Scarborough Downs owner puts 400 acres up for sale

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SCARBOROUGH — Approximately 400 acres next to Scarborough Downs, owned by racetrack owner Sharon Terry, are for sale.

The harness racing track, which has struggled to remain profitable during the economy and has tried unsuccessfully several times to bring a racino to Scarborough, is considering moving to Biddeford, where a racino proposal will go before voters in November.

However, the sale of the property, near Maine Turnpike Exit 42 between Route 1, Haigis Parkway and Payne Road, is not contingent on the race track’s move to Biddeford.

“This does not include the track itself,” said Andrew Ingalls of CBRE/The Boulos Co., which listed the property. “None of this land has been developed.”

However, Ingalls said, if a developer were interested in the entire parcel, including the track, the owner would consider that, depending on the outcome of the vote in Biddeford.

Boulos is marketing the land in three sections, ranging in price from $50,000 to $75,000 per buildable acre.

Of the 400 acres listed, 223 acres are buildable. The remaining acreage includes wetlands and other unbuildable land.

The land falls under two zones: B-2, the most liberal commercial zone in Scarborough, and the Haigis Parkway Zone, which is more limited and encourages high-tech office space.

“It’s very important this develops well for Scarborough,” Harvey Rosenfeld, the president of the Scarborough Economic Development Corp., said. “This area has a lot of potential.”

While the property has been optioned several times before, no serious development plans have ever materialized.

“The recession has put everything on hold,” Rosenfeld said. “People want to do things, but they’re waiting.”

Rosenfeld said some of the developers that have optioned the property in the past have not been thrilled about the prospect of an on-site or nearby racino.

“It was mostly mixed-use, retail and office space. For those developers, a racino did not fit in,” he said.

Much of the property is in the B-2 zone, which could open it up for big-box stores and large retail development. But the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee is currently reviewing changes to the Zoning Ordinance that would limit the size of retail buildings.

“If they did make that change,” Rosenfeld said, “the town could still consider a contract zone.”

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net

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