A Gorham contractor is hoping to capitalize on two local phenomena – the rental housing shortage and the bowling craze.

Great Falls Construction has plans for a five-story building in Gorham Village, the town center, with a bowling alley on the first floor and about 30 market-rate apartments in the three floors above. The top floor would be partially built out for a wine bar where people could have private parties, said developers Jon and Cynthia Smith.

On Monday, the Gorham Planning Board will discuss a contract zone for the property on Railroad Avenue that would address the project’s height and density, which are unprecedented in the town center.

But the Smiths, who own the 3-acre site behind the Hannaford store, see the bowling alley and apartments as needed additions to the area.

“It’s an activity and something to do in Gorham Village, and it really spans across all ages,” Jon Smith said about bowling, a sport that has gained popularity in the Portland area in recent years despite its decline nationally.

The local craze is prompting Bayside Bowl, which opened in 2010, to add eight lanes to its Portland alley this year, despite another 10-pin bowling alley, Easy Day, having opened across the Casco Bay Bridge in South Portland in 2014.

And a new candlepin bowling alley in Westbrook, where there are already two others, is set to open in May, according to owner Tod Lyter.

The Smiths said they are looking for an operator to run a 10-pin alley with eight to 10 lanes, a restaurant and a bar, and there also would be space for other retail or office tenants on the building’s first floor. They believe the bowling alley would appeal to a wide demographic of Gorham residents, including children, college students and senior citizens.

As for the apartments, the Smiths think they would be filled with younger, childless tenants who want to live in a village center, and empty-nesters looking to downsize from their houses on the outskirts of town.

They have good reason to believe the apartments would rent quickly. As soon as word got around town about the proposed project, which they would like to finish by fall 2017, people started calling to ask about a waiting list. It now has three or four people on it, the Smiths said.

The need for more housing in and around Portland was the subject of a meeting last month attended by officials from the city and its suburbs, who spoke about the efforts they were making to help meet the demand.

Although Gorham wasn’t included in the forum, the Smiths’ building was the type of project that officials from other towns said they were hoping to attract.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published a report in February that showed a need for 6,000 new housing units in the next three years in the area encompassing York, Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties.

Two-thirds of the units should be for sale and the other 2,000 should be rentals concentrated around Portland, according to the report, which was presented at the meeting.

As of last fall there were 1,300 units under construction – 850 units to be sold and 450 to be rented, the report said.

A major roadblock noted by officials at the meeting was opposition to housing projects from neighbors worried about the impact on views, traffic and property values.

Some Cape Elizabeth residents have voiced concerns about traffic and safety problems that could arise from a medical office and apartment complex with 10 townhouse-style units planned for its town center, where rental housing hasn’t been built in decades.

Tom Ellsworth, director of the Gorham Economic Development Corp., said he hasn’t heard complaints about the Smiths’ plans yet, but he could see the planned height of the building causing concern.

“It would tower over just about everything else,” he said.

Ellsworth believes the project, which he called “exciting,” will have the support of town officials, but they have to take the neighbors’ opinions into consideration.

“It’s probably going to block somebody’s view. It’s probably going to cast a shadow over somebody’s house,” he said. “The public can be very persuasive.”

However, Ellsworth said, Great Falls has an excellent reputation in town, where the Smiths have been responsible for numerous projects, notably the new building in front of Hannaford that houses a Subway sandwich shop and Aroma Joe’s Coffee shop. The building replaced a former gas station, a longtime and oft-lamented eyesore in the village.

Ellsworth said “the community is ecstatic” about that building, and he imagines whatever the Smiths plan to do on Railroad Avenue would be similarly attractive.

“If there’s anybody who is going to be able to make it work,” he said, it’s them.

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