Portland’s Economic Development Committee is recommending that the city sell four parcels in the West Bayside neighborhood for nearly $4 million.

The committee voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of the land sales, which could potentially bring more than 100 units of housing to Bayside and neighboring Parkside.

The committee’s recommendation on the four parcels must go to the full City Council for approval.

It comes as the city continues to experience a shortage of housing, including affordable housing, and as the neighborhood struggles with issues associated with the high concentration of social service providers and homeless people there.

The parcels used to house the city’s Public Works operation, which is being moved to Canco Road. Eleven developers submitted development proposals for the properties.

City Councilor David Brenerman, who leads the committee, said Wednesday that it approved the land-sale agreements with only minor amendments to ensure that the final projects reflect the original development proposals.

Those amendments still need the approval of the buyers before the land sales go to the council for approval, which could happen in October.

“If there are any problems, we will table it when we get to the council, but we expect we will be able to move forward with all of them,” Brenerman said.

“I think this is the next big step in creating a multi-use neighborhood in this part of Bayside. It’s pretty exciting to get this moving.”

The committee has been discussing several proposals to redevelop the city land since May. With one exception, the committee supported the city staff’s original recommendations.

Instead of selling 65 Hanover St. to Rory Strunk for a food studio, the committee chose another bidder, Barrett Made. The design and building firm, now at Union Wharf, will pay $1.1 million for the property.

The company would relocate its business to the existing brick building, while adding space for business incubators, including a 20-bench workshop called a makers’ space that would be available to members 24 hours a day.

The proposal includes solar panels on the roof and envisions a second phase that could add 25 units of housing on an adjacent lot.

“Generally speaking, we liked the proposal better. It’s as simple as that,” Brenerman said. “Also Barrett Made had a specific proposal for housing that the other project only hinted at.”

Developer Nathan Szanton and Bayside landowner Ross Furman are being recommended to buy and develop a 0.22-acre parcel at 178 Kennebec St. for $250,000.

That small parcel is surrounded by property Furman already owns, allowing the development of the entire block bounded by Kennebec, Parris, Brattle and Lancaster streets.

For the first phase, they are proposing 50 units of housing – a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units – over ground level retail and/or artists’ space at 178 Kennebec St.

Thirty-five percent of the units would be market rate, while 65 percent would be affordable to people making 60 percent of area median income or less.

Developer Jack Soley has agreed to pay $175,000 for a 0.23-acre lot at 56 Parris St. He plans to build a four-story condo building aimed at middle-income earners called the Periscope Lofts. It would have at least 20 one-bedroom condos that would be sold for less than $200,000.

“His is a new kind of concept – small condos and basically creating homeownership in that neighborhood basically at affordable prices,” Brenerman said.

“We’ll see if that concept works. He’s really committed to it and it is not something we have really seen in this neighborhood.”

A 1.25-acre parcel at 82 Hanover St. to Tom Watson & Co. LLC. Watson, who owns Port Property Management, wants to relocate his office from Parkside to Bayside, which would free up 104 Grant St. for redevelopment from a single-story building to a four-story building with 23 apartments.

In Bayside, Watson proposed adding retail space in the old General Store building, as well as rooftop decks and open spaces for public use.

Eleven developers originally responded to the city’s request for proposals, but the city only released nine proposals publicly.

Housing advocates criticized the proposals in public hearings, but Brenerman said that only one resident spoke Tuesday night.

Mayor Ethan Strimling criticized the response, saying there wasn’t enough housing included and suggested that the city put some of the parcels out to bid again.

Strimling backed away from that position in an interview Wednesday and said he was pleased that the committee turned down the staff recommendation for the food studio and went with the Barrett Made proposal, which included about 25 units of housing in a future phase.

“I feel like this is going in the right direction,” Strimling said. The important thing is to get as much housing built in that area as possible, he said.

The roughly $3.8 million in projected revenue has already been earmarked to defray the cost of moving the city’s Public Works Department from the parcels to Canco Road.

The committee has yet to make a recommendation for the two remaining city-owned parcels in Bayside.

Brenerman said that’s because the property line between 55 Portland St. and 44 Hanover St. is being adjusted.

Once that is finalized, the parcels will be reappraised before the committee makes its recommendation, he said.

In addition to needing council approval, each project will need site plan approvals from the Planning Board before breaking ground.

Randy Billings can be reached at 791-6346 or at:

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