Portland sees home for Public Services on Canco Road

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PORTLAND — The future of the city Department of Public Services may be on Canco Road, but how the future is shaped will depend on voters.

Councilors last week recommended authorizing an agreement to buy the former PepsiCo warehouse and offices at 250 Canco Road, as well as taking on $3.4 million in debt to buy the 69,000-square-foot building on 5.1 acres.

“This is a superior option to all the other locations I have seen,” Economic Development Director Greg Mitchell said at a June 11 meeting of the City Council Finance Committee.

The recommendations from the Finance, and Housing and Community Development committees, still face full City Council votes. Mitchell hopes to have full council approval by July 20 to finish the deal with Somers, New York,-based Bottling Group LLC.

“This is an incredible opportunity, there is a shortage of industrial properties on the marketplace,” Mitchell told the HCDC committee June 10, adding the owners have already turned down one offer for the property, which is vacant and has been on the market since January.

The $3.4 million spending authorization would cover the $2.7 million purchase price and redevelopment of Canco and Quarry roads properties, which would be combined with the buildings and land at 212 Canco Road.

The actual cost to buy and redevelop is $4.33 million, Mitchell estimated, but is also offset by $930,000 in proceeds from sales of land on Riverside Street, the former Adams School, and the DPS salt and sand storage areas at 65 Hanover St. and 52 Alder St.

The purchase would be combined with an approved lease and purchase agreement for the former Nelson & Small appliance distributorship at 212 Canco Road, and a possible land swap with developers J.B. Brown.

The land swap would give the city about four acres of land on Quarry Road in exchange for three acres of tax-acquired land on Cornell Street, behind the J.B. Brown site. The city would also allow truck access through the DPS property to J.B. Brown tenants.

The result would be a 13-acre site to hold all the DPS operations now housed in Bayside, although 212 Canco Road will not be fully available until 2018.

The separate purchases of Canco Road land are not costly enough to trigger referendum votes under the City Charter, but the estimated $8 million needed to fully convert the 250 Canco Road building for city fleet services operations will have to go to the polls.

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

Two City Council committees have recommended buying the former Pepsi Co. offices and warehouse at 250 Canco Road. The land and building would house some operations for the Public Services Department, but the full conversion would require a referendum vote.

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.