November 13, 2013

Portland hires waterfront coordinator

Bill Needelman, who has been a city planner for nearly 15 years, will begin his new role Dec. 16.

By Randy Billings
Staff Writer

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Bill Needelman, a longtime planner for Portland, has been appointed city waterfront coordinator.

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Last week, Maine voters approved a $100 million transportation bond that includes funding for dredging, a new bus-rail transportation center at Thompson’s Point and a rail-line extension to the International Marine Terminal, where Eimskip wants to build a cold storage facility.

Also on the western waterfront, Phineas Sprague Jr. has permits to build a new boatyard near the Casco Bay Bridge.

Farther up the Fore River, a group of investors plans to build a $100 million mixed-used development on Thompson’s Point.

Earlier this year, Sprague sold his 10-acre Portland Co. complex on the eastern waterfront to CPB2, a Yarmouth-based development company led by Jim Brady and Casey Prentice. The developers have not announced any redevelopment plans, but the eastern waterfront has been the focus of an intense planning effort led by the city.

In addition to helping those developments clear regulatory hurdles, Rees said Needelman will promote Portland as a year-round destination for cruise ships.

In 2013, 59 cruise ships with a capacity of 74,250 passengers and more than 29,000 crew members called on Portland, primarily in August and September.

“I’m of the opinion we can do more with the cruise ship industry,” Rees said.

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

Twitter: @randybillings

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