Community Development Committee approves Bayside Land Sale
Panel approves Bayside proposal
Atlantic Redevelopment's $3 million plan for Portland's 3.5 acres now will go to the City Council.
June 6, 2007
— By KELLEY BOUCHARD
Portland city councilors endorsed a proposal Tuesday to sell 3.5 acres of former railroad land in Bayside to a developer who plans to build a parking garage, housing and an office building.
The City Council's community development committee voted 3-0 to recommend selling the city-owned land on Somerset Street to Atlantic Redevelopment Co., headed by Theodore West of Cape Elizabeth.
The committee agreed that Atlantic's $3 million offer was the best of six proposals received by CBRE/The Boulos Co., the real estate firm hired by the city to market the property.
The pending sale is part of Portland's 2000 master plan to redevelop Bayside from a largely industrial district to a commercial and residential gateway along Interstate 295.
"I see many of the ingredients in the Bayside vision available to us in this developer," said Councilor Kevin Donoghue, a committee member.
The full council will hold a workshop on the committee's recommendation at 5 p.m. Monday at City Hall. The council will vote June 18 whether to authorize City Manager Joseph Gray Jr. to negotiate a sale agreement with Atlantic.
Atlantic would build a 700-space parking garage, an 80,000-square-foot office building and a 64-unit apartment or condominium building, said Councilor James Cloutier, chairman of the committee, which includes Councilor Jill Duson.
Construction would start within two years. Each building would include street-level retail space. Atlantic would build two additional office buildings in the future.
City officials provided few details and little financial information about the five other proposals, from Prospectus Development, Mugar Enterprises, The Gottesman Co., Community Counseling Centers and Olympia Equity Investors.
CBRE/The Boulos Co. handled preliminary negotiations privately. One Portland resident at Tuesday's meeting complained about the lack of public review.
"It's hard to judge which proposal is the best proposal," said Steven Scharf. "There are lots of details missing."
The city plans to help finance Atlantic's construction of the $18 million parking garage by borrowing $9 million from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, said Lee Urban, Portland's director of planning and development.
The city plans to repay the low-interest loan with property taxes paid on commercial construction in Bayside, including the Whole Foods Market between Pearl Street and Franklin Arterial, Urban said. The city has already designed the parking garage.
Atlantic is familiar with Bayside and city officials. It built the AAA and Gorham Savings Bank office buildings on Marginal Way. It is building the Intermed office building at Marginal Way and Preble Street Extension. All three involved former city land.
The $3 million from Atlantic would help finance the city's effort to move its public works garages and two scrap-metal recycling companies from Bayside to Riverside Street, where the city bought 53 acres from Lucas Tree Experts for $5 million last year.
The city acquired the former railroad land two years ago in a deal with the Maine Department of Transportation. The city wants to sell most of the largest parcel, which measures 6.5 acres and runs along Somerset Street from Elm Street to Franklin Arterial. The 3.5 acres Atlantic would buy includes less than an acre near Pearl Street that's now owned by New England Metal Recycling. The scrap yard is selling its Bayside land to the city and moving to Riverside Street, where it plans to buy 13 acres of the Lucas Tree land. The other scrap yard, E. Perry Iron & Metal, has so far refused to move.
Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:
Copyright © 2007 Blethen Maine Newspapers