Slow-to-start Bay House project nears completion in Portland's India Street neighborhood
PORTLAND — With construction of the initial portion of The Bay House housing complex nearing completion, developers are preparing to begin the project's second phase.
Plans call for the complex to to include a mix of market-rate condominiums, apartments, retail space and parking in the area bordered by Hancock, India, Middle and Newbury streets.
A site plan application was filed July 16 with the Planning Department to construct a four-story building at the western corner of Hancock and Newbury streets. The building would contain 39 units, including seven townhouses on the ground floor. A total of 42 parking spaces would be created under and behind the building.
The developer, Atlas Investment Group, has asked that the application be considered by the Planning Board in its Aug. 13 meeting, but it's unclear if the project will be on the agenda.
The site is now used as a staging area for the project's first phase, which broke ground last September.
Nearby, along Middle Street, workers are already finishing construction of that portion of the complex, which includes an underground parking garage and two adjacent buildings containing 94 units.
Those units, with prices ranging from $200,000 to over $585,000, will be ready for occupancy in December, according to Sandy Johnson, a real estate agent representing the developer.
The Bay House has been in the works since 2006. But with the nationwide collapse of the housing market, plans were put on hold. The project also seemed to attract controversy: Neighbors objected to earlier plans for a much larger development, and some members of the City Council opposed the creation of a $650,000 tax increment financing district that was sought by developers.
The tax break was granted last summer, and since then the neighborhood seems to have come to terms with the project.
"Overall, there's a positive feeling about it," Hugh Nazor, of the India Street Neighborhood Association, said. "What we need most here is feet on the street, people in the neighborhood 24 hours a day, and this helps do that."
The second phase of the project will be easier for neighbors to deal with because of its smaller scale, he said. And while there have been some complaints about inconveniences caused by the construction, the general feeling in the area is optimistic.
"This is a very good project for meeting the needs of certain demographic groups," Nazor said. "All in all, it's a benefit to the neighborhood."