Portland markets Bayside properties, waterfront land

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PORTLAND — Peter Wool was knuckle-deep in bicycle spokes as he considered the future of West Bayside on April 12.

“I like there being a kind of industrial part of town,” he said. “It is kind of untouched, ungentrified.”

Wool and Karyn Jenkins have owned Port City Bikes for almost seven years at 82 Parris St., selling, renting and repairing bicycles.

“We didn’t want to be at the bottom or top of a big hill,” Jenkins said.

Port City Bikes is now near the center of “a rare urban infill development opportunity,” in the words of a 22-page marketing brochure produced by the city for CRBE/The Boulos Co. 

Plainly speaking, that means six parcels of city-owned land on 4 acres are on the market, although the broker has not listed a price for any of them.

The invitation to bid comes as the city is also accepting requests for proposals for 2.5 acres on Thames Street now used as a parking lot. Responses for Thames Street are scheduled to be opened May 4.

All the land sales have been contemplated for years.

Extending from Portland to Kennebec streets, and tucked between Parris and Alder streets, the Bayside land was once home to the Department of Public Works.

The idea to shift Public Works operations from Bayside was part of a 2000 master plan for the neighborhood, and the city sought bids for one of the parcels, at 52 Alder and 65 Hanover streets, two years ago before councilors decided against giving the land to Avesta Housing for development.

Most DPW operations have shifted to 250 Canco Road. Public Works Director Chis Branch said all that remains in Bayside are administrative offices at 55 Portland St., and some of the fleet service operations, based between Parris and Hanover streets.

Land sales, including the land and buildings for Bayside Bowl on Alder Street, have already funded a portion of the purchases on Canco Road, and additional proceeds could pay for the full conversion of the Canco Road property. Without funding from land sales, finishing Canco Road might require a referendum vote because the total cost has been estimated at $8 million.

Two parcels bordering Kennebec Street are in a B7 zone, allowing for mixed uses in buildings up to three stories high. There is also no limit on residential density in the zone. The remaining four are in a B2b zone, which allows many of the same mixed uses, excluding hotels, with residential density capped at 100 units per acre. Building heights are also capped at three stories.

Memos show the Economic Development Committee, led by Councilor David Brenerman, will review the bids in executive session before having a public hearing on any potential sales. Any sale requires full council approval, where there would also be a public hearing preceding a vote.

Wool and Jenkins said they had made friends with city employees working in the neighborhood, and hoped redevelopment would not price them out of the shop that fits their business well.

“I’m just hoping we get to keep this space for a while, spaces are not cheap in Portland,” Wool said.

On the waterfront

On Thames Street, the city land is in a B-6 mixed use zone, adjacent to the former Portland Co. complex at 58 Fore St. Applicants are required to provide conceptual sketches and a time line for development, while also showing how they would replace 150 parking spaces used for city vehicles.

Criteria for the RFP uses a 100-point scale, with 25 points each for how development fits in the Eastern Waterfront Master Plan and benefits the city, 20 points for the purchase price, and 15 points each for “Additional Financial Benefits to the City” and the experience and capacity for bidders to develop the land.

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

Port City Bikes co-owner Peter Wool has been in business for seven years at 82 Parris St. in Portland and hopes Bayside redevelopment will not make his space too expensive.

An overview from a CBRE/The Boulos Co. sales brochure details six Bayside parcels in Portland, between Kennebec Street, left, and Park Avenue that are up for bid until May 12.

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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.