Residents of Bayside Village on Marginal Way are fearful what the sale of the building might mean for their housing options and flooded council chambers last week to voice their concerns. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

PORTLAND — Port Property Management was scheduled this week to close on Bayside Village, a change in ownership that worries many of the tenants at the apartment building on 132 Marginal Way.

Residents are worried the new work that Port Property Management has planned will price them out of their apartments and, following a rally held by the People’s Housing Coalition of Portland outside City Hall on Sept. 16, urged the City Council to reverse the decision the Planning Board made Aug. 13 to approve Port Property Management’s redevelopment plan.

Danielle West-Chuhuta, the city’s corporation counsel, said the City Council, however, does not have that power.

“The council does not have any direct authority over this matter,” she wrote in an email. “The appeal of any decision of the Planning Board in this case seems to clearly lie with the Superior Court”

That is what Bayside Village resident Alyssa Floyd intends to do.

“I am seeking legal representation now,” she said Tuesday afternoon.

The 11-year-old building, which provides housing for college students and low-income residents, is configured in 100 four-bedroom quads that have a shared living space, kitchen and bathrooms. However, Tom Watson, founder of Portland-based Port Property Management, said his intention is to keep 10 quads and convert the rest of the building into 196 one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. New kitchens and bathrooms will be installed and electric and HVAC systems will be upgraded.

Floyd told the councilor at their Sept. 16 meeting the building is home to people “who don’t have a way to live in Portland” otherwise.

Alyssa Floyd, a tenant of Bayside Village Apartments, speaks during a Sept. 16 press conference and rally at Portland City Hall to protest the sale of the complex. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald

If rents increase, Floyd and fellow resident Eli Prescott said, residents will be without a home because they cannot afford to live elsewhere.

“If this happens, many us of will be on the streets, including myself,” Floyd said.

“They want to make it as profitable as they can and with those profits, don’t care about the livelihood of the people being pushed out,” Prescott said.

There are 932 public housing program applicants waiting for availability in one of the 1,200 units in the properties Portland Housing Authority owns or manages. Those include Kennedy Park, Franklin Towers, and Sagamore Village, among others. There is also a lengthy waiting list for the housing choice voucher program, which offers low-income residents vouchers for privately-owned properties.

Watson said he purchased the property to improve it.

“We tend to buy properties in a certain state of decline and try to improve them. We feel pretty strongly about offering quality space. It is vital to quality of life. It is something we do and we do it well,” Watson said.

The current rent in the building is about $650 a month per room. Watson said he is envisioning charging $1,550 for a two-bedroom apartment. There is wiggle room, he noted, for the building’s current occupants. “It’s more fluid than just saying this is the set rent,” he said.

While the plan means a transition for the building, Watson said he is not intending to evict residents during the 2½ years of construction.

Once he officially owns the building, Watson said he intends to reach out to current residents to figure out their situation and plans for the future and has hired an assistant property manager to help with those conversations.

“I understand people’s fears about a new owner coming in. There is always a level of uncertainty. Our goal is to get in there as soon as we can to start having those conversations,” he said.

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