A Portland-based development company is recruiting tenants for a proposed retail mall in the city’s Bayside neighborhood.

Joseph Porta, who is marketing the site at 45 Marginal Way on behalf of the property’s owners, Northland Enterprises, said the project will include a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant and a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee shop. Chipotle is a chain with restaurants in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and in two other European countries.

A third tenant – described only as a national retailer by Porta – has expressed interest in leasing the remaining space, which totals more than 4,400 square feet.

“Century Plaza” would be built on the site of the former Century Tire store, which closed last winter. The tire store was sold to another entity before it ended up under Northland’s ownership, Porta said.

Northland Enterprises has undertaken a number of high-profile projects, including the $4.6 million renovation of the Baxter Library building at 619 Congress St. in Portland. The former site of the Portland Public Library is now occupied by an advertising agency known as the VIA Group.

Porta, a real estate broker for The Boulos Company, said the Marginal Way site’s high traffic volume and visibility from Interstate 295, Forest Avenue and Marginal Way make it appealing to businesses. “It’s prime-time exposure,” he said.

“We are trying to create a premium retail product,” Porta said Monday. “Bayside is certainly up and coming. It’s one of the last empty canvasses left in Portland where you can paint new construction.”

City officials said they have heard about the proposed development but would be unable to comment in detail until they have seen a formal plan.

Jeff Levine, Portland’s planning and urban development director, said he expects the project will have to undergo site plan review by the Planning Board. Given the board’s current caseload, Levine said the review might not occur until late February or March.

A description of the Century Plaza property, listed on The Boulos Company website, says construction will begin in May with an opening date of January 2016. The building will have frontage on Marginal Way and Kennebec Street.

The description says tenants will join several other major area retailers that operate on or near Marginal Way. They include Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, Planet Fitness, Eastern Mountain Sports, Verizon Wireless and Gorham Savings Bank.

Levine said from what he knows of the proposed development, the mall will not include a drive-thru window for Chipolte or Dunkin’ Donuts and will bring the businesses closer to the street.

“It will therefore improve the pedestrian experience on Marginal Way,” Levine said in an email.

The proposal calls for five parking spaces for each 1,000 square feet of space in the development, which would be nearly 5,800 square feet in total.

One of the co-founders of Keep Portland Livable, which was formed to change or halt development of the “midtown” project in Bayside, said the Century Plaza proposal raises some concerns.

Peter Monro, a landscape architect whose business is located in Bayside, said Monday night that although he was unfamiliar with the Century Plaza project, “you are basically creating a strip mall on Marginal Way that doesn’t create good, high-paying jobs.”

If workers don’t get paid well, they will be unable to afford rental or permanent housing in the city, Monro said, meaning only the wealthiest individuals and families could afford to live in Portland. His group wants the city to lure more research and development companies and educational institutions, which he says will be able to pay higher, livable wages.

Century Tire Co., whose landmark sign read “We Keep You Rolling,” closed in February after 88 years in business. Founded as the Deering Tire Co., Century Tire was the oldest family-owned tire company in New England. At one time it had four locations in the Portland area.

The Century Tire building and land are assessed by the city at $1.4 million.


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