Portland gets plans for Bayside, waterfront projects

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PORTLAND — Zoning changes and city land sales have led to two new site plans in Bayside and along West Commercial Street.

The first, for Parris Terraces, would bring 23 condominiums to a parking lot at 56 Parris St., sold by the city to developer Jack Soley last fall for $175,000.

A second plan is for businessman Phineas Sprague’s expansion of his boat repair business at 400 West Commercial St.

According to the plan summary filed last month, 20 of the proposed Parris Terraces units will be marketed at $200,000, meeting income guidelines for people earning 120 percent of the area median income of about $64,000 for two wage earners.

All units will be 400 square feet and have balconies. Applicants hoped to have the project placed on the Jan. 9 Planning Board agenda, but it will not be part of that meeting.

The sale agreement also requires developers to begin construction within a year or the city can buy the property back.

The parcel where Parris Terraces will be built is one of six in the area bounded by Parris, Kennebec, Alder and Portland streets sold or about to be sold by the city. The sale was approved by city councilors on Oct. 3.

Within the Bayside land sold to help fund the city’s shift of its Public Works Department to 250 Canco Road, a parcel at 178 Kennebec St. is also slated to become housing as part of a mixed-use development. Developers Ross Furman and Nathan Szanton have committed to marketing at least 30 of their 50 planned units to people making 60 percent or less of the area median income.

On Jan. 3, councilors are expected to vote on the $1.4 million sale of Public Works offices at 55 Portland St. to Ford Reiche. The closing would not come until Dec. 31, to give the department time to move out.

Commercial Street

Sprague plans to use the 18-acre Canal Landing complex for boat repairs and maintenance. It is adjacent to his Portland Yacht Services and the International Marine Terminal.

“The proposed project includes multiple buildings to be constructed over multiple phases along with expanded shorefront uses, including a marine travel lift basin, second boat ramp, floats/docks, new or reconstructed piers and ancillary support features,” according to the plan summary.

Sprague is seeking immediate Planning Board approval to clean and grade the site, build a 20,000-square-foot building for maintenance and repairs, a 2,400-square-foot building for storing racing shells, and a multi-story 4,800-square-foot office building.

Future plans, which could require separate site plan approvals, include rehabilitating existing pier pilings in the Fore River, a basin where boats can be lifted from the river, and 36,000 square feet of space for painting and fiberglass work.

Sprague’s plans come after city councilors approved new zoning regulations for the Waterfront Port Development Zone on Sept. 6. The zone essentially extends from the Casco Bay Bridge to Cassidy Point on the water side of Commercial Street, and increases the basic height allowance for buildings to 55 feet from 45 feet, with 75 feet allowed as a conditional use. South of West Commercial Street, heights can be 60 feet.

Sprague supported the zoning changes, since they would allow him to construct buildings better suited to working on boats, as opposed to the slanted roof found at his Portland Yacht Services building.

The zoning changes were a contentious process for some West End neighbors who worried about the effects of a planned cold storage warehouse adjacent to the International Marine Terminal that could be 75 feet tall.

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

New zoning rules have allowed Phineas Sprague to revise his plans to expand his boat repair and maintenance business at 400 West Commercial St.

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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.