Bayside bids get Portland council review

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PORTLAND — Nine bidders for six city-owned properties in Bayside propose a mix of uses for land that has long been home to municipal public works operations.

“I think these are exciting proposals to reuse old city buildings and bring some activity to the neighborhood we have waited to see for a long time,” Councilor David Brenerman said June 23.

Brenerman, chairman of the City Council Economic Development Committee, reviewed the proposals Tuesday in a committee meeting with a public hearing, followed by an executive session to provide guidance for city staff on sale negotiations.

Unlike proposals received for city-owned land on Thames Street, the proposals for Bayside properties do not include bid prices for the parcels extending from Kennebec to Portland Street and bordered by Alder and Brattle streets.

Greg Mitchell, Portland’s economic development director, on Tuesday said the city’s negotiating position would be weakened by revealing bid amounts, based on the diversity of proposals and desire to get the best value for the properties.

The properties were marketed by CBRE/The Boulos Co. Bidders include a group led by attorney Harold Pachios, Tom Watson of Port Property Management , Lancaster Street property owner Tom Toye III, and attorney Jack Soley, a partner in the East Brown Cow development company and former Planning Board member.

The group led by Pachios proposed five different options centered around the fleet services building that sits at 44 Hanover St., with “incubator-style spaces and work environments for small business owners to have a location on the peninsula.”

Housing plans for the properties include the West Bayside Development Group proposal for single-family homes for first-time buyers at 56 Parris St., coupled with rental workforce housing at 65 Hanover St. The homes would require a tax-increment finance zone or funding from the city’s Housing Trust Fund.

A second housing proposal from developer Nathan Szanton would add at least 30 units of housing for people making 60 percent or less of the area median income on land that is now a Kennebec Street parking lot.

“The residents are intended to mirror the mix of people, occupations and incomes in Portland,” according to the Szanton Co. cover letter.

Sales of the properties are intended to fund the shift of Public Works operations to land at 212 and 250 Canco Road. In 2015, the city sought bids on land at 65 Hanover and 82 Alder streets for housing. The sole response came from nonprofit Avesta Housing, which bid $1 for the land and sought city funding to clean up the sites.

The city has also sold former Public Works land that is now home to Bayside Bowl.

“One developer with two different properties does not concern me, but I did not necessarily want to put all our eggs in one basket,” Brenerman said of the bids.

The next steps include reviewing agreements with the Economic Development Committee before recommendations are forwarded to the full council. Those steps will also allow for more public comment on the future of the acreage.

Mitchell said he hopes sales can be approved by the full council in the autumn.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Developer Nathan Szanton proposes adding affordable housing on what is now a city-owned parking lot on Kennebec Street.

One proposal for city-owned land in Bayside would convert the Public Works vehicle repair building at 44 Hanover St. to offices for small businesses.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.