For years, Greater Portland has left money on the table, losing convention business to other cities around the nation because it lacks the right combination of hotel rooms and meeting space that planners look for.

There have been many proposals to fill that void, but none has come off the drawing board because of the lack of public support needed to get the projects completed.

The latest plan, however, is the most promising. The Forefront at Thompson’s Point, proposed by Jon Jennings and William J. Ryan of the Maine Red Claws basketball franchise, would not require the public debt that killed a proposed Bayside facility in 2000 or a public-option sales tax, which made a Congress Street proposal a political nonstarter in 2006.

The $100 million Forefront development would be built with all private financing with the exception of a not-yet-negotiated tax break from the city, needed to pay for infrastructure improvements that make the project viable.

Tax increment financing is a public commitment, but it can be justified in worthwhile projects that have broad public benefits and that could not be done otherwise. This is one of those projects. The developers propose building offices, a hotel, a performance space and an event center that would serve as both the home of the Red Claws and a concert venue sized to attract acts that do not come to Portland due to a lack of a suitable facility.

The location is a clear selling point. In addition to its easy access to Interstate 295, with an already constructed highway interchange for both north and southbound traffic, it is also adjacent to a transportation center serviced by Concord Trailways bus service and Amtrak train service to Boston. It is within sight of the now-under-expansion Portland International Jetport, making it an easy trip for business travelers who could come for conventions or trade shows and patronize city businesses.

The plan also provides something Portland needs — jobs. A study by the developer estimates 1,230 construction jobs and 455 permanent ones.

An alternative convention center proposal for the Portland waterfront and plans to renovate the Cumberland County Civic Center show that there is a need for more performance and meeting space. The Thompson’s Point proposal looks like the right combination to give the region what it needs.