PORTLAND – Where there are now storage trailers, a bulldozer and construction equipment, there would be a 125-room hotel.

Where there’s now a dusty entrance road, there would be a 718-space parking garage.

And the unkempt shrubbery that blocks the view of the Fore River would be replaced by a well-manicured landscape with great views.

So went Tuesday’s walk-through of Thompson’s Point, during which developers of the $105 million Forefront project showed the Portland Planning Board exactly where certain structures would be.

Steve Bushey, a civil engineer from Deluca-Hoffman Associates who’s working on the project, led the tour of about 25 people, which included reporters, architects, politicians, Planning Board members and residents.

Harold Stilphen of Grant Street seemed impressed by the scale of the project.

“What a site, huh?” he said. “I didn’t know there was this much land down here. They’re going to do a lot of building.”

Bushey focused much of the afternoon on traffic control. He said the developers would widen the Thompson’s Point Connector, which connects the development to the Fore River Parkway and Interstate 295, from two to three lanes.

The middle lane would be reversible. With traffic coming into large events, two lanes would carry it toward the entrance. After, traffic would have two lanes flowing toward the exit. The developers also would add 8-foot-wide walkways.

Other improvements include adding a third lane on the I-295 exits onto the Fore River Parkway and Congress Street, and adding “queue detectors” on the off-ramps, to detect when traffic is backing up onto the highway.

The detectors would take control of the traffic lights and turn them green until the backup is alleviated, said Tom Gorrill, another civil engineer who is working on the project.

Chris Thompson, one of the project’s three principal partners, said the three lanes should keep traffic flowing.

Bushey also talked about new access to the waterfront at the tip of Thompson’s Point, which would enable kayakers and boaters to reach the water.

The Forefront would include a concert hall, an outdoor amphitheater, a sports medicine facility, multiple office buildings, a restaurant, a hotel and the parking garage.

The Planning Board will vote later this year whether to approve the development’s site plan. If they get the necessary permits, the developers expect to start demolition and construction by spring.

Phase 1 of the project would take 18 to 24 months, said Jon Jennings, one of the principal partners, though the office buildings and hotel may open in less time.

Bill Ryan Jr. is the project’s third principal partner.

Staff Writer Jason Singer can be contacted at 791-6437 or at: [email protected]


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