Twenty-three single family houses are now on the market, part of Phase II of the Downs development plan. Twenty-four condominiums and 58 apartments are pending approval from the planning board. Courtesy photo of Diana Nelson

SCARBOROUGH — Twenty-three single family homes that are part of Residential Phase II in the Downs development process are “going fast,” and more apartments and condominiums are planned.

Twenty percent of the homes ready for the market were reserved in the first 24 hours, Diana Nelson, director of communications for Black Fly Media, said.

The new homes are 1,700 to 1,900 square feet, with two-car garages and a front porch area, Roccy Risbara, developer of the Downs project, said.

Affordable housing requirements from the Town of Scarborough were met with phase one of the project, Risbara said, but while not meeting the town’s definition, the second phase homes will be affordable options.

Houses will be in the mid $400,000 range and condominiums will be in the mid $200,000 range, Nelson said in an email.

Apartments are expected to rent at market rate, Risbara said.

He said that “the phone hasn’t stopped ringing” through the COVID-19 pandemic and the summer, showing that there is still a demand for housing in Scarborough. Phase one of the project, completed earlier this year, sold out immediately.

“We felt confident there would be a demand in the next phase,” he said.

The 500-acre, mixed use project, now in its second phase, is pending, as plans for an additional 24 condominiums and 58 apartments are awaiting a review from the Scarborough Planning Board, Risbara said.

The Planning Board has had full agendas since meetings resumed virtually, he said.

“We’re on the next couple of agendas,” Risbara said. “They’re kind of backed up right now because they’re behind from the coronavirus. We’re very pleased to know that the Planning Board is working diligently to get caught up. The agendas are very full and they don’t always get through them in one meeting.”

Despite the busy schedule, Risbara said he expects an approval for the remaining housing in August.

The Downs serves as a prime location for employees of Scarborough, he said. Through planned commercial development, the project expects to be home for businesses as well as residences.

“You can’t beat the location,” Risbara said. “If you work in Scarborough, it’s very handy and handy to Route One and the turnpike. The ultimate build-out of the Downs includes a mixed-use residential spaces. You’ll find there are a lot of spaces that will employ people. Our Innovation District is under construction. There are other buildings to come soon. We think that will be the appeal.”

Residents who moved in during residential Phase I have been enjoying the new community. Kelly Tarr, who moved into Mills Commons Drive in December, said that her experience in the Downs has been “fantastic.”

“I love it,” she said. “I’m not from this area. I moved from Lewiston, but I love Portland and work in this area and it was just perfect. I like that it’s a little community but I’m so close to everything else. There are lots of places to go walking — there’s a nice mix of people.”

She always recommends the Downs to curious passersby, Tarr said.

“A lot of people will drive through and actually ask, and I always tell them it’s great here,” she said. “Everything’s set up perfectly. I can’t say enough good things about it.”

Trails and walking spaces are being added and expanded upon as well, Risbara said.

“It’s very walk-able,” he said. “There are sidewalks built every time we do a phase and trails being built. It’s going to be appealing to people because of the location and because of the amenities.”

“We don’t have a lot of commercial yet but it’s coming,” he added.

The Town Council approved a deal with WEX, Inc., a national company, to have an office building constructed in the Downs, and Risbara said that the business is still committed to coming to Scarborough.

“I think the time frame’s a bit off because of COVID, but we’re expecting them,” he said.

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