August 6, 2013

Two Portland waterfront deals lack key piece

But the developer and others hope to extend the railroad tracks 1,500 feet, which would make a world of difference for the western waterfront.

By Tom Bell
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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After selling the Portland Company complex on the eastern waterfront, Phineas Sprague Jr. is planning to build a boatyard on the western side off Commercial Street, shown above at left.

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PDF: Portland's eastern waterfront masterplan

Henshaw would not say how much money the state would spend, but said he is optimistic that the Department of Transportation has enough to acquire the right-of-way and extend the tracks.

He said funding to expand the container terminal and develop a cold-storage warehouse depends on a new transportation bond approved by the Legislature. He said those elements are not as urgent as the rail extension and could take several years to develop.

The state has spent $8.5 million in recent years, including $5 million in federal stimulus funds, to transform the International Marine Terminal from a multi-use terminal to a container terminal. Henshaw said investment in the terminal creates jobs statewide because a Maine-based container service lowers shipping costs and makes the state's manufacturers more competitive.  

Sprague said he's eager to make a deal with the state, since Eimskip's success would benefit the entire port.

He plans to start building the boatyard in the spring, but he will erect primarily tension-fabric structures that can be moved if the state buys the land for a cold storage warehouse.

To make room for the warehouse, Sprague said, he would move the boatyard to the west and would need additional land from the railroad to have enough space.

Sprague said he wants "fair" compensation for the land he has bought and rights to cross the railroad right-of-way to his property.

"I am not trying to create a mess," he said. "I am trying to create solutions."

Officials from Pan Am Railways could not be reached for comment Monday.


Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at:


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Additional Photos

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Last week’s sale of the Portland Company Marine Complex on Fore Street, above, allowed Phineas Sprague Jr. to move ahead with his plan to build a boatyard on Portland’s western waterfront.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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Phineas Sprague Jr. says “I am trying to create solutions” for development of the waterfront.

John Patriquin/2013 Press Herald file


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