Marine-related changes coming on West Commercial Street in Portland

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PORTLAND — Development of marine-related industry along West Commercial Street moved forward last week when the state opened bids for expansion of the International Marine Terminal and the city Planning Board approved Phineas Sprague Jr.’s plans for a boatyard.

The Planning Board also decided against a zoning change, opposed by some Munjoy Hill residents, for condominiums on Sumner Court.

Maine Department of Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot said in a Aug. 13 news release that Gorham-based Shaw Brothers Construction submitted the low bid of $8.6 million to expand International Marine Terminal operations by adding infrastructure and railroad lines to accommodate container ship imports and exports.

The bid was one of four received, all from Maine contractors. The high bid came from Stillwater-based Sargent Construction at $10.02 million.

Talbot said Shaw’s bid is about $900,000, or 9 percent, less than the state’s estimate for the project, which includes adding about 5,000 feet of railroad tracks from Cassidy Point Drive; a 56,000-square-foot loading slab, and modifications to Commercial Street.

Talbot said Tuesday the bid is expected to be awarded early next month and construction is expected to be completed by August 2015.

The entire project cost, including engineering, property acquisition, and other costs, is estimated at $18 million, Talbot said. The project is funded through bonds approved by voters in November 2013.

Boatyard

Sprague on Tuesday said he hopes to complete his boat storage and repair facility at 100 West Commercial St. this year.

Sprague’s plans and amendments have been reviewed and approved three times, dating to December 2012. He said the latest revision calls for a 28,000-square-foot building constructed on an existing foundation.

“Our plan is to have the site in operation by the first of September, hauling boats into the new yard while the new building is going up,” he said.

The prefabricated building will be trucked to the site, and Sprague hopes to have construction finished and all needed occupancy permits in hand by Jan. 1, 2015.

The DOT took 18 acres of Sprague’s land to expand the International Marine Terminal. Although he supports expansion of the terminal, Sprague is less a fan of the eminent domain proceedings that cost him his land while the price remains under negotiation.

“Eminent domain is a multi-year process of wrangling out the appropriate taking number,” he said. “It is a process we have to accept and move ahead with.”

Sumner Court

Planning Board members decided against a change in the R-6 zone to combine small lots for residential development.

Chairman Stuart O’Brien said the decision does not end discussion about the revision, but it should be part of the larger consideration of amending the zone.

The proposed change was seen by neighbors of Sumner Court, which extends from North Street near its intersection with Cumberland Avenue, as a method developer Ronald Gan might use to renew plans to develop the dead end of the dirt road.

Gan’s plans were rejected by the Planning Board in 2012.

O’Brien said the revision, first proposed by the City Council Housing and Community Development Committee last spring, has wider implications than Sumner Court.

“This is a much more comprehensive and universal concept and not in my mind intended for one potential project,” he said.

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

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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.