The Portland Planning Board has given the go-ahead for a hotel and condominium project at the site of a former lumberyard on Commercial Street after the developers made some concessions on traffic concerns.

Board members on Wednesday unanimously approved a master plan from Reger Dasco Properties for 383 Commercial St. that includes a 139-room hotel and conference center, 211 residential units, street-level commercial and retail space, and parking. The project will be developed in three phases, beginning with the hotel and a 117-unit residential building, according to plans submitted to the city.

To get approval, Reger Dasco agreed to pay $45,000 toward a traffic corridor study of Commercial Street, preserve parking for waterfront workers during construction and help pay for a traffic signal at the intersection of Commercial and High streets, said Director of Planning and Urban Development Jeff Levine.

“They are making some pretty significant investments on transportation infrastructure,” Levine said.

In earlier meetings, Planning Board members raised concerns about the project’s impact on traffic congestion and the waterfront economy. Lobstermen and other commercial fishermen have urged the city to slow the pace of new waterfront housing and hotels, which they regard as a threat to their livelihood.

Reger Dasco still needs approval for each part of the development from the Planning Board before it can start construction, Levine said.


The company plans to break ground on the project next June, said Joe Dasco, a principal with Reger Dasco Properties. Additional traffic from the development is expected to be minimal – about a 4 percent increase on Commercial Street during rush hour, according to the developer’s traffic engineer. Nevertheless, it agreed to pay $150,000 toward a traffic signal at Commercial and High streets that was planned before the project was submitted, Dasco said. The company also intends to provide $50,000 toward a multi-use path along west Commercial Street in the third phase of the project, he said.

“We have done more than our fair share as far as contributions,” Dasco said. “Will it relieve concerns? I can’t speak for the Planning Board. This project, as large as it is, is deemed to have minimal impact, but it is a busy street and that has been the issue from day one.”

Renderings of the project show a trio of five-story buildings separated by walkways, terraces and a hotel driveway. A path between York and Commercial streets through the development will be open to the public, Dasco said.

Rufus Deering Lumber Co. sold the lumberyard in November 2016,after more than 160 years at the location. Reger Dasco, a partnership of New York and Massachusetts developers, has built condominium complexes in Portland’s India Street neighborhood and recently purchased the former Portland Press Herald printing press building on Congress Street next to City Hall.

Peter McGuire can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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