New year brings new housing plans to Portland

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PORTLAND — The city’s housing stock looks to increase as two plans for peninsula projects get public attention this week.

On Wednesday, Jan. 4, the Historic Preservation Board will hold a City Hall workshop for a proposed development of 275 residential units and more than 28,000 square feet of retail space at the former Rufus Deering Lumber Co. at 383 Commercial St.

The workshop is the second during the board’s evening session that begins at 6:45 p.m.

At 5:30 p.m., developers proposing a 45-unit condominium project at 218 Washington Ave. will meet with abutters in Meeting Room 3 of the Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Square.

Redevelopment plans for the 2 1/2 acres the lumberyard occupied for more than 160 years comes weeks after Rufus Deering was sold to Eldredge Lumber and the land was sold to Gordon Reger Holdings LLC, a company that has already developed housing on the city peninsula.

The proposed development is just outside the boundaries of the Portland Waterfront Historic District, and developers are seeking a certificate of appropriateness before approaching the city Planning Board with a master development plan.

In a memo to the Historic Preservation Board, city Historic Preservation Program Manager Deb Andrews noted the board will be acting in an advisory capacity to determine if the development is “generally compatible” with the adjacent historical district.

In his application to the Historic Preservation Board, Gordon Reger said the project could be built in three phases, with first-story retail space fronting Commercial Street and courtyards set back from the street. The development would also have 380 parking spaces in a two-story parking garage extending the length of Commercial Street from High to Maple streets.

Gordon Reger Holdings is being represented by Joe Dasco. The company also developed the condominiums at 113 Newbury St., and at 15 Middle St. The developers are now at work on 29 condominiums with 6,000 square feet of commercial space at 62 India St.

A two-family home at 218 Washington Ave. owned by Glenn Morse of Scarborough is planned for demolition and be replaced by a four-story building with 45 condominiums and parking underneath, William Conway of Sebago Technics said Dec. 28.

Conway said he is working with 218 Washington Avenue LLC on the development, which would also fill an empty lot next door.

The meeting with abutters is one of the first steps in the process. Conway notified neighbors within 500 feet of the proposed development; most of them live downhill from the site. The properties are across Washington Avenue from the intersection with Eastern Promenade.

Conway said plans have been filed with the city, but are not yet available online at City Hall. City Planning & Urban Development Director Jeff Levine said Dec. 29 the plans may not be fully complete.

The condominiums will generally be a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, with some three-bedroom units also available, Conway said. He was uncertain of how the housing might be priced or whether there was a specific market that might be targeted.

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

A sketch from developers shows initial plans for the 275 housing units that could be built at 383 Commercial St. in Portland on the former Rufus Deering Lumber Co. site.

Developers plan to tear down this two-family home at 218 Washington Ave. and replace it with a four-story, 45-unit condominium project.

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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.