable housing and support to people living with mental illness. The project involved the renovation of 30 Mellen Street in Portland, a historic building with both a main house and carriage house that Hardypond helped convert into 22 apartments with updated, efficient systems. Renovations began in January 2021 after 3 years of planning. With a tight budget and historic preservation requirements, the project highlighted Hardypond’s ability to form strategic partnerships and to finish strong despite hurdles.

Working through the pandemic was one big complication for the team, especially since most of the work was in small, interior spaces during the winter. Preserving the historic details of the building was another challenge. Hardypond had to follow the parameters of the Federal, State, and City Historic Review boards, which involved a lot of nuance and specific details. For example, all of the original door moldings had to stay in place, which meant that to create a solid wall where an original door existed, Hardypond had to either fix the door shut permanently or infill the opening with drywall. Despite the challenges, Hardypond’s commitment to excellent communication and project management helped them complete the project on budget, even with a longer-than-anticipated timeline.

“It’s really remarkable that we were able to stick to a price in the market we have,” shares Deirdre Wadsworth, Hardypond President. “We self-performed a lot of the work and we had to be very, very strategic about who we hired for subcontractors. We hit challenges, but we still came out OK and now have a building that will really benefit the community. I love that this building has a history of serving underserved populations.”

Originally an orphanage, the main house at 30 Mellen Street was later a home to a long-running recovery program called Serenity House. When Shalom House purchased the property in 2018, they were drawn to the convenient location; the property is walking distance to Maine Medical Center, as well as downtown businesses and restaurants. This central location will provide residents easy access to needed services and goods. 

The thoughtful renovation provides various levels of support and services for individuals with mental illness. In the main house, Hardypond created twelve single-occupancy units that share common areas including a kitchen, bathrooms, and living space. The communal living portion will allow for programming such as cooking classes and movie nights and is self-contained from the rest of the building and other tenants. Additionally, there will be five efficiency apartments and a one-bedroom apartment. The carriage house will include four apartments for families. 

“One of the many benefits of this house is the fact it provides the opportunity for the clients to transition out of the residential treatment program and into their own efficiency or apartment while still allowing them to be in a familiar location,” said a representative from Shalom House. “The make-up of this building allows us to provide a continuum of services and living arrangements all within the same location.”

Always looking to be part of projects that improve the community, Hardypond was excited to partner with Shalom House and facilitate the important work they do serving Mainers with mental illness. 

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