BIDDEFORD — A proposal for 250-unit, six-floor, two-building multifamily apartment complex off Barra Road in Biddeford will go before the city’s planning board on Wednesday.

To be developed, the project will need a contract zone, which the Biddeford City Council has already endorsed. A final approval for the contract zone by the council would be necessary for the project to be greenlighted.

A contract zone is necessary because multifamily dwelling units are not permitted in the Industrial-3 zone and because the density for the project is higher than allowed.

The applicant for the project is Saxon Partners of Hingham, Massachusetts, and the property owner is Sawmill Park Properties based in Biddeford.

If approved, the project would be built on a vacant parcel of more than 10 acres that is in both the Industrial-3 and Residential-3 zones off Barra Road.

To move the project forward, the applicant will need to submit a final subdivision/site plan review application to the city and a public hearing.

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“The housing would be market rate and would consist of studios and 1-bedroom units,” City Planner Greg Tansley said in an April 25 memo to planning board members. “According to the applicant, such a project can serve the workforce of Biddeford that desire to be close to the medical, retail, and commercial opportunities in the Route 111/Alfred Street area of Biddeford, as well as being close to the Turnpike and employment opportunities elsewhere.”

Saxon Partners develops both commercial and residential properties and, according to its website, has a new multifamily development program. This program “is designed to provide attractive workforce housing adjacent in underserved markets across the country, with an initial footprint spanning from Maine to Florida and from Maryland to Kansas,” the website says. “This program features apartment communities designed with great efficiency and located in close proximity to the workplace in order to provide an attractive balance of lifestyle, convenience and value.”

“In the fall of 2018 the planning board conducted a Conceptual Review of the project,” Tansley said. “Overall, the project was well-received and little comments were provided by the planning board to the applicant.” In his memo, Tansley also noted several people had come to the planning office to review the plans “but none have expressed any comments/concerns about the project.”

At the fall meeting, the planning board did determine the project constitutes a “major” subdivision, Tansley said.

The project will include 300 parking spaces, above the 250 required spots.

A third-party engineer is reviewing the project for the city, Tansley said. He said preliminary site plan review should be conditioned on the third-party engineer and city staff completing their reviews of the Preliminary Plan Submission package.

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A draft of a Maine Department of Transportation Traffic Movement Permit has been obtained, and a draft contract zone agreement has been agreed to between the applicant and planning staff, including the completion of a legal review by the city attorney, both of which Tansley said should be conditions of approval.

If approved, the six-story development would be among the tallest in Biddeford. According to the website Emporis.com, the Pepperell Mill Storehouse is taller at seven stories, and Ledgewood Apartments, Pepperell Mill No. 14A and 15 Elm St. are all six stories, all other buildings in Biddeford are five stories or less.

Dina Mendros can be contacted at 780-9014 or at:

[email protected]


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