Parkside project set for Portland Planning Board hearing

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PORTLAND — Avesta Housing’s plan to add 80 housing units in Parkside will face a Wednesday, Dec. 13, hearing before the Planning Board.

Deering Place would consist of 27 apartments at 61 Deering St., plus 33 new apartments, renovations to 13 and turning existing commercial space into seven apartments in a building at 510 Cumberland Ave.

The plans were last reviewed by the city Historic Preservation Committee on Nov. 29.

On Nov. 27, city councilors unanimously approved allocating $300,000 for the project from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOME funds. The City Council also established a tax increment finance zone with a credit enhancement agreement that returns 75 percent of increased property tax assessments to the nonprofit for 30 years.

When completed, the anticipated valuation of Deering Place will be $7 million. Avesta, as it has done with TIFs at other sites, including 17 Carleton St. and 134 Washington Ave., will use the rebates to offset construction and operating costs.

On Dec. 13, the Planning Board will review the site plan and conditional use for inclusionary zoning, which sets aside 10 percent of new housing units for affordable housing in projects with 10 or more units.

Avesta’s plans extend beyond the scope of inclusionary zoning, as 48 of 80 proposed units will be targeted to renters earning no more than 50 percent of the area median income as listed with the Maine State Housing Authority.

Within those guidelines, five of 12 planned two-bedroom units and eight of 13 planned three-bedroom units will be targeted to renters earning no more than 40 percent of the area median income.

Of the 32 units planned for rent at market rates, 23 are one-bedroom, six are efficiency units, and three would have two bedrooms.

Unlike housing developed at 17 Carleton St. and 134 Washington Ave., Deering Place would offer housing for larger families, with a total of 25 units having either two or three bedrooms.

Plans call for extending the 510 Cumberland Ave. building to the corner of Mellen Street, with 59 parking spaces beneath the new housing. Five spaces would be part of new construction at 61 Deering St.

The development budget of $15.7 million would bring funding from HUD, MSHA, and an anticipated $7.17 million in low-income housing tax credits provided by the IRS to lure investors to develop low-income housing.

The credits are passed on through MSHA; the Deering Place plan is currently on a wait list and new applications are due in February. Avesta also expects to finance Deering Place by selling the building at 73 Deering St. for at least $500,000. 

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

A conceptual sketch of new housing planned for 61 Deering St., Portland, as part of a $15.7 million development proposed by Avesta Housing.

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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.