A rendering of the boutique hotel planned by Fathom Cos. and Hilton at the corner of Center and Commercial streets in Portland. The plan received Planning Board approval last week. Courtesy Fathom Cos.

PORTLAND — The Planning Board last week unanimously approved a plan for a six-story, 135-room hotel at the corner of Cross and Commercial streets.

The Canopy Portland Waterfront is proposed by Fathom Cos., developer of the Press Hotel on Exchange Street, and will include ground-floor restaurant and retail space, as well as an indoor-outdoor rooftop bar and restaurant.

The site of the future Canopy Portland Waterfront hotel is now a privately run parking lot. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

Canopy is a boutique hotel brand from Hilton. Slated to open in 2021, the Portland hotel would be the brand’s first in New England.

The proposed hotel is part of a master plan North River IV LLC has for Portland Square. Because the property is in the Old Port Historic District and is subject to the city’s historic preservation ordinance, the project plan must also be accepted by the city’s Historic Preservation Board.

The panel issued the design a certificate of appropriateness at its April 17 meeting.

Julie Larry, executive director of Greater Portland Landmarks, told the board she appreciates the work it did in reviewing, and amending, the hotel’s design and now can support the hotel project.

The proposed site is currently a 90-space paved parking lot.

The Planning Board on July 9 laid out a series of requirements that must be met before construction can begin and operation can occur.

Fathom has agreed to pay nearly $519,000 into the city’s Housing Trust Fund, instead of creating the required five low-income housing units. The city requires hotels with 10 or more rooms for rent to create low-income housing or pay a fee to the fund. That payment must be made before the hotel receives its certificate of occupancy.

The Planning Board is also requiring the developer to plant eight new street trees and have its traffic demand management plan, construction management plan and stormwater management agreement approved.

Project engineer Lauren Swett of Woodard and Curran said the construction management plan calls for phased work “to help reduce some of the impact on pedestrians and traffic in the area.” Swett said traffic and pedestrian improvements, such as replacing sidewalks on Commercial and Center streets, will be part of the project.

Planning Board member Maggie Stanley said one of her concerns would be how hotel patrons dropping their cars off for valet parking would impact traffic at the intersection of Cross and Commercial streets.

Stanley also questioned what the city would get – if anything – because 10 parking spaces would be lost on Center Street.

City Planner Christine Grimando said there is no system in place to deal with that, but “it is a good question to raise.”

When it opens, the Canopy will join a burgeoning hotel scene on Commercial Street.

The Courtyard By Marriott Portland, a block away, has been operating at 321 Commercial St. for the last five years. Hilton Garden Inn Portland Downtown, half a mile away at 65 Commercial St., opened in 2003. A hotel is also planned on the old Rufus Deering Lumber property at 383 Commercial St.

There are more than 10 hotels operating in downtown Portland between Cumberland Street, the waterfront, High Street and Hancock Street.

“We are positively thrilled to introduce Canopy by Hilton to the historic Old Port neighborhood,” Gary Steffen of Canopy by Hilton said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to inviting guests to enjoy a locally inspired stay as well as the one-of-a-kind dining and shopping venues.”

Jim Brady, president of Fathom Cos., said “Canopy by Hilton was a perfect choice for this new property and travelers looking for a distinctly Portland, Maine experience.”

 

 


Comments are not available on this story.