The City of Portland is poised to select the chosen development proposal for the sale of a 48,000 square foot portion of the City-owned Thames Street property located along the city’s Eastern Waterfront. The City’s Economic Development Committee (EDC) has selected 0 Hancock Street, LLC, led by Jonathan Cohen, Manager, in partnership with WEX, Inc. to develop the property. The City issued a Request for Proposals for the property in April and received two proposals in response on May 3, 2017. Since that time, City staff have been negotiating with the development team under the direction of the EDC, and have executed a purchase and sale agreement for $3.3 million.
The Committee will hold a public meeting on August 1 to unveil its selection and discuss the purchase and sale agreement. Public comment will be taken. It is expected they will take action by submitting their final recommendation to the full Council. The Council would then take up this matter at its August 21 meeting. The current Economic Development Committee has been discussing the sale of this property since January 2017. At the January 3, 2017 EDC meeting, staff presented an overview of the subject property, followed by a public hearing by the EDC on January 31, 2017. Subsequent public hearings were held at the EDC’s March 29 meeting to review the draft RFP and May 23 meeting to unveil the two submitted proposals.
“We’re looking forward to hearing from the public regarding the Committee’s selected development proposal and our purchase and sale agreement. This is truly an exciting opportunity to attract the world headquarters of a major Maine-based international business that will bring almost 500 new high-quality jobs to Portland’s eastern waterfront,” said Councilor David Brenerman, Chair of the City’s Economic Development Committee.
The 0 Hancock Street, LLC project proposal includes construction of a mixed-use development at the corner of Hancock and Thames Street that will serve as WEX’s world corporate headquarters bringing with it 450 jobs. It includes a 100,000 square foot, 4-story building with a portion of the first floor and all upper floors designated as office space for WEX and 10,000 square feet of first floor retail space. Additionally, between 450-550 new surface and structured parking spaces, located within 750 feet of the Thames Street site, will be constructed to accommodate WEX needs and increased public parking needs in Portland’s East End.
In 2009, the City Council directed City staff to market the Thames Street lot for sale to help further realize the Eastern Waterfront Master Plan (EWMP). The EWMP envisioned a mixed-use build out of the upland sections of the district establishing a new urban neighborhood based on an expanded street grid, resulting in over a half-million square feet of additional office, retail, and residential construction to be supported by additional structured parking.