Portland Planning Board to review Thompson's Point hotel plan

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PORTLAND — A long-planned hotel that is part of the redevelopment of Thompson’s Point is headed for a Planning Board workshop.

The workshop was supposed to be held Tuesday, but the blizzard anticipated for Tuesday and into Wednesday postponed the meeting until March 22, city spokeswoman Jessica Grondin announced Monday.

The five-story, 148-room hotel will be part of Marriott International, according to Jan. 3 comments at a neighborhood meeting by Chris Thompson of Forefront Partners.

The hotel was planned from the project’s outset and is a component of the master development plan approved by the Planning Board in 2014. The site has been shifted to the lot behind the Brick South building, which is used for events that include The Maine Flower Show.

The L-shaped hotel would link to Brick South at one end, and have a courtyard between the buildings. The hotel would also be across the access road from the outdoor concert venue and winter skating rink.

“We are excited to propose this multifaceted hotel and restaurant, which pays homage to the existing historical rail yard architecture,” project engineer Bo Kennedy said in a Sept. 25, 2017, letter to city officials.

With the change of sites, plans for 24 condominium units on the top floor were also scrapped, Kennedy said.

The shift from residential units follows a trend, as the Planning Board also approved the first two stages of development at the former Rufus Deering Lumber Co. site on 383 Commercial St. that substitutes a 132-room boutique hotel for 70 housing units. Developers there still plan to build 211 housing units.

According to Jan. 3 neighborhood meeting minutes, Thompson said he hopes construction can begin this spring and be completed by late summer 2019. The hotel and new Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine could be built at the same time.

If granted approval by the Planning Board, the hotel would add a second wave of hotel construction that could already add 600 rooms to city lodging. The 178-room AC Hotel by Marriott at 158 Fore St. is expected to open this spring.

An 86-room Hampton Inn is under construction at 1210 Brighton Ave. near the Maine Turnpike. It will replace a former Travelodge and is expected to open next year.

The Hilton brand could also expand with plans filed for a 126-room Home2 Suites at 203 Fore St., next to an existing Hampton Inn.

In January, developer David Bateman said he will be back at the Planning Board seeking a change of use permit in order to build a 93-room hotel on Fisherman’s Wharf.

The master development plan outlining the redevelopment of 30 acres on Thompson’s Point, which sits at the Fore River near Interstate 295 and behind the Portland Transportation Center, also calls for retail and medical office space, an arena and a parking garage.

The arena could someday be home to the Maine Red Claws, an NBA development team now playing at the Portland Expo.

The Brick South building has been open for rentals for about a year. The Brick North building is now home to varied businesses, including Cellar Door Winery, Bissell Brothers Brewing Company, and the International Cryptozoology Museum.

Thompson’s Point was turned into a tax increment finance zone with a credit enhancement agreement where portions of increased property valuations will be rebated to developers for 30 years, through 2044. The city is using its share of increased valuations to improve public transportation.

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

Developers at Thompson’s Point would like to build a 148-room hotel in the space adjacent to the Brick South building.

The overview of the proposed 148-room hotel on Thompson’s Point places it between the Brick South event center and concert venue also used as a winter skating rink.

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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.