A Portland developer plans to begin construction this fall on a new hotel and condominiums at the former Rufus Deering Lumber Co. site on Commercial Street after the city’s Planning Board gave formal approval this week to the project’s first phase.

Joe Dasco of Deering Property Management LLC said the first phase will include a 157-room hotel and 89-unit condo building with first-floor retail at 383 Commercial St. The board voted unanimously Tuesday to give the green light to Phase One.

“It’s a big and necessary step that’s behind us now,” Dasco said Thursday.

Planning Director Tuck O’Brien said the approvals include several conditions, including a $185,000 contribution to help address traffic issues on Commercial Street, plus additional funds for studying that corridor. Set-asides for marine parking and bicycle infrastructure and workforce housing also were included, O’Brien said, as well as public easement connecting York and Commercial streets.

“Aspects of this approval could serve as a model for future project approvals in this corridor,” O’Brien said.

Dasco said the project, dubbed Hobson’s Landing, would be the first in Portland to offer concierge service to assist condo owners with package delivery, event planning and manage bike- and car-sharing programs. It will also have a club room and fitness room. Condos would include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Sales prices are starting at $350,000 and have been expected to range up to $1 million, although details are not yet available.

The project includes a parking garage for 154 vehicles plus a surface lot for an additional 56 vehicles.

Future phases planned by Dasco would include 100 additional condos and about 22,000 square feet of commercial space. The timing of that construction will depend on market conditions, he said.

The multiphase project received its master plan approval in December. The Planning Board will have to approve each additional phase before construction begins.

Redevelopment of the lumber yard is one of several projects that raised concerns about growth along Commercial Street, which runs along the edge of Portland Harbor and provides access to the working waterfront. Commercial fishermen are concerned that the rapid development will push them out off the industrial wharfs that extend into the harbor from Commercial Street.

About 70 fishermen demonstrated this month in opposition to this proposal, as well as another hotel being proposed on Fishermen’s Wharf.

Dasco also is developing The Mason Block at 62 India St., a condominium project with units that range from $300,000 to $750,000.

He said all but one of those units have been sold, which is one year faster than expected. His other projects include the Bay House and 113 Newbury St., which are also in the India Street neighborhood.

Rufus Deering Lumber Co. sold the lumberyard in November 2016, after more than 160 years at the location. Dasco’s initial plans for the site in late 2016 included as many as 300 housing units with a mix of rental apartments and condos. The shift to all owner-occupied housing reflected a marketwide trend in Portland away from rental construction toward condos and hotels.

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

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