The marina expansion is the first step in a 10-acre redevelopment of the former Portland Co. property.

A Portland developer is soliciting public bids for a marina expansion tied to an ambitious redevelopment of Portland’s eastern waterfront.

The marina expansion will more than double the number of boat slips at the current 58 Fore Street marina and make space for “mega yachts.”

Expanding the marina is the first step in a 10-acre redevelopment of the former Portland Co. property by Portland Foreside Development Co., the development partnership’s current iteration.

A master plan approved by the city in 2016 envisions a six-block community with upscale residences, shopping, restaurants and a hotel.

Even though the marina is a private development, it will go through a public bidding process overseen by the state because the project will be partially paid for with a sizable federal grant.

About $1.5 million of the $17 million expansion is covered by a federal boating infrastructure grant awarded to the developer in 2015, according to federal records.

The grant passes through the Maine Department of Transportation, which advertised a notice to contractors about a “comprehensive redevelopment” of the marina on its bid website on July 12.

Since the project is partially funded with federal money, it “requires oversight from a government entity to ensure the funds are being expended appropriately,” Maine Department of Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot said Monday.

The project will be awarded to the lowest bidder, according to the notice to contractors. Companies have until Aug. 17 to submit bids.

Marina construction is expected to begin this September or October and should be complete by February, said Casey Prentice, managing partner at Portland Foreside Development Co.

Since December, SF Marina Systems, a Swedish company, has been manufacturing floating wave attenuators that will be installed around the marina to protect it from rough seawater and boat wakes, Prentice said. That equipment is expected to be delivered next month, he said.

“Only a couple companies in the world create wave-attenuating docks,” Prentice said. “Our conditions are very similar to the conditions they thrive in.”

The company last year got approval from the Board of Harbor Commissioners in Portland to expand the 69-slip marina operated by Portland Yacht Services to a 141-slip campus with space for huge yachts up to 125 feet long. The company has received initial city approval for the marina and is now in the process of getting a more substantive plan approved, according to Jeff Levine, director of Planning and Urban Development in Portland.

With access to a deep-water port, the marina, called Fore Points, is “optimally positioned to become a seasonal mega-yacht home port and point of embarkation,” the Portland Foreside website says. An upgraded marina will help meet growing demand for pleasure boat space in Portland.

Initial plans included a new onshore building with amenities like restrooms, showers and laundry, but that development is excluded from the upcoming construction, Prentice said.

“Right now, it is just extending the waterfront side,” he said. “We do have plans for a marina building, but it will not be completed in this phase.”

So far, the marina expansion is the only public evidence that the Portland Foreside development is a reality since developers got master plan approval a year and a half ago.

Last summer, West Elm, the furniture retailer, announced it would put its brand on a 150-room hotel at the site.

Aside from the marina, developers have not submitted any site plan applications for the property, according to Levine.

Partners in the Foreside project have been quiet since receiving city approval for the development, but plan to announce progress in the next two weeks, Prentice said.

“We have been moving along at a very nice pace behind the scenes,” he said.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: PeteL_McGuire

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.