SCARBOROUGH — My family and our extended team are second-generation Scarborough residents, developers and business owners who have been actively involved in the development of our community for over 50 years.

The town adopted a comprehensive plan in 1994, and in 2006, it was reviewed and updated. The 2006 update specifically identified the Scarborough Downs property as a growth area – calling for mixed-use development and naming The Downs property as “the new heart of Scarborough,” where development would emerge “as a result of cooperative planning between the land owners and the community.” That 2006 plan called for expanded zoning and, even then, for the creation of a tax increment financing district. For 12 years, we’ve known it was going to take a public-private partnership to develop this land to its highest and best use.

The town has worked diligently over two decades to attract developers to The Downs. In 2013, the new Crossroads Planned Development District expanded zoning allowances. Our team has watched the property go under (and fall out of) contract 17 times over 20 years. Of those failed attempts, all but two deals were centered on bringing a casino to Scarborough.

When we had an opportunity to purchase the property, we studied the 2006 comprehensive plan and the zoning and made an offer. Upon successful completion of a deal, there was celebration over the fact that we are local developers who wish to follow the desires of residents and municipal leaders.

We have kept our end of the deal. The master plan we put forth is synced to the town’s current comprehensive plan, which embodies the wishes of residents. Further, our plan delivers a balanced, planned community creating an economic hub in Scarborough – providing amenities and prosperity for decades to come.

To those who say this process has moved too fast, consider this – since January, we have presented our vision for The Downs at least 10 times to the public, in a variety of public sessions. In April, the town hosted a public discussion about TIF districts so residents could begin to understand the topic. The town has contemplated creating a TIF district on this property since 2006. For months, it has been diligently reviewing our specific request for a credit enhancement agreement (under which a portion of the increased property taxes from the project would be returned to us to fund further construction). This has not happened overnight. This deal is 12 years in the making.

Our development team is advocating for a decision in the near term with purpose. We have commitments from seven end users that want to home their businesses in Scarborough. The early phase of this project is purposefully designed to be an economic kick-starter. These businesses will consume over 450,000 square feet of employment space and bring hundreds of jobs – and we’d like them to be in Scarborough.

Town leaders continue to carefully weigh the value of our proposed master plan against the prudence of creating a downtown TIF district and the credit enhancement agreement needed to make this project feasible. Our team will invest hundreds of millions into public infrastructure and amenities because we, like the town, see potential. The project will diversify Scarborough’s tax base, create thousands of jobs, generate millions in tax revenue and attract new businesses to town – all without burdening the taxpayers.

 


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