PORTLAND – The City Council approved a $31 million, 30-year tax break for a new development on Thompson’s Point early today and decided to set aside 25 percent of the money the city will receive, to be used for transit projects.

The council did not specify how it will use the transit money, although Councilor David Marshall pointed out it would be enough to pay for an express bus from the Portland International Jetport to the Portland Transportation Center – next to the proposed Thompon’s Point development – and then on to the Maine State Pier.

The tax break drew some opposition at the late-night public hearing, but a number of downtown development and transit officials praised the proposal, to be called The Forefront at Thompson’s Point, as a spur to economic development and a job creator.

The $100 million project will include two office buildings, a hotel, an arena/convention center, a concert hall and a parking garage. The developers said they need the tax break to cover higher costs due to the marine clay on the site, as well as a costly rail crossing. Their timeline calls for getting city and state approvals by the end of the year, with construction getting under way early next year.

The city will take in an estimated $26.4 million over 30 years, with 25 percent – or about $6.6 million in total – going toward transit.

Staff Writer Edward Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at: [email protected]

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