Proposals for development of Portland’s eastern waterfront area have a long history — but it’s a disappointing one, at least from the perspective of community boosters seeking the commercial equivalent of a miner striking a rich vein of gold.

That’s why no one should blame city officials for being more than cautious about yet another trial balloon being raised by an international developer who is expressing interest in a commercial development there.

After competition raged for years between developers Olympia Cos. and Ocean Properties, Inc., over dueling proposals for substantial improvements involving hotels, restaurants and office buildings on and around the Maine State Pier, all of which collapsed in (figurative) smoking ruins, it’s understandable that wariness exists in City Hall over raising expectations not just too high, but anywhere above sea level.

Still, expressions of initial interest in the area by Australian businessman Sebastian Monsour, whose Majella Enterprises is redoing the historic Williston West Church as a corporate headquarters for one of its subsidiaries, Global Majella Technologies, are as tantalizing as they are vague.

Monsour, along with his father Frank, overcame some resistance from neighbors to allow their enterprise to redo the historic church, has been meeting with some members of the City Council to explore waterfront expansion.

Still, Mayor Michael Brennan, who is scheduled to meet with Mansour today, expressed skepticism about a developer-led process.

He said earlier this week that a process based on the city’s master plan for the area would be preferable. That expectation seems realistic, especially considering the record of failure that has marked proposals there so far.

Since the property in question is outside the zone where water-related businesses have priority, the city plan would permit other options. And since the city is not going to swing a big commercial project on its own, there’s nothing wrong with talking things over with a deep-pocketed developer who says he and his father “have fallen in love the city and the state.”