Developers eye India Street neighborhood, Portland waterfront

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PORTLAND — More changes may be coming to the India Street neighborhood and along the city’s Eastern Waterfront.

On Tuesday, Planning Board members reviewed a requested zoning change that could lead to redevelopment of 100 Fore St. and held a workshop on plans for mixed-use redevelopment at 208 Fore St.

The proposed development to build 28 condominiums at 56 Hampshire St. was tabled by the Planning Board with the agreement of city staff and developers New Height Group LLC.

The request was made to allow the developers “to finalize plans for the Board’s review,” city urban designer Caitlin Cameron said in an Aug. 10 memo.

While not yet in front of the Planning Board, the city announced Aug. 9 it had filed a site plan application to extend Thames Street 300 feet along the waterfront.

The zoning change requested by 100 Fore Street LLC would allow greater building heights and change the basic measurement to determine those heights in the area between the projected Mountfort Street extension and the road that may connect Thames and Fore streets.

The Fore Street project is led by Jonathan Cohen, who is presently developing the WEX headquarters at the corner of Thames and Hancock streets. The building at 100 Fore St. is now occupied by Hamilton Marine and was home to Idexx before it moved to Westbrook.

Building heights are now capped at 45 feet, with the height based on the floodplain, as opposed to the average grade height. Average grade height is used at adjacent land at 58 Fore St., and more commonly through the city.

Developers hope to increase height limits to as much as 55 feet, depending on the distance from Fore Street itself, while also capping building heights at 35 feet above the grade level of Fore Street within 40 feet of the street.

According to the application, developers are looking to construct a five-story mixed-use development that could include 70,000 square feet of office space and a 600-space parking garage.

Planning Board members will be asked to give city councilors an opinion on whether the zoning should pass; the changes must be approved by councilors.

Following the hearing on zoning at 100 Fore St., the Planning Board will continue to review plans to build 37 condominiums at the corner of India and Fore streets.

Plans call for Flagg Partners LLC to build a seven-story building on the site that now has a parking lot and three-story commercial building. The 62,000-square-foot building would have commercial space on the first floor, underground parking for 34 vehicles and 12 one-bedroom, seven two-bedroom, and 18 three-bedroom units.

The project is part of the continued redevelopment along India Street in new zoning approved by city councilors in 2015. If approved, the project could also net more than $380,000 for the city’s Housing Trust Fund in lieu of developers setting aside 10 percent of the housing under inclusionary zoning income guidelines.

According to the application filed by consultants Woodard & Curran on behalf of the city, the project to extend the road will cost $1.2 million. The plan does not include the link to Fore Street anticipated to be part of the development at the former Portland Co. at 58 Fore St.

The city allocated funding for the project in last year’s capital improvements plan. The obligation to extend the road is part of a 2016 deal with the Portland Co. owners. The city sold a parcel of its land adjacent to the Portland Co. for $400,000.

Beyond road construction, the application also plans for a new stormwater outfall that will allow stormwater drainage from future sewer separation work on Munjoy Hill.

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

Developer Jonathan Cohen is seeking a zoning change in order to redevelop 100 Fore St. into a five-story complex with a 600-space parking garage topped by office space.

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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.