PORTLAND — Plans to redevelop nearly three acres of downtown property took a step forward Tuesday when the Planning Board endorsed a zoning change to allow a parking garage.

The zoning change would free up a parking area between the Old Port and West End neighborhoods for redevelopment. The property is near the Casco Bay Bridge and has frontage on Danforth, Maple and York streets. The rezoning proposal now goes to the City Council, which will have the final say.

The property at 101 York St. is now in two zones – residential and neighborhood business. Its owner, J.B. Brown & Sons, wants all of the property zoned as a downtown business zone, which would allow it to build a parking garage on what is now a vacant lot and construct buildings as tall as 45 feet.

The property is now home to the El Rayo Taqueria and Cantina. Both businesses are expected to be part of any redevelopment plan.

J.B. Brown President and Chief Executive Officer Vincent Veroneau said Wednesday that, if the zoning change is approved by the council, the company will begin evaluating its redevelopment options. Its goal is to draft a redevelopment proposal within the next two years, he said.

Since 1830, J.B. Brown & Sons has developed much of Congress Street, Commercial Street, the waterfront and the West End. Today, the company owns about 30 properties in Greater Portland, Veroneau said.

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


Twitter: @randybillings

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