Bath council to hear 2 proposals for former YMCA property

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BATH — The City Council will hear two redevelopment proposals for the vacant former YMCA lot at 26 Summer St.

Portland-based Szanton Co. – which is redeveloping the former John E.L. Huse School into 59 mixed-income apartments – is partnering with the Bath Housing organization to present one proposal.

The Newheight Group of Portland is presenting the other option, in conjunction with Portland-based Community Housing of Maine, Economic Development Director Scott LaFlamme said in an interview Monday.

Both proposals involve residential developments.

Each team will have 25 minutes to make their presentation and field questions at the May 3 council meeting, which takes place at Bath City Hall at 6 p.m. The council will likely go into executive session after the presentations to discuss the two pitches, LaFlamme said.

“This is really just to talk about the conceptual plans,” he explained, noting that elements such as the number of units in each proposal are still being determined.

The city tore down the YMCA building – also the former home of the Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skatepark – in January 2012. The half-acre lot sits across the street from the Patten Free Library, and is in the Downtown Commercial zone.

Residences, professional and corporate offices, and businesses such as restaurants and ice cream parlors were among desired uses mentioned in the city’s six-page request for proposals.

Szanton proposes a development similar to its Huse School project, with a combination of affordable housing and market-rate rentals, LaFlamme said. Newheight is looking at a project with mostly market rate housing, but may also add in mixed uses, he said.

“Because it’s such a prominent location, and it impacts the downtown and is a big project, there may be more public comment than we can handle (at the council meeting), so there may be a possibility for a second workshop on it,” LaFlamme said.

He also said the council, recognizing the magnitude of the project, is expected to take its time making a decision.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

The Bath City Council May 3 will hear two proposals for redevelopment of the old YMCA property at 26 Summer St.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.