The opening of Biddeford’s parking garage, shown here in a March 19 “topping off” ceremony marking installation of the last concrete slab in the construction process, is imminent. City officials plan to mark the occasion with an opening ceremony. Tammy Wells Photo

BIDDEFORD — The City of Biddeford and its project partners announced Biddeford’s first parking garage will open Tuesday, July 13 and will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony that day at 10 a.m. at 15 Pearl St.

Ground-breaking for the new, 640-space parking garage took place Aug. 11 and the last concrete slab was laid March 19 in a “topping off” ceremony.

The project cost is estimated at $22 million.

Located at the site of the former Maine Energy Recovery Company waste to energy incinerator, at 3 Lincoln St., it is said to be the first private infrastructure financing project of its kind in Maine.

City officials say the garage will support parking needs for development of Biddeford’s Mill District, and future mixed-use development at the 3 Lincoln St. site as well as at Lincoln Mill and Riverdam Mill redevelopment projects. It is also expected to relieve the existing parking pressures downtown.

Project partners include Biddeford RiverWalk Community 1, LLC — the name for Treadwell Franklin Infrastructure Capital and James W. Sewall Company — Amber Infrastructure Group and PC Construction, and the city.


The arrangement works this way: The development agreement with its project partners allowed construction without the use of residential property tax dollars and with no impact on Biddeford’s tax rate. Instead, the city will contribute annual payments from Tax Increment Financing revenues, which do not come from residential property taxpayers, as well as fees collected from the operation of the parking garage and downtown surface lots.

There were detractors. Opposition to the city’s parking policies as well as the new garage were among the issues raised by an unsuccessful candidate in the  2019 mayoral campaign.

It is estimated the garage will provide $16.4 million in property tax revenue for Biddeford in the first 10 years of operation and a benefit of $39.8 million over 25 years. If parking revenues are less than expected, the city can make up the difference by collecting payments from surrounding properties in the Mill District, adjusting parking rates, or a combination of the two, city officials have said. If revenues are more than expected, the city would receive the benefit.

“It’s a real symbolic day for the city of Biddeford,” said Mayor Alan Casavant as he watched city staff and others sign the last slab at the March 19 ceremony. “So many said this would never happen here. This demonstrates the city is committed to changing the paradigm of Biddeford from an old mill town to a thriving community.”

Premium Parking is running the city’s downtown lots and will also run the Lincoln Garage. All of the existing parking policies, including the two hours of free parking in the Yellow Lot and the Blue Lot, remain in effect, city officials said in a newsletter.

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