A real estate investment firm is putting one of Portland’s prime undeveloped waterfront lots on the market, along with an adjacent parking garage.

Boston-based Intercontinental Real Estate Corp. is selling a 1.3-acre vacant lot between the Ocean Gateway garage and Commercial Street, just across the street from the city’s Ocean Gateway passenger terminal.

Paul Nasser, chief operating and finance officer for Intercontinental Real Estate, said the company wants to capitalize on commercial sales activity in the city.

“Portland is red hot, and the market has come back very nicely,” he said, “and this is a nice time to reintroduce the asset for sale.”

Development there would be good news for the city because it would connect the Old Port and India Street neighborhoods with the Portland Company complex, a former locomotive factory that is being developed as a mixed-use project, said Jeff Levine, the city’s planning and urban development director.

“It’s clearly an important parcel, and it’s right on the waterfront,” he said.

He said several developers have contacted City Hall with informal inquires about the parcel, but no one has filed any applications.

The lot has been vacant for years. In 2006, the city approved a project for the site with 125 condominiums, 25,000 square feet of retail space and an underground parking garage, but the project was stalled by the recession, as were several other projects in the area. Those approvals have since expired and a new developer would have to submit a new development plan.

A neighborhood association has been working with city planners to develop new design and zoning rules to foster development projects that would fit in with the area. The current zoning allows for buildings to be 65 feet tall; most of the buildings in the area are two or three stories tall, said Hugh Nazor, president of the India Street Neighborhood Association. Under the tentative new rules, a developer would be encouraged to build a structure that is “permeable” and provides pedestrian access through it, Nazor said. The plan is scheduled to go to the City Council next month.

“The desire is to not have a monolith, block-filling building,” he said, but rather a structure that can be substantial and compatible with smaller buildings in the area.

Intercontinental Real Estate is also selling the seven-story Ocean Gateway Garage, built in 2008, as part of the same sale.

Nazor said residents should not be surprised that the properties are for sale. A year ago, Intercontinental Real Estate said it would begin selling the property after it settled a lawsuit filed six years earlier over ownership of the Ocean Gateway Garage.

The court-approved settlement gave Fred Forsley, president and co-owner of Shipyard Brewing Co., ownership of two parcels next to the garage, while Intercontinental Real Estate retained ownership of the garage and the vacant lot across Fore Street.

Forsley, Intercontinental Real Estate and local developer Drew Swenson formed a partnership to build the Ocean Gateway parking garage, part of a nearly 2-acre mixed-use development that city officials hoped would be an economic catalyst for the eastern waterfront.

Nasser said Monday that Intercontinental Real Estate is selling the property now because the project was part of an investment vehicle with an impending maturity date, and the company would miss that deadline if it developed the site itself.

The property later this week will be listed by Frank O’Connor at NAI The Dunham Group and Jones Lang LaSalle of Boston.

O’Connor said the property has some of the best water views in the city.

“It really is one of the best development sites on the peninsula right now,” he said.

The garage and the vacant lot are for sale as a package and won’t be sold separately. There is no listing price, said O’Connor.

The 720-space garage is assessed by the city at $9.6 million. More that half of the spaces have long-term leases. The vacant lot is assessed at $1 million.


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