Eleven developers have submitted offers to buy up to six parcels of city-owned land in the Portland’s Bayside neighborhood, which sits between the downtown area and Interstate 295.

However, the names of those developers, how much they’re offering and their development plans for the prime real estate is being kept confidential at the developers’ request, according to Greg Mitchell, the city’s economic development director.

“These are well-established developers,” Mitchell said. “We’re in the early stages of reviewing this.”

The process for selling the Bayside properties is different from the one used for the city’s gravel parking lot near the Eastern Waterfront. For the Thames Street lot, the city issued a request for proposals, which were immediately made public once they were opened. In the case of Bayside, the city hired CBRE|The Boulos Co. to market and broker the land sale.

The Bayside properties hit the market in April and the deadline for offers was May 16.

City officials have long considered the redevelopment of the former Public Works properties, totaling 4.1 acres, as being transformational for the Bayside neighborhood. Over the last year, the city had been looking to address longstanding issues in the neighborhood, stemming from a high concentration of social services, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and people openly drinking and doing drugs on the street. And next year’s budget includes additional resources for community policing in the area.

The City Council’s Economic Development Committee reviewed the offers last Tuesday in executive session. City Councilor David Brenerman, who leads the committee, said he would like the committee to choose the two best proposals for each lot to make public and then allow residents to weigh in.

“On behalf of the committee, I think we’re pleased to see this amount of interest in redeveloping the former Public Works properties. We think it will transform that neighborhood in a very positive way,” Brenerman said. “We haven’t decided which developers we will choose. That process will involve public comment and the public will get to see the more significant proposals before we move forward with negotiations.”

The properties are located at 55 Portland St., 44 Hanover St., 56 Parris St., 82 Hanover St., 65 Hanover St., and 178 Kennebec St.

Mitchell said the proposals comply with existing zoning, which in some cases allows for 105-foot tall buildings, and generally call for a mix of housing, retail and commercial uses.

Several proposals look to renovate and reuse some of the existing buildings, such as the former General Store at 82 Hanover St., Mitchell said, with some proposals being similar to trends in East Bayside, including “everything from coffee shops to breweries, including small incubator spaces for businesses.”

Mitchell said a few offers include proposals for more than one parcel. For example, one developer was interested in four of the parcels, while another wanted all six. He said there was “a very high level of interest from local developers.”

Mitchell said housing – including affordable housing – is contemplated on only three of the six parcels, mostly because the other sites are likely contaminated by former industrial uses of the land. An office use was proposed for 55 Portland St., which currently houses Public Works administration, he said.

“There was quite a bit of creativity presented in each offer,” Mitchell said. “There were some very thoughtful reuse proposals. For proposals that include more than one site, there was clear indication how they would be integrated to have the public impact we’d like to see down there. I’m pleased and kind of delighted to see that level of creativity presented with the offers.”

The Economic Development Committee will likely meet again in executive session in June to discuss the proposals. It’s unclear when details will be made public.

“We’re going to try to move as quickly as we can towards providing information for committee’s direction and discussion,” Mitchell said. “This is one of our top priorities.”

Proceeds from the sale would help finance the relocation of the city’s Public Works Department out to Canco Road.

Randy Billings can be reached at 791-6346 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @randybillings

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