Developer hopes to turn Brunswick parking lot into 'green' building

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BRUNSWICK — A parking lot on Gilman Street could soon become a model of green building, if a local developer gets his way.

Peter Taggart, owner of Freeport-based Taggart Construction, wants to replace the asphalt with a six-unit energy-efficient condominium building that would require almost no expenditure for heat and electricity.

Initial plans by architect Jim Shipsky are for a 3 1/2-story building with commercial space on the first floor, parking in the rear, and six condos above.

The terraced design gives each unit its own south-facing patio and greenhouse, which not only would allow the residents to grow their own food, but also would help heat the building in winter. Solar panels on the roofs would generate electricity and send any excess back to the power grid.

According to Shipsky, the project will be a model of green building for the future, when he believes gas and energy prices may skyrocket.

“This building is all about climate change,” he told the Village Review Board on Nov. 15. “There are no models out there for a sustainable alternative for when gas is $20 a gallon. That’s the primary reason for the design.”

Taggart also hopes to attract professionals who want to live and work in downtown Brunswick without relying on a car. He envisions the building as co-housing, which would draw like-minded residents.

“It’s more intentional than a condo. Essentially anyone can buy a condo; a co-housing is where people intentionally come together, sometimes around certain things, whether it be a philosophy or a lifestyle,” Taggart said.

Before he breaks ground on the project, Taggart is hoping to attract three or four committed buyers. But first, he has to figure out how much each condo will cost.

“We’re trying to work on the construction so it’s not complicated. We’re trying to keep the price down in terms of the building, so the units can be affordable,” he said.

Although the building looks very modern, he and Shipsky are also designing it to fit in with the neighborhood by using clapboard, asphalt roof shingles and matching the setback with neighboring apartment buildings, many of which are also owned by Taggart.

He still has to secure financing, finalize the design, get approval from the Planning Board and find additional owners, but Taggart said his goal is to break ground in the spring.

Emily Guerin can be reached at 781-3661 ext.123 or Follow her on Twitter: @guerinemily.

Sidebar Elements

Peter Taggart in the parking lot he owns on Gilman Street in Brunswick. He’s hoping to turn it into a six-unit energy-efficient apartment building.

A rendering of the six-unit apartment building proposed on Gilman Street in Brunswick. Each unit would have its own patio and greenhouse. Solar panels would line the roof, and the first floor would be commercial space.