A 45-unit condominium complex proposed in East Bayside faces a public hearing and possible vote in Portland on Tuesday.

South Portland developer Vincent Maietta said if the estimated $13 million project is approved, he plans to break ground next spring.

“We’ve had quite a bit of interest in it,” Maietta said. “It’s got fabulous sunset views over Back Cove and White Mountains and the city of Portland skyline.”

The condos at 218-220 Washington Ave. would be built in a four-story, 45-foot-tall building on steeply sloped land near the Interstate 295 off-ramp, across from the Eastern Promenade intersection with Washington Avenue. The site has a single-family house, which would be demolished.

It’s an example of how developers are looking to even the most challenging sites, including hillsides, to build housing to accommodate the demand to live on the city’s peninsula.

That housing demand has prompted a citywide debate over housing in Maine’s largest city. Even though Portland is seeing an influx of market-rate condos and apartments, many people are worried that a lack of affordable and low-income housing is pushing service workers, young professionals, students and artists out of the city.

That concern has led to two citywide referendums this fall: one would set limits on rent increases for the city’s existing housing stock, and the other would allow neighbors to block any zone changes to accommodate development.

City Councilor Belinda Ray, who represents the district, could not be reached Monday.

The project is not seeking a zone change, but Mark Noyes, who serves in the East Bayside Neighborhood Organization, said it has prompted some concerns about its size and height, given its prominent location on the hillside overlooking the neighborhood roughly bounded by Washington Avenue, Cumberland Avenue, Franklin Street and Marginal Way.

Although the neighborhood organization doesn’t take positions on specific developments, Noyes said he personally thinks that the project shows the number of opportunities in East Bayside, which is home to several breweries, coffee roasters and restaurants, while still offering opportunities for residential redevelopment.

“My personal opinion is that Portland’s ongoing housing shortage is an opportunity for every neighborhood,” Noyes said. “Today’s Washington Avenue looks very different than the one that existed when I moved to Portland 10 years ago. While I know not all our neighbors are as excited as I am about the changing face of East Bayside, I think the good for this neighborhood and this city clearly outweighs the bad.”

The proposed project includes 21 one-bedroom and 24 two-bedroom units. Maietta declined to provide projected sales prices, saying he is in the process of finalizing pricing.

The project would trigger the city’s inclusionary zoning ordinance. But instead of setting aside four units for middle-income earners, Maietta plans to take advantage of a buy-out provision and pay $461,000 into the city’s housing trust fund, according to a memo to the city’s Planning Board.

The board has already held two workshops on the project, which was first proposed in December. During the last meeting, board members raised concerns about the building’s roof design, how the building would look when viewed from above and buffering around the retaining wall.

There would be 45 parking spaces beneath the building. Primary access to the development, which is estimated to generate 20 additional peak vehicle trips daily, would be on Washington Avenue.

Despite those lingering concerns, Maietta said he believes the project, which has been under development for the last 2½ years, should be ready for a vote Tuesday.

“I think we’re at the finish line,” he said.

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

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