A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the second phase in a mixed-use complex at Scarborough Downs. Krysteana Scribner / The Forecaster

SCARBOROUGH —  A groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new complex Sept. 20 that will be the town’s first business park/housing development in 25 years and is expected to bring in more than 3,000 jobs.

The Downs’ Innovation District complex at 90 Payne Road is the second phase f a 154-acre project that abuts the Scarborough Downs harness horse racing track and will incorporate residential, commercial and recreational components.
Cross Roads Holdings LLC purchased the property in January 2018 for $6.7 million. Phase I of the project included the sale and development of condominiums, with 48 apartments already spoken for and all 30 single-family homes now under contract.
The newest phase includes Innovation District at 90 Payne Road. Plans for a third phase are still in the early development stages, according to developers.

Sen. Susan Collins speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Scarborough Downs complex Sept. 20. Krysteana Scribner / The Forecaster

During the recent groundbreaking ceremony, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, touted the benefits the complex may bring to the town.

“The Downs will become a driving economic force for the entire region and create jobs, but it will also provide a sense of community through the creation of a town center,” Collins said. “The people who will live, work, and play here are the beneficiaries of The Downs’ vision, planning, and cooperation.”
The $615 million project is near the intersection of Payne Road and the Maine Turnpike and will have three commercial gateways. Also included will be 10 miles of recreational trails, with 40% of the total acreage to be preserved as open space.
With 57 lots and 70 acres already cleared, there are sales agreements on 11 lots so far under phase II.
“There are a lot of opportunities here — for Scarborough students, the workforce, and for bringing the community together,” Assistant Superintendent of Scarborough Schools Jo Ann Sizemore said at the event. “The way the layout will be, it will be like a community. This is an opportunity to add value to the greater community.”
Once complete, the Innovation District will be valued at over $100 million and will become a major employment hub in the town, according to Diana Nelson, spokeswoman for the project. There are three commercial gateway sites, with subdivided lots to be used for light industrial, technology, manufacturing, commercial and retail end-use.
“We like to do what we can to improve and stabilize tax rates, so by having a mixed-use project like this, we’ll have a lot of cool businesses up here,” said Councilor Jean-Marie Caterina at the event.
Nelson said the complex is expected to generate about $10 million in new tax revenue and about 3,000 new jobs for Scarborough by the time the project is fully completed 20-40 years from now. The sale of the Scarborough Downs race track property, which opened in the 1950s, was completed in January 2018. However, the track remains open and races are still being held.

The project 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 or invest large amounts of money.

With access to major roadways, public transit and trails that allow pedestrians to walk throughout the entire property, office manager for Risbara Brothers Construction Peggy Cook said the project will be a great community hub for residents and visitors alike.

“I’ve just watched this project grow and grow and grow and it’s really spectacular,” she said. “The theory behind this is to create a sort of main street for Scarborough because they don’t have one. The town will really benefit from this.”

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