SCARBOROUGH — A proposal to build a 154-acre mixed-use business park as part of the planned redevelopment of Scarborough Downs won approval from the planning board this week.

The so-called Innovation District at The Downs includes three commercial gateway sites at Payne and Downs roads and as many as 54 subdivided lots for light industrial, technology, manufacturing, commercial and retail users.

Once completed, the district will be valued at more than $100 million, according to the Risbara and Michaud brothers, local businessmen who are redeveloping the 525-acre horse-racing property in the center of town.

Ten lots have been reserved and more than 40 potential buyers have expressed interest in the remaining lots, said Rocco Risbara, spokesman for the developers. All lots will be ready to build on with necessary permits secured and utilities on site. Construction of the park will start this summer.

Risbara said businesses interested in the park like its location off the Maine Turnpike/Interstate 95 and the “live, work, play” approach to redeveloping The Downs, which includes residential and recreational areas. It also has attracted out-of-state companies that are being priced out of more expensive cities, he said.

The planning board voted 5-0 Monday to approve the final subdivision plan for the business park, said Jamel Torres, assistant town planner. The project is located in the Crossroads Planned Development Zoning District and is designed according to a master plan approved by the board in December 2018.


The Downs is a $621 million project that includes a residential section near Route 1 with affordable apartments, condominiums and single-family homes. Construction of that phase is well underway and residents will start moving in this summer, Risbara said.

The Innovation District is selling so well, he said, that the development of a village center near the harness racing track and grandstand may happen sooner than expected.

Businesses interested in the park include two Westbrook companies, Pine State Services and Zoom Drain, that have outgrown their current space and will move more than 100 employees to The Downs, Risbara said. Ducas Construction plans to move from another Scarborough location, along with Scorebuilders, a national company that creates educational tools for physical therapists.

The park will include 2,500-square-foot incubator spaces designed to support small businesses and startups that are ready to lease professional space but not prepared to buy and build.

Uses allowed in the park include restaurants, breweries, food-processing facilities, bio-technology firms and light industry. The park will feature 55 acres of green space with walking trails connecting to the larger development and easy access to major roads and public transportation.

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