Should Portsmouth Let Its Biggest Megabuilding Get Even Bigger?

In just 10 days, the Planning Board (April 16, 7 pm) will weigh in on whether the HDC should grant Harborcorp a special “Conditional Use Permit” to grow taller. Harborcorp is already 50% bigger than Portwalk III, a development whose size and style have shocked many in this city that prides itself (and markets itself) on its special character. Harborcorp’s North End-facing side stretches 660 feet long. Straddling three city lots, the building is as long as 11 buildings from Market Square down much of Congress Street.


If you think Portsmouth’s biggest development should be smaller, not larger, the decision-makers at City Hall and on the land use boards probably need to hear from you– even if you’re worried your concerns will fall on deaf ears.

EMAIL INFO FOR DECISION-MAKERS: You can email the Planning Board via and the HDC via

Here’s what it will look like if the city and boards allow it, according to the city website:


MORE INFO IF YOU HAVE TIME: The HDC has power over height, mass and scale of buildings in the Historic District. The Planning Board could advise the HDC to say no to going higher.

CRITICS CARICATURED: Harborcorp doesn’t have to be so big. But folks who would like it whittled down a little (also reducing resulting traffic and parking problems) have been caricatured as against progress, motherhood, apple pie, Whole Foods and Harborcorp. “Please– we just want the city to grow smart and walkable with quality buildings, on a scale humans feel good in,” counters one.

TRAFFIC AND PARKING: Aside from walling off part of the city, some worry that Harborcorp will bring in 5,500 to 9,000 more cars a day, and create only 54 parking spaces plus 100 via valet (for a 1000-capacity conference center with 280 staffers).


1 thought on “Should Portsmouth Let Its Biggest Megabuilding Get Even Bigger?

  1. Teri Weidner Dahlen

    Thank you for keeping us informed! I just emailed the HDC and Planning Board members pleading that they not grant an increase in the building’s height. I hope others will continue to voice their concerns as well.


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